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

**1981 Type 1 Proof Sets**include the same Smintmark used in late-1979and 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 set usually sells for no more than $10 to $12, 1981 Type 2 sets can easily command prices well over $250.

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

**How do you know what a “Clear S” (Type 2) is supposed to look like versus a “Filled S” (Type 1)?****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 clearly shows and explains the differences between 1981-S Type 1 and 1981-S Type proof 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 just the 1981-S pennies.

While all 1981-S Type 1 and 1981-S Type 2 proof coins have similar differences between the 2 types of “S” mintmarks, regardless of denomination, **the values for these coins range widely!**

Next, let’s look 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 right, **1981-S Type 2 coins are far more valuable **than their Type 1 counterparts — even on an individual basis.

There’s actually huge demand for individual 1981-S Type 2 proof coins because of coin collectors who are building albums of individual coin 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 significant surface marks or damage. Impaired proofs 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’t* just go for the cheapest one!

It may not be the 1981-S Type 2 proof set you really want. Here’s why…

You see, the “new” 1981-S Type 2 proof coins weren’t all introduced in all 1981 proof sets at the same time. The various denominations with the “Clear S” mintmark style were initially packaged at different times — with only a relatively small number of 1981-S proof 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 only a 1981-S Type 2 Susan B Anthony dollar, or perhaps a 1981-S Type 2 Roosevelt dime and Susan B. Anthony dollar, or some combination thereof.

While 1981-S Type 2 proof sets generally start in price at around $150, these are often sets that contain just the 1981-S Type 2 dollar — whereas most (or all) of the rest of the coins in the set may be Type 1 proofs.

A fully Type 2 1981 proof set with all 6 coins bearing “Clear S” mintmarks can run $250 to $300 or more.

So just be sure you know what you’re buying before you jump on a deal 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 vast 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 exactly 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 reason there is such a small number of 1981-S Type 2 proof sets around is that the US Mint didn’t begin using the new “S” mintmark punch until late in 1981 — when most of the proof set run was already completed for the year.

Collectors didn’t become aware of the change in mintmark styles until after the new “S” mintmark was already being used.

But the news of the 1981-S Type 2 proof 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 ton of new money into the coin market.

Also, the bullion world was enjoying headlines as gold prices and silver prices spiked to then-all-time highs, and this excitement spilled over into the coin industry.

Even after the coin market lost steam as the 1980s came to a close, prices remained buoyant on the 1981-S Type 2 proof coins.

Decades later, **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 aresome **otherresources to help you understand the differences between 1981 Proof Sets:**

- How To Spot 1979 & 1981 Type 1 & Type 2 Proof Coins
- The Mint Mark On A 1981-S Proof Coin Can Alter The Coin’s Value By Thousands
- A Further Analysis Of 1981-S Type 2 Proof Sets
- The 1981 Proof Set Coin Guide
- 50 Years Of Modern Proof Sets

Joshua

I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th 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 coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author 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 various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 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!

## FAQs

### What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 1981 proof set? ›

The Type 1 is actually the same punch or tool used to make the Type 2 1979 coinage. **The Type 1 has a strongly pointed top when compared to a flat top of the 1981**. The Type 2 has rather bulbous serifs in comparison to the Type 1 and the serifs do not touch the inside of the S either.

**How much is a 1981 coin proof set worth? ›**

1981 US Mint Proof Set

Other coins included in the 1981 set were the Lincoln Cent, Jefferson Nickel, Roosevelt Dime, Washington Quarter, and Kennedy Half. The price for the set was raised once again from $10 to **$11**.

**How can you tell if a 1981 proof set is Type 2? ›**

In order for the 1981-S Proof set to be considered a Type 2 set, **the S Mint mark on each of the set's six coins** — Lincoln cent, Jefferson 5-cent coin, Roosevelt dime, Washington quarter dollar, Kennedy half dollar, and Susan B. Anthony dollar — must be of the Type 2 style.

**What year proof sets are most valuable? ›**

Date & Type | Total Sets Sold | Avg. Sell Value |
---|---|---|

1937 | 5,542 | $3,000.00 |

1938 | 8,045 | $1,400.00 |

1939 | 8,795 | $1,250.00 |

1940 | 11,246 | $1,000.00 |

**What's the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 coin? ›**

There's no need to be concerned about the amount of gold you'll get with a Gold Eagle purchase; both the Type 1 and the Type 2 are struck with 1 Troy Oz. of . 9167 pure gold bullion. The main differences between these coins are **visual, while one major shift in the reeding provides added security**.

**What is a Type 1 vs type 2 coin? ›**

The obverse side includes a depiction of Lady Liberty walking into a setting sun. The reverse depicts a version of the American Bald Eagle. While **the original Type 1 Silver Eagle featured the Heraldic Eagle of the United States, the newly released Type 2 shows the Bald Eagle flying with an olive branch in its talons**.

**Are proof sets a good investment? ›**

**It's considered a low-risk investment with excellent potential to increase in value**. Because proof coins are more rare and produced in smaller numbers with a higher level of quality control, you can expect these coins to hold and increase in value.

**Where can I sell proof coin sets? ›**

Because we buy select proof and mint sets, will sort out your sets and provide free purchase offers **Midwest Coin** is the bet choice to sell proof sets to. Therefore, selling your proof sets to Midwest Coin is a the best choice.

**Are all S mint mark coins proofs? ›**

Mint Specialties

**Most post-1968 proof coins feature the S mintmark**. Since 1975, San Francisco has only struck coins for collectors and investors, with the proof set being its main product (one major exception is the Susan B.

**What does type 2 mean on a coin? ›**

This new reverse (dubbed “Type 2”) shows **an eagle coming in for a landing, carrying an oak branch as if to add it to a nest**. To give the new coins an added level of security, they have also been updated with enhanced security features, including a reeded edge variation.

### What does BU type 2 mean? ›

**Brilliant Uncirculated** Tenth-Ounce Type 2 Gold Eagles

In addition, these coins all come in original Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) condition, with razor-sharp details that are as fresh and crisp as the day they left the mint!

**What is a Type 2 mint mark? ›**

The 1981 “S” mint marks are denoted as “Type 1” and “Type 2”. The 1979 Clear S mint mark is denoted by collectors as the Type 1 S mint mark on 1981 coinage and was replaced by the Type 2 S mint mark **when dies were recut with the new S mint mark in late 1981**.

**Are proof sets worth more than face value? ›**

Prices are falling for common standard Proof sets from the 1970s and 1980s. For example, many dealers are paying around $1.80 for the 1980-S Proof set, **less than the $1.91 face value for the coins in the set**.

**Is it better to buy proof or uncirculated coins? ›**

**Proofs are almost always going to command a higher premium than an Uncirculated coin**, but they also offer better presentation, quality and lower populations. Uncirculated coins are generally the best way to invest in Precious Metals at a modest price point.

**Are proof sets worth more than mint sets? ›**

As with the silver proof sets, these modern-day prices are nominally akin to early 1980s levels but are essentially worth less than 50 percent of their former value due to inflation. **Earlier proof sets and mint sets haven't fared much better**. For example, in 1980 one could buy a 1950 proof set for $700.

**What is the rarest mint mark? ›**

1. **1794 Flowing Hair Dollar**. Experts believe this coin was the first silver dollar coin struck by the U.S. mint and the finest coin of its time in existence today.

**What is a rare proof coin? ›**

A proof coin is **a rare, uncirculated coin that a mint has specially created each year**. A proof coin has never entered public circulation, nor has it served as currency in the market. Proof coins are rarer than regular uncirculated coins and are collectible items.

**What if there is no mint mark on a coin? ›**

The latter is easy - the term "1927-D" means that the coin is dated 1927 and carries a 'D' mintmark. If the date of a US coin is written without a mintmark, **it means that the coin has no mintmark and was (usually) minted in Philadelphia**.

**What is a Type 2 1979 proof set? ›**

1979 Type 2 proof sets **contain the clearer S mintmark and are somewhat scarcer than the Type 1 proof sets** The coins included in this set are: 1 Susan B. Anthony dollar 1 Kennedy half-dollar 1 Washington quarter 1 Roosevelt dime 1 Jefferson nicke 1 Lincoln cent All proof sets are preowned and may have slight blemishes.

