A Dave's Collectible Coins Article

What Is a Reverse Proof Coin?

There’s nothing common about these coins!

Before we describe the Reverse Proof coin, let’s make sure we’re clear on our coin terms. A PROOF coin is a coin that has received special treatment while being minted. The dies used to create the coins are highly polished. They are created for collectors and to serve as an example of the finery the mint can achieve.

The FIELD is the surface of the coin not considering any raised parts. Any raised part of the coin is called a DEVICE.

On most proof coins, the field is made to be shiny. The accurate word for the shininess is MIRRORED. The devices (raised parts of the coin) are treated to make them look frosted. The technical term for this frostiness is CAMEO. So, you have the contrast of the mirrored field against the cameo devices. This makes for a very pretty coin with nice contrast.

The Reverse Proof is treated in the opposite way. The field is frosted and the devices are mirrored. You can see the difference here:

Proof Half Dollar
Reverse Proof Half Dollar

In 2006 the US Mint issued their first Reverse Proof coins. They were the American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin minted in Philadelphia and the American Eagle Gold Bullion Coin minted in West Point.

There were a few more Reverse Proof coins minted between 2007 and 2014. But 2015 saw several of these coins minted, including:
Roosevelt Silver Dime,
Presidential Dollar for Harry S. Truman,
Presidential Dollar for Dwight D. Eisenhower,
Presidential dollar for John F. Kennedy,
and the Presidential Dollar for Lyndon B. Johnson.
These were all minted in Philadelphia.

2018 was a prodigious year for Reverse Proof coins, including the follow coins:
Lincoln Penny,
Jefferson Nickel,
Roosevelt Dime – 90% Silver,
America The Beautiful Quarter – Georgia,
America The Beautiful Quarter – Minnesota,
America The Beautiful Quarter – Wisconsin,
America The Beautiful Quarter – Michigan,
America The Beautiful Quarter – Rhode Island.
These were all minted in San Francisco.

An important note for collectors is that some of the 2018 Half Dollars were accidentally produced with a light finish. You will be able to spot them because there is not so much contrast between the field and the devices as one would expect from a proof coin.

2019 is a good year for the Reverse Proof coin, mostly because of the Lincoln Shield Cent Reverse Proof Cent minted at West Point.

In 2019 the US Mint also created: Enhanced Reverse Proof 2019-S American Eagle silver dollar and the American Eagle 2019 One Ounce Palladium Reverse Proof Coin.

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