After making a recent craigslist purchase, I found that there were some duplicate proof sets within my collection, so I took photographs of both sides of the packages, and put them up for auction on eBay. All of them sold, resulting in a small profit for myself. Shortly after mailing out the items, I received the following email from the purchaser of a 1957 Proof Set:
Hello. I received the coins today. They are for my wife for Mother’s Day. The set you sent is the “mint” set, not the “proof” set as described. I would not have paid this much for the regular mint set. If you could contact me with your email address, I could send a picture showing the difference. Please send your email or phone (text) number outside of this eBay constraint so we can communicate normally. Thank you, Tom (pseudonym)
First, I knew that they were all proof sets. Second, I was not about to enter into a direct conversation with this or anyone over an eBay purchase, so I sent this in reply:
The set you purchased was in a block of 9 sets, of which I still have some. I compared one of them to another set which I purchased with the envelope, clearly labeled with ‘P.S.’ for Proof Set, and they looked identical. I also compared the set to another in my collection from the same year whose envelope is labeled with ‘U.C.’ for Uncirculated Mint Set, and the edges of the plastic packaging for the UC sets were colored blue for Philadelphia and red for Denver.
What I sold you was a proof set, as the photograph clearly shows that the edges of the plastic package is uncolored. I hope this has cleared this issue, and I hope your wife enjoys her new coins.
This was not received well, as his next email spells out:
No good. Plastic means nothing to me. I bought coins! These coins are not proof and I know that you know it. Go on eBay and look at the “mirror” look of proofs if you still don’t know. I could have bought the coins you sent me on eBay “buy it now” for 27 dollars no ship cost. This is clearly a rip-off. I noticed you did not send your contact info. This must be resolved or you can be sure of a negative feedback. Reply if you wish to avoid this. I am a 100% perfect eBay-er for 14 years. People will notice!
I did not want an unhappy customer, but I also knew I was in the right, so I did more research, searching the Internet and eBay for examples to settle this issue. I sent this email to hopefully settle this situation:
First, let me apologize for the statements regarding the color stripes: upon further research, the US Mint started using that method in 1959.
Second, during that same research, I found this, which I will quote from “A Guide Book of United States Coins 2013” by R.S. Yeoman:
“Uncirculated Mint sets sold only by the Treasury from 1947 through 1958 contained two examples of each regular-issue coin. These were packaged in cardboard holders that did not protect the coins from tarnish.”
I found an example of such a mint set online: http://mintsetguide.com/1957-mint-set/
Also, here is a link to an active eBay auction for a 1957 mint set:
To compare, here is an example of that year’s proof set: http://proofsetguide.com/1957-proof-set/
The coins in the photograph for this auction are of a 1957 Proof set, matching the image of the third link above. I hope that you can see that the coins I put up for auction, and that you successfully bid on and won, and that you now possess, are a proof set.
If you have any further doubts, I would suggest that you locate a local coin shop and ask their opinion. I strongly believe that their response will match with what I have told you.
Once again, I hope your wife enjoys the coins.
I waited all day for Tom to send another email, either to extend his negative rant or acknowledge that he was incorrect. In the end, I received neither, only a positive feedback with the message, “Thx”.