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    Description

    Six-Piece 1942 Proof Set Including
    Both Five Cent Varieties

    1942 Six-Piece Proof Set NGC. In 1942, proof coinage continued its twin trends of accelerating popularity and higher mintages; the half dollar, which showed the smallest increase in production by sheer numbers, saw 21,120 pieces struck in 1942 versus just 15,412 specimens coined in 1941. The greatest gains were made by the five cent piece, which famously saw production in two separate compositions, first the 75% copper, 25% nickel alloy that had been standard since 1866, then the 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese alloy of the "war nickels." Both compositions saw heavy proof mintages: 29,600 representatives for the former and 27,600 coins for the latter.
    The same wartime necessities that brought about the two varieties of five cent coins also brought an early end to the rebirth of proof sets that had begun in 1936. While the early history of U.S. proof set production includes the practice's persistence through the Civil War years, circumstances in 1943 were far different: rather than the relative idleness in which the Philadelphia Mint found itself from 1862 to 1865, the World War II-era Mint was struggling to keep up with high coinage demand and other needs. Under the headline "No 1943 Proof Coins Available" was this note in The Numismatist, April 1943:

    "The Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint has stated to all inquiries for current proof sets that 'In view of the extremely heavy demand for coinage and service medals, the facilities of the Mint are taxed almost beyond capacity. Due to this fact, the striking of proof coins will necessarily be delayed for an indefinite period.'

    "Notice will appear in [The Numismatist] as soon as it is learned these are again available."

    Proof coins were not struck in 1943, and even the end of World War II did not return them to production. The program did not resume until 1950.

    1942 Cent PR64 Red. Strong copper-orange color on the obverse with paler tan elements prominent on the reverse. Exactingly detailed with only a few tiny flyspecks and other flaws present in the fields.

    1942 Five Cent Nickel PR66. Light blue and gold tints have settled over each side of this otherwise pearl-gray piece, a strongly struck Premium Gem with potent mirrors. Highly attractive with a touch of frostiness to the portrait.

    1942-P Five Cent Silver PR66. The faint yellow toning that visits parts of the otherwise silver-white obverse is deeper and more overt on the reverse. Exactingly struck and pleasingly preserved, a rewarding representative of this modern billon issue.

    1942 Dime PR65. Light silver-gray color overall with suggestions of crimson and olive near the rims, most prominently at the area of E PLURIBUS UNUM and DIME. The powerful mirrors are key to this Gem's visual appeal.

    1942 Quarter PR66. Pale silver-gray patina overall with a touch of golden toning at the margins. Washington's portrait is well-defined for the issue with a whisper of frostiness. A highly attractive piece that represents a clear step up from the average PR65 coin.

    1942 Half PR65. Of the silver denominations, only the quarter would have the same design when proofs resumed in 1950, making this 1942 Walking Liberty half part of the last issue of its kind. A faint skiff of cloud-gray toning drapes the strongly reflective fields, while the devices show little of that patina. A sharp and easily appreciated Gem.
    From The Boca Collection, Part One.


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Boca Collection, Part I ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2010
    6th-10th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,627

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