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Coins - 1970 Proof Set


The US Mint first introduced the proof set in the blue box with a hard plastic container for the coins, called a lens, in 1968. This was after a short hiatus from Proof Sets. The US Mint did not make Proof Sets in 1965, 1966 or 1967, instead the Mint made Special Mint Sets for those years.

The 1970 proof set contained several different varieties. The most notable are the small date cent and the no "S" dime.

1970 Proof Set Package

The 1970 Proof Set provides an example of the packaging for the proof set years of 1968 through 1972. On the 1970 box, however, the writing, "United States Proof Set • 1970," moved from the bottom of the box to the top flap. (Note: In the early years of the box and plastic lens, the US Mint tried several different outer boxes. The pictures below show only one version.)

The outer blue box dimensions are roughly 3 1/2 by 5 3/8 by 3/8 inches.

1970 Proof Set

The lens consists of two pieces of hard plastic forming a sandwich around a black insert. The insert immobilizes the coins to prevent movement within the lens.

1970 Proof Set Contents and Proof Coins

The box opens by lifting the flap from under the written section and the lens slides into the box from the bottom. (Note: The acrylic easel is for display only and was not part of the proof set.)

1970 Proof Set package 

The lens shows the obverse of the coins. Notice at the top of the lens is the iconic eagle from the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States. The eagle holds arrows and olive branches in his talons and a shield covers his chest between his outspread wings. A similar version of this eagle is on the reverse of the Kennedy half dollar.

1970 Proof Set obverse

The reverse of the proof set shows off the eagle on the half dollar. In the upper left corner, the small print says, "PACKAGED BY THE US MINT."

In the middle below the half dollar, the script identifies, "United States Proof Set."

1970 Proof Set reverse

Half Dollar:

The 1970 half dollar continued with the John F. Kennedy image on the obverse, however this coin could only be obtained by purchasing either the US Mint's proof or mint sets. In addition, this was the last year for the 40% Silver Clad half dollars. This coin was first introduced in 1964 after the assasination of President Kennedy. The words on the obverse include "LIBERTY" across the top and "IN GOD WE TRUST" across the bottom of the bust. The date follows the circle of the coin at the bottom. The coin's reverse shows the Presidential Coat of Arms from the Great Seal. "E PLURIBUS UNUM" flows on a banner between the eagles outspread wings, and the inscriptions "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "HALF DOLLAR" encircle the top and bottom of the coin's reverse image. The initial 1964 proof half had the mint mark on the reverse just below and to the left of the eagle's talons holding the olive branches. After the proof set hiatus, the mint mark on the 1968 and to date Kennedy half coins occurs on the obverse just above the middle of the date and to the right of the bust.
Obverse Designer: Gilroy Roberts
Reverse Designer: Frank Gasparro

Quarter Dollar:

The 1970 quarter continued the version introduced in 1932. The obverse design included the portrait of George Washington and the words: "LIBERTY," "IN GOD WE TRUST" and the date. On the reverse, an eagle stands with wings outspread clutching a bunch of arrows in its talons with two olive sprays crossed beneath his tail feathers. The words on the reverse include: "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and "QUARTER DOLLAR." The 1970 quarter dollar contained a core of pure copper clad in a copper (75%) and nickel (25%) blend. Initially, the mint mark for the quarter was on the reverse, but starting in 1968, the mint mark moved to the obverse just to the right of Washington's hair at his neck.
Obverse Designer: John Flanagan
Reverse Designer: John Flanagan


The 1970 dime continued the image of President Franklin Roosevelt on the obverse. The words on the obverse include "LIBERTY," "IN GOD WE TRUST" and the year. The coin's reverse shows an olive branch, a torch and an oak branch with the words "E PLURIBUS UNUM" across them. The words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" flow around the top of the reverse with "ONE DIME" on the bottom. The metal content of the 1970 dime included a core of copper with outer layers of copper (75%) and nickel (25%) blended together. Of particular interest, some of the 1970 proof set dimes do not contain the "S" mint mark.
Obverse Designer: John Sinnock
Reverse Designer: John Sinnock

Five Cents (Nickel):

The Jefferson nickel introduced in 1938 continued in the 1970 proof set. The words on the face of the coin say "IN GOD WE TRUST," "LIBERTY" and the year. The nickel's reverse shows Jefferson's historic home, Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia. "E PLURIBUS UNUM" fits above Monticello, and "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "MONTICELLO" and "FIVE CENTS" show below the home. In 1966, the designer's initials were added under Jefferson's neck. And in 1968, the mint mark moved to the obverse of the coin to the right of Jefferson's hair near the edge of the coin.
Obverse Designer: Felix Schlag
Reverse Designer: Felix Schlag

Cent (Penny):

The Lincoln cent continued in 1970, but to collectors' delight, there were different versions. The three most notable varieties include the small date with a high "7," the large date with a low "7" and the doubled die obverse. The motto, "IN GOD WE TRUST" was first introduced on coins with the Lincoln cent. The coin's obverse also includes "LIBERTY" and the date. The 1970 cent's reverse shows the Lincoln Memorial with the inscriptions saying "UNITED STATES oF AMERICA," "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and "ONE CENT." (Have you noticed all the letters are capitalized except the "o" in "oF?")
Obverse Designer: Victor D. Brenner
Reverse Designer: Frank Gasparro

1970 Proof Set Year Population and Cost of Living

The world population in 1970 was 3,692,492,000. In 2010, the world population is estimated at 6,811,600,000

$100 in 1970 equals $558.61 in 2010 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Inflation Calculator.

New houses in 1970 cost $23,400 which would be $130,714.93 today.

The average income was $9,350 per year ($52,230.11 in today's dollars).

Gas was $.36 per gallon ($2.01 in today's money).

The average new car was $3900 ($21,785.82).

(Chart views into the cost of living changes throughout the Proof Set years)

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