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Coins - 1977 Mint Set

The 1977 mint set continued with the twelve uncirculated coins, but the quarter, half dollar and dollar coins' reverse images reverted to their eagle designs.  The coins in the mint set were made of copper and nickel or copper and zinc alloys - no silver.  

Each pliofilm sleeve in the mint set held six uncirculated coins - the dollar, half dollar, quarter, dime, nickel and one cent coins.  One sleeve contained coins minted in Denver, the other had Philadelphia minted coins.

In the upper left corner of the mint set's white envelope, "US MINT" and "1977 Uncirculated Coin" show in a bold, blue font.

1977 Mint Set Package

1977 Mint Set 

Inside the envelope the two pliofilm sleeves with six uncirculated coins each are positioned between two pieces of cardstock to protect the coins.

1977 Mint Set open 

1977 Mint Set Uncirculated Coins

As with earlier mint sets, the red-edged pliofilm sleeve holds the coins from the Denver mint while the blue-edged sleeve has the coins from the Philadelphia mint.

1977 Mint Set obverse

Though sealed individually within the pliofilm sleeve, each coin in the mint set can move in its own compartment and rotate into different positions.

All coins in this mint set show the year as "1977" whereas the bicentennial coins of the previous two years' mint sets showed "1776-1976." In addition, the reverse designs for the quarter, half dollar and dollar coins reverted back to their images of eagles.

1977 Mint Set reverse  

1977 Mint Set Coins and Metals

The coins of the 1977 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.

1977 Mint Set Year - News about Coins and the US Mint

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

Filipino 'nickel' sold 
The Telegraph-Herald - Feb 1, 1977
Quoted as saying, "It's the biggest mistake that ever happened in the last 200 years of the mint," the auctioneer sold the scallop-edged Phillipine 5 centavo piece with the imprint of a 1976 Jefferson nickel superimposed over it for $2,600. The US Mint produced the 5 centavo coins for the Phillipines, but this coin somehow got into the Jefferson nickel line.

Mint Chief to Return to Idaho 
Spokane Daily Chronicle - Feb 11, 1977
Mary Brooks, Director of the US Mint, will resign today and will return to Boise to live. She was the third woman to head the US Mint and served for 7 1/2 years after being appointed during President Nixon's first term. During her tenure, coin production almost doubled going from seven billion coins in 1969 to over 13 billion in 1976.

Mint Slow Sending Proof Coin Sets 
The Pittsburgh Press - Apr 6, 1977
Five proof sets were ordered in January 1976. The US Mint cashed the check, but the coins have yet to arrive over a year later. The Federal Reserve Bank branch here claims a delay of seven months is "normal" but this delay is unusually long.

Sunday School Lesson In Coin 
Youngstown Vindicator - Apr 10, 1977
For the independent Papal State, Vatican City, a silver coin was issued of which only 100,000 were made. The 1939 five lire coin shows Pope Pius XII on the obverse and St. Peter, fisher of men, on the reverse. The coin is roughly the size of a nickel and being offered for $22.50 by Paramount International.

Hail National Coin Week 
Youngstown Vindicator - Apr 17, 1977
The 53rd observance of National Coin Week occurs Apr 17 - 23 with the theme of "Coins Are History." Coin clubs around the country will celebrate with meetings and exhibits. Begun in 1924 by Julius Guttag, a leading coin dealer in his day, the American Numismatic Association picked up the sponsorship shortly afterwards.

Halt in Penny Use As Currency Urged
Youngstown Vindicator - May 12, 1977
The chairman of the House subcommittