The United States Mint this year launched the new America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program which features new reverse quarter-dollar designs depicting national parks and other national sites.
From 2010 to 2021 and at a rate of five each year, a total of 56 coins will be issued honoring selected sites from every state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia. Each of the coins will be released into circulation for use in daily commerce.
Quarters Proof Set Products
Additionally, the U.S. Mint also produces products that feature only the quarters which are made specifically for coin collectors or enthusiasts. The two main ones are the:
- United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set™, and
- United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set™
The Mint has been issuing proof coins and sets for a number of years, but the quarters annual set has only been available since 1999 and the quarters silver proof set since 2004. Although relatively new, they are popular with many millions sold over the years.
Proof Set Quarter Compositions
Each of the annual proof sets include collector versions of all the year’s circulating quarter-dollars (five in each year, except for the single release in 2021). While the Mint uses the same manufacturing process on each set, the composition of the quarters are different.
Clad Set Metal Alloys
The quarters in the non silver proof set are struck from the same metal alloys as the coins for general circulation — 8.33% nickel with the remaining balance in copper, for a weight of 5.670 grams. These are often called "clad" sets, with clad meaning the coins have multiple metal layers — an inner copper with outer layers of nickel-copper.
Silver Set Metal Alloys
The silver proof sets include quarters that are struck from 90% silver and 10% copper. While their diameter and edge is exactly the same as a circulating 25-cent piece, they weigh slightly more at 6.250 grams. The set of five coins include nearly an ounce of silver (0.904 troy ounces).
Definition of Proof
The word "proof" in the set’s names refer to the Mint’s manufacturing process and the coin’s finish. The Mint describes them and the set packaging within the set product pages as:
United States Mint proof coins are extraordinarily brilliant, with sharp relief and a mirror-like background. Their frosted, sculpted foregrounds give them a special cameo effect. Proof blanks are specially treated, polished and cleaned to ensure high quality strikes. The blanks are then fed into presses fitted with specially polished dies and struck at least twice to ensure sharp relief. The coins are then packaged in a protective lens to showcase and maintain their exceptional finish.
Proof coins are the finest quality of coin produced, according to the Mint.
Set Ordering & U.S. Mint Prices
The United States Mint sales proof sets directly to the public through its website (http://www.usmint.gov/) and toll-free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
When the Mint released the first 5-coin State Quarters Proof Set set in 1999, it charged $13.95, which is $18.22 when adjusted to the latest 2010 inflation rate. The price for the 5-coin 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set is $14.95.
The Mint charged $23.95 for the inaugural year 2004 State Quarters Silver Proof Set, which is $27.59 adjusted for inflation. The price for the 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Quarters Proof Set is $32.95 (the cost of silver is substantially higher than in 2004).
Each set comes shipped with a Certificate of Authenticity, bearing the signature of the currently Mint Director, Edmund Moy.