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Coins - 1976 Mint Set

The 1976 mint set looks like the previous year with twelve uncirculated coins including P and D versions of the three bicentennial coins but with 1976 on the penny, nickel and dime.   

Two pliofilm sleeves held the twelve uncirculated coins in the mint set. One sleeve contained the six coins minted in Denver, and the other had six coins made in Philadelphia. The six coins consisted of the dollar, half dollar, quarter, dime, nickel and one cent coin.  None of the coins in this standard mint set contained any silver, but the special three-coin bicentennial set's coins were 40% silver.

The mint set's white envelope made of sturdy paper showed "US MINT" and "1976 Uncirculated Coin" in the upper left corner to identify the mint set.

1976 Mint Set Package

1976 Mint Set 

Opened, the envelope held the two pliofilm sleeves, each containing six uncirculated coins, sandwiched between two pieces of cardstock to protect the coins.

1976 Mint Set open 

1976 Mint Set Uncirculated Coins

Remaining consistent, the US Mint packaged the coins from the Denver mint in the red-edged pliofilm sleeve and the coins from the Philadelphia mint in the blue-edged sleeve.

1976 Mint Set obverse

Sealed in its own compartment, each coin in the mint set can still move freely to rotate into different positions.

The bicentennial coins show "1776-1976" as the date on the obverse and illustrate the bicentennial images on the reverse of the quarter, half dollar and dollar coins. As a result, the penny, nickel and dime uncirculated coins with their year of 1976 makes this mint set unique from the previous year's.

1976 Mint Set reverse  

1976 Mint Set Coins and Metals

The coins of the 1976 Mint Set contained the following metals:

Penny: 95% copper; 5% zinc
Nickel: 75% copper; 25% nickel
Dime: 91.67% copper; 8.33% nickel
Quarter: 91.67% copper; 8.33% nickel
Half Dollar: 91.67% copper; 8.33% nickel
Dollar: 91.67% copper; 8.33% nickel

Click on Mint Set Population to view the contents of the sets through the years. Take a look at the overall Mint Set page to see how the values compare among the sets.

1976 Mint Set Year - News about Coins and the US Mint

(note: the below links to newspapers open in a new window)

Lost Pennies Upset Mint's Mary Brooks
Spokane Daily Chronicle - Feb 10, 1976
After being unable to find the lost pennies, the US Mint's Director, Mary Brooks, went to the hospital with nervous exhaustion last November. The experimental aluminum pennies were sent to various members of the House and Senate for review. The majority have not been returned to the Mint. She tried to get the coins back, otherwise she would have to report them stolen - basically accusing Congressmen of theft.

Mint will speed service to collectors 
Daily News - Feb 18, 1976
Collectors order coins from the mint, and in some cases, do not receive the sets until more than a year later. Per the mint spokesman, that's about to change. They are establishing shipping standards to include shipping within the time frame listed on the mint's solicitations, notifying the buyer of any delays in shipping, providing the buyer a post card if they want to cancel, and refunding the buyer's money within seven days if they choose to cancel.

Defective Dollars Have Silver Lining
Daytona Beach Morning Journal - Mar 4, 1976
Dealers are looking for defective dollars. The US Mint issued roughly 20 million dollars with defects though they are calling them Type I dollars. Looking closely at the bicentennial reverse image, the moon is poorly struck and the lettering is not as clear as it should be. After switching to an improved coin stamp, the mint began producing Type II dollars.

Mint official investigated 
Lodi News-Sentinel - Jul 17, 1976
A Treasury spokesman announced the deputy superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint has been placed on "non-duty status." After a 10-week internal investigation, the US attorney's office in Philadelphia now investigates. There appears to be a conflict of interest between his responsibilities of procuring metals for minting coins and his involvement with several private firms.

'Workhorse' Coin Worth Dollar Is Latest Monetary Thinking
Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Aug 4, 1976
With the monetary study concluded by the Research Triangle-based firm, the Treasury is considering a dollar coin that would be larger than the quarter and smaller than the half dollar. Though still in the discussion stage, many think a smaller dollar coin would be quickly adopted by the American public. When questioned, the officials did not expect a presidential bust as the obverse image.

Oh, for a double eagle
Boca Raton News - Aug 25, 1976
Insured for $1 million, the one-of-a-kind $20 double eagle gold piece was recently purchased by Steven Markoff as part of a $5 million, 45-coin collection. This coin was commissioned by Theodore Roosevelt, was missing until a found in a US Mint engraver's estate and sold to King Farouk. The coin was purchased by other collectors through the years before this recent acquisition.

The moneychangers: US conducting study 
The Miami News - Aug 25, 1976
The commissioned study on coinage should be made public in September. In the meantime, the Director of the Mint states that any proposals by the mint would take into consideration all segments of the public and would then go through the long congressional process for approval. Some consider the penny should be phased out of circulation and a 2-cent coin introduced. Others claim that the half dollar and dollar coins are not useful in their current sizes.

The penny's days may be ending 
The Tuscaloosa News - Sep 15, 1976
A government sponsored study recommends the US Mint discontinue the one-cent coin by 1980. The author claims "a penny goes much farther today than it did just 10 years ago - you can carry one around for weeks and never find anything it will buy."

Demise of US penny
The Leader Post - Sep 17, 1976
The research report shows as the buying power of the penny has dropped, the coin has tended to circulate less freely which forces the mint to increase production to meet the demand. Currently, roughly 75% of the annual coinage production is for the one-cent coins. At this rate, by 1990, 90% of the coins minted will be pennies.

San Francisco restores US Mint as functioning historic landmark
The Free Lance-Star - Nov 9, 1976
After four years and a $4.5 million renovation project, the "Granite Lady" reopens as a museum and working offices for the US Mint. In celebration, the Mint displays gold worth more than the renovation project cost. The centerpiece is the one-of-a-kind 1907 $20 gold piece on loan from the Amark Coin Company. Gold bars and nuggets illustrate the mint's early days supporting the gold rush. A miner's cabin, a Wells Fargo stagecoach and minting machinery used to make coins out of gold complete the display.

Nation's first woman governor turns 100 
Nellie Taylor Ross turns 100. She was the nation's first woman governor serving as Governor of Wyoming after her election in 1924. Less than ten years later, she performed another first as the first female director of the US Mint beginning in 1933. She retired in 1953.

Early proof order halted 
Lodi News-Sentinel - Nov 29, 1976
Generally at this time of the year, people would begin ordering their 1977 proof sets. But, in a change of policy, the Director of the Mint announced orders will no longer be taken in advance. Instead, proof set orders will begin in April and uncirculated coin set orders will begin in the fall. Any early orders will be returned unfulfilled.

The 1976 Mint Set Year included news of the still missing aluminum penny specimens, the opening of the historic "Granite Lady" museum and the planned improvements by the US Mint for collectors. 

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