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How does NGC conclude the 1998-S SMS Kennedy is a "Proof"?

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This was asked over on the PCGS forums and a clear answer wasn't obtained.

PCGS considers the Matte Kennedy of 1998 a SMS, or, 'MintState' coin. It is included in their Mint State Registry (not the Proof Registry).

Now, on the NGC side this same coin is NOT considered Mint State (and isn't allowed in the MS Kennedy Registry) but is a 'proof'.

How did NGC come to that conclusion?

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Speaking for myself, there is a tradition of creating matte finish coins in the United States. One being the matte proof Lincoln cents of 1909 V.D.B., the 1915-1916 and the less then legitimate 1917. Other Examples are the 1907 St. Gaudens double Eagle and the 1908 Indian half eagle also produced in a matte finish proof.


Undoubtedly the matte finish concept was borrowed from the earlier British, 1902 Edward VII Crown, half crown, florin and six pence also produced with a similar finish.


Breen describes these coins as ultra sharp medallic impressions, struck twice or more from the dies and given a special finish for collectors .


The Kennedy coins, though simply described as "matte finish" meet the definition and therefore probably should be considered proofs.


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Hmm... what about that 30+ year prior history of minting Kennedy's as brilliant proofs?


And what about the specially produced 1976-S 40% Silver "matte" uncirculated Kennedys, would they be proofs under your definition?


Now, I agree the 1965-67 SMS coins should be treated as proofs, but they are brilliant and come in cameo variations like other Kennedy proofs. Also, the 1965-67 SMS sets were in fact replacements for proof sets that weren't issued in those years.


In contrast, 1998 already has two "real" Kennedy proofs, both a copper-nickel and silver version.


Anyway, braddick and I already debated this on that "other" forum, I'll skip to my conclusion:


Modern proofs are supposed to be nice shiny reflective things, it's just the natural order of things. smile.gif

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I should have added that matte proofs started out life as brilliant proofs and then were sand blasted to get the matte effect. The real difference between business strikes and proofs is not whether they are shiny but how the coin was produced. The 40% silver 1976-S Kennedy half dollars were produced as business strikes and the proofs were struck more than once on specially prepared planchets from specially manufactured dies.


SMS coins are business strikes, struck once with business strike dies on polished planchets. The Special Mint Sets were the result of the Mint's complaint that they were too busy replacing the coinage system because the public and especially coin collectors were hoarding silver coins. The shortage had more to do with the vending machine industry's practices then public hoarding. Silver didn't reach the levels necessary to really kick in Gresham's Law until the 1970's. Even today a good percentage of the public still believes that quarters and half dollars are plated with silver.


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