Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Friday, August 14, 2009

2009 Proof Sets - New Frosty Finish

Several readers have provided reports and photos of their 2009 Silver Proof Sets which seem to feature a new type of proof finish. This new style appears to have been used for all proof coins released in 2009, but the frosty effect seems to display most prominently on the silver proof coins.

In hand, the new style of finish makes the coins look impressive. Modern proof coins are struck with a cameo finish which features mirrored backgrounds and frosted raised elements. On 2009 proof coins, the frostiness of the raised elements seems to be magnified, which heightens the "black and white" cameo effect.

I examined one of the 2009 Silver Proof Sets more closely and found that the raised design elements have a much more granular finish than prior years. For comparison I examined a 2008 Silver Proof Set. The raised design elements had a more satiny finish with a bit of lustrous sheen. Below are pictures of a 2009 Silver Proof Quarter compared to a 2008 Silver Proof Quarter.

2009 Silver Proof Quarter

2008 Silver Proof Quarter

Someone on the Collector's Universe forums, who actually discovered this style of finish earlier, dubbed the new style "snakeskin proofs" and has some much better close up photos than mine. You can check them out here.

One final aspect of the new finish that I wanted to mention came when examining a clad 2009 Proof Set. The raised elements of the coins do have the same type of granular finish as found on the 2009 Silver Proof Set, although the frosty effect is diminished for non-silver coins. I noticed that some coins displayed visible striations within the frost, perhaps the result of the process which creates the granular appearance. An image of this impact appears below. The faint lines run diagonally from the top right to bottom left of the coin.

2009 Clad Proof Quarter

The US Mint has not officially announced any change to the style of proof finish, but it seems apparent that a change was made starting with 2009 proof coins. Will the Mint use this new style on gold and silver proof coins (once they are eventually released)? In particular, I look forward to seeing the 2009 Proof Silver Eagle with this new style of finish.
Today on Coin Update News:

Cash 4 Gold Review - Paid 18% of value for gold
2009 Professional Life Cent - Coin collector design reviews



At August 14, 2009 at 9:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed this quite a while back too. Look specifically also at the Presidential proofs under a microscope and you will see similar texture. It appears to me that the devices on the dies have been diamond tooled with the aid of CAD (computerized) system. While my background is with the semiconductor industry, this would be worth verifying with the mint - SFS

At August 14, 2009 at 1:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The finish looks a lot like the "laser etched" finish used on the 2003 Wildlife Refuge medal set. Since it is produced with a computer driven laser instead of a truly random sandblasting method, patterns often appear in the frosted elements.

At August 14, 2009 at 6:33 PM , Anonymous Tom Jones said...

Yes, I saw an image of Jesus in my proof Guam quarter.

At August 14, 2009 at 11:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very cheap excuse for a proof coin! This very distracting effect drowns out details in the coins' designs making the finish the center of attention, not the coin itself. Another thing, the relief appears to have been lowered. These proof sets are very tacky and probably will not warrant a strong collectible secondary market value!

-True Money!

At August 15, 2009 at 2:13 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

TJ--mine looked more like Jesus Alou.

At August 15, 2009 at 8:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 2009 Silver proof set quarters don't identify the individual packages as silver. This is different from the 2008 silver set... could prove to be a problem...the regular proof quarters might be confused with the silver ones by the public.


At August 15, 2009 at 10:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The clad proofs still show their copper center on the coin edge and are a distinctly different color (silver is just "whiter") so I don't think there is any danger of confusing them. The lowered relief is very dissapointing, cost cuting to justify a price increase?

At September 8, 2009 at 8:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just gives the 2008 silver sets more ability to show value.I came to a reality that our US Mint could care less about quality any more.I think they assume that coins should all be perfect now since companies like NGC and PCGS are calling them Ms and PF 70s.If you haven't figured it out by now.Let me let you in on a little secret.Any coin you purchase from the US Mint has a better chance losing money then making money.That's why they make so much on the coins.This way they can't lose.Only you can.And if you really want to lose money buying coins.Buy NGC and PCGS coins LOL. Good Luck

At September 17, 2009 at 1:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reduced quality control at the mint has produced at least one windfall. Check out for pictures and description of a 2009 Silver Proof Quarter die error. A damaged die was used to produce some coins and they got into lenses and out the door at the mint in the first days of shipping.


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