2 Varieties Of The 1981 Proof Set: Do You Own The Valuable One?

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The 1981 proof set attracts a fortune of attention among mint collectors who specialize in proof sets — because 2 varieties of proof sets were made that year:

  • 1981 Type 1 Proof Sets include the same S mintmark used in late-1979 and throughout 1980.
  • 1981 Type 2 Proof Sets were packaged with 1981 proof coins that have more well-defined S mintmarks than those used from late-1979 through mid-1981.

Because relatively few 1981 Type 2 proof sets were made, they are worth significantly more than 1981 Type 1 proof sets. In fact, while the 1981 Type 1 fructify normally sells for no more than $ 10 to $ 12, 1981 Type 2 sets can well command prices well over $ 250.

Okay, thus now you know that the 1981 Type 2 proof place is worth more than the 1981 Type 1 proof set — but now you ’ re probably wonder :

  1. How do you know what a “Clear S” (Type 2) is supposed to look like versus a “Filled S” (Type 1)?
  2. Why is the 1981 Type 2 proof set worth so much more money — is it really that rare?

I ’ ll address those questions next…

How Tell A Type 1 1981 Proof Set From A Type 2 1981 Proof Set

first, check out this short video which intelligibly shows and explains the differences between 1981-S Type 1 and 1981-S Type proofread Lincoln Memorial pennies :

You ’ ll notice that :

  • The 1981-S Type 2 “S” mintmark has more bulbous serifs (rounded ends) than the 1981-S Type 1 “S” mintmark.
  • The serifs on the 1981-S Type 2 “S” mintmark don’t touch the inside of the “S.”

In fact, these distinctions can be used for telling apart all 1981-S Type 1 and Type 2 proof coins — not barely the 1981-S pennies. While all 1981-S Type 1 and 1981-S Type 2 proof coins have like differences between the 2 types of “ S ” mintmarks, careless of denomination, the values for these coins range widely! following, let ’ s spirit at what individual 1981-S Type 1 and 1981-S Type 2 proof coins are worth…

1981-S Type 1 & 1981-S Type 2 Proof Coin Values

What ’ s the difference in price between a proof 1981-S Type 1 Susan B. Anthony dollar and a 1981-S type 2 ? Oh… about $ 100 ! That ’ s justly, 1981-S Type 2 coins are far more valuable than their type 1 counterparts — even on an individual footing.

There ’ s actually huge demand for individual 1981-S Type 2 proofread coins because of coin collectors who are building albums of individual mint series ( such as Lincoln cents ). These collectors need single 1981-S Type 1 and Type 2 proof Lincoln pennies to insert in their albums in order to complete their collections. The most valuable of all 1981-S Type 2 proof coins is the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. here are more 1981-S Type 1 and Type 2 proof coin values :

  • 1981-S Type 1 Lincoln cent — $2+
  • 1981-S Type 2 Lincoln cent — $11+
  • 1981-S Type 1 Jefferson nickel — $2+
  • 1981-S Type 2 Jefferson nickel — $4+
  • 1981-S Type 1 Roosevelt dime — $2+
  • 1981-S Type 2 Roosevelt dime — $5+
  • 1981-S Type 1 Washington quarter — $3.25+
  • 1981-S Type 2 Washington quarter — $5+
  • 1981-S Type 1 Kennedy half dollar — $3+
  • 1981-S Type 2 Kennedy half dollar — $20+
  • 1981-S Type 1 Susan B. Anthony dollar — $5+
  • 1981-S Type 2 Susan B. Anthony dollar — $100+

Values are for Deep Cameo 1981-S proof coins with no meaning surface marks or price. afflicted proof are worth less, while Proof-70 examples are generally worth more.

Not All 1981-S Type 2 Proof Sets Were Created Equal

If you ’ re in the market to buy a 1981-S type 2 proof set, don ’ thyroxine just go for the cheapest one !

It may not be the 1981-S Type 2 proof set you very want. here ’ second why… You see, the “ new ” 1981-S Type 2 validation coins weren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate all introduced in all 1981 proof sets at the lapp clock time. The respective denominations with the “ Clear S ” mintmark style were initially packaged at different times — with only a relatively little number of 1981-S validation sets carrying all Type 2 proof coins.

This means many 1981 proof sets contain a mix of Type 1 and Type 2 proof coins. In many cases, 1981 proof sets advertised as “ Type 2 ” have merely a 1981-S Type 2 Susan B Anthony dollar, or possibly a 1981-S type 2 Roosevelt dime and Susan B. Anthony dollar, or some combination thereof. While 1981-S Type 2 proof sets broadly start in price at around $ 150, these are frequently sets that contain equitable the 1981-S Type 2 dollar — whereas most ( or all ) of the respite of the coins in the set may be Type 1 proof.

A fully Type 2 1981 proof set with all 6 coins bearing “ clear up S ” mintmarks can run $ 250 to $ 300 or more. indeed just be sure you know what you ’ re buy before you jump on a hand for a cheap 1981-S Type 2 proof set. And… make sure that you can tell Type 1 and Type 2 “S” mintmarks apart for yourself! 

Why Is The 1981-S Type 2 Proof Set So Rare?

The United States Mint packaged a total of 4,063,083 proof sets in 1981 — including both 1981-S type 1 and Type 2 proof sets. The huge majority of these are 1981 Type 1 proof sets. Unlike the clear “ S ” mintmark on 1981-S Type 2 proof coins, there is no clarity on precisely how many Type 2 proof sets were made in 1981.

Coin World states less than 10 % of 1981 proof sets are type 2. That would put the estimated number of 1981-S Type 2 proof sets at less than 400,000!  The rationality there is such a modest count of 1981-S Type 2 proof sets around is that the US Mint didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate begin using the newly “ S ” mintmark punch until late in 1981 — when most of the proof set move was already completed for the class. Collectors didn ’ triiodothyronine become mindful of the exchange in mintmark styles until after the newfangled “ S ” mintmark was already being used. But the news of the 1981-S Type 2 proofread sets made waves in the coin collecting community, which at the time was enjoying a boom in popularity from investors who had recently ( the late ’ 70s ) begun pumping a long ton of new money into the coin market. besides, the bullion world was enjoying headlines as gold prices and flatware prices spiked to then-all-time highs, and this excitation spilled all over into the mint industry.

even after the coin grocery store lost steamer as the 1980s came to a close, prices remained buoyant on the 1981-S Type 2 proof coins. Decades belated, 1981-S Type 2 proof sets remain popular with collectors of modern coins and are among the most sought-after proof sets around .

More Info About The 1981 Proof Set

In addition to the links I ’ ve included above, here are some other resources to help you understand the differences between 1981 Proof Sets: 

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I ’ m the Coin Editor hera at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years previous. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the twentieth century. I ’ m a member of the American Numismatic Association ( ANA ) and the Numismatic Literary Guild ( NLG ) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a mint diarist. I ’ m besides the editor program at the Florida United Numismatists Club ( FUN Topics magazine ), and writer of Images of America : The United States Mint in Philadelphia ( a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint ). I ’ ve contributed hundreds of articles for assorted mint publications including coinage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I ’ ve authored closely 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins ( many of them with over 50K shares ), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below !

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