**Why are silver eagles more expensive? ›**

The U.S. Mint is the only producer of the Silver American Eagles so **when the demand increases as it has lately, they have a hard time keeping up with production and distribution, thus causing premium increases**.

### Which silver eagles are worth the most? ›

The **1994 and 1996** silver eagles are the most valuable and popular of the silver eagles, but don't overlook the 1997 and 1995 silver eagles, which have the third- and fourth-lowest production levels, respectively.

**Where can I look up the value of a coin? ›**

**The NGC Coin Explorer** — a searchable catalog of American and US coins — is your convenient numismatic library with important coin details from the NGC Price Guide, NGC Census, NGC Registry and Auction Central resources all in one place.

**How do you grade a coin yourself? ›**

With PCGS Photograde™, you can obtain the approximate grade of your coin by **comparing it to the photo that most closely matches its appearance**. After you've done that, you can go to the PCGS Price Guide to get a ballpark idea of how much the coin is worth.

**How much does it cost to get a coin graded? ›**

Coin Grading Costs

Grading prices vary according to the maximum value per coin. For instance, modern coins that are worth a maximum of $300 will cost from **$17 to $22**, depending on the company of your choosing. Coins with a maximum value of $10,000 can be graded for $65 to $80 dollars.

**How much is a $5 gold eagle worth? ›**

Official Face Value: $5. Actual Street Value: **$160-210**.

**What is clear s on coin? ›**

Clear "S" 1979-S **created when an old mint mark punch**, used since 1968 broke midway through the year. Clear 1981-S created when punch from 1979 wore down and was replaced. The type 2 varieties feature "S" with distinct and clear openings. Unusual and much scarcer than regular issues.

**What year pennies have no mint mark? ›**

No mint marks appeared on circulating coins from **1965 to 1967**. The Coinage Act of 1965 eliminated mint marks to discourage collecting while the Mint worked to meet the country's coinage needs. Mint marks were placed on the reverse of coins until 1968 when they moved to the obverse.

**Are Silver Eagle proofs a good investment? ›**

Reasons American Silver Eagles are a Good Investment: **American Silver Eagles make great investments because they carry an intrinsic value and won't fall in value like other currencies**.

**Can you spend proof coins? ›**

Can you spend proof coins? Well, **technically yes you can spend proof coins**, but you'd be making a serious mistake doing so! Proof coins are often struck in precious metals, such as gold, silver and platinum. Therefore, the value of the precious metal will be worth many times the face value of the coin.

**Are proof sets real money? ›**

United States Mint Proof Sets are a beautiful addition to any collection and make wonderful starter sets for new collectors. **A Proof Set is a complete set of proof coins of each denomination made in a year**.

### How do you tell if a coin is circulated or uncirculated? ›

**There are two major factors that indicate a coin is in uncirculated condition:**

- Mint luster. Coins that have never been in circulation usually exhibit a distinctive sheen or luster. ...
- No trace of wear. One of the most obvious signs that a coin is uncirculated is the absence of wear or rubbing on the coin's high points.

**What is the best coin grade? ›**

For most of numismatic history, the highest possible grade on the familiar **1-to-70** coin grading scale was an ideal to be considered rather than a realistic grade to be attained.

**Can I spend uncirculated coins? ›**

An uncirculated coin is a coin that has not been put into public circulation. **If it's legal currency, it can be spent at any time** - although this would remove its status as uncirculated. For some other uncirculated coins, they may still uncirculated for a reason.

**What year proof sets are silver? ›**

Beginning in **1992**, the Mint began producing proof sets with the cupronickel denomination replaced by coins struck in 90% fine silver. In addition, since 1999, all of the quarters released in any one year of a series since 1999 are also struck in silver! Every set comes in its original U.S. Mint packaging.

**What is the lowest mintage silver proof set? ›**

The lowest mintage silver proof set produced was in the inaugural year of **1936**, with a production run of only 3,837.

**What is the difference between a special mint set and a proof set? ›**

**Proof sets contain coins that are specially struck on polished dies, attaining a mirror-like finish.** **Mint sets contain regular coins that are uncirculated**. Modern proof sets have been issued since 1936; uncirculated mint sets have been issued since 1947.

**What is a Type II coin? ›**

This new reverse (dubbed “Type 2”) shows **an eagle coming in for a landing, carrying an oak branch as if to add it to a nest**. To give the new coins an added level of security, they have also been updated with enhanced security features, including a reeded edge variation.

**What does BU type 2 mean? ›**

**Brilliant Uncirculated** Tenth-Ounce Type 2 Gold Eagles

In addition, these coins all come in original Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) condition, with razor-sharp details that are as fresh and crisp as the day they left the mint!

**What does BU Type 1 mean in coins? ›**

**Brilliant Uncirculated coins** are bright and undamaged, and they've never seen the inside of a vending machine or the underside of a couch cushion. As the name suggests, they've never been in circulation. They likely went into storage immediately after minting.

**What is a 1980 proof set worth? ›**

1980 US Mint Proof Set

The 1980 Proof Set (Buy on eBay) saw a redesigned package to accommodate the new sized dollar coin. The sets contained the same six coins as the prior year with a face value of $1.91, but the issue price was increased from $9.00 to **$10.00**.

### Are all S mint mark coins proofs? ›

Mint Specialties

**Most post-1968 proof coins feature the S mintmark**. Since 1975, San Francisco has only struck coins for collectors and investors, with the proof set being its main product (one major exception is the Susan B.

**Which silver eagles are worth the most? ›**

The **1994 and 1996** silver eagles are the most valuable and popular of the silver eagles, but don't overlook the 1997 and 1995 silver eagles, which have the third- and fourth-lowest production levels, respectively.

**Why are silver eagles more expensive? ›**

The U.S. Mint is the only producer of the Silver American Eagles so **when the demand increases as it has lately, they have a hard time keeping up with production and distribution, thus causing premium increases**.

**Where can I look up the value of a coin? ›**

**The NGC Coin Explorer** — a searchable catalog of American and US coins — is your convenient numismatic library with important coin details from the NGC Price Guide, NGC Census, NGC Registry and Auction Central resources all in one place.

**How do you grade a coin yourself? ›**

With PCGS Photograde™, you can obtain the approximate grade of your coin by **comparing it to the photo that most closely matches its appearance**. After you've done that, you can go to the PCGS Price Guide to get a ballpark idea of how much the coin is worth.

**How much does it cost to get a coin graded? ›**

Coin Grading Costs

Grading prices vary according to the maximum value per coin. For instance, modern coins that are worth a maximum of $300 will cost from **$17 to $22**, depending on the company of your choosing. Coins with a maximum value of $10,000 can be graded for $65 to $80 dollars.

**Can you spend Proof coins? ›**

Can you spend proof coins? Well, **technically yes you can spend proof coins**, but you'd be making a serious mistake doing so! Proof coins are often struck in precious metals, such as gold, silver and platinum. Therefore, the value of the precious metal will be worth many times the face value of the coin.

**What is the best coin grade? ›**

For most of numismatic history, the highest possible grade on the familiar **1-to-70** coin grading scale was an ideal to be considered rather than a realistic grade to be attained.

**How do you tell if a coin is circulated or uncirculated? ›**

**There are two major factors that indicate a coin is in uncirculated condition:**

- Mint luster. Coins that have never been in circulation usually exhibit a distinctive sheen or luster. ...
- No trace of wear. One of the most obvious signs that a coin is uncirculated is the absence of wear or rubbing on the coin's high points.

**Are proof sets a good investment? ›**

**It's considered a low-risk investment with excellent potential to increase in value**. Because proof coins are more rare and produced in smaller numbers with a higher level of quality control, you can expect these coins to hold and increase in value.

### Are 1980 proof sets silver? ›

...

1980-S Proof Set.

Currency Type | Dollar |
---|---|

Coin Weight | 31.07 Grams - g |

Dimensions | Various |

**Where can I sell proof coin sets? ›**

Because we buy select proof and mint sets, will sort out your sets and provide free purchase offers **Midwest Coin** is the bet choice to sell proof sets to. Therefore, selling your proof sets to Midwest Coin is a the best choice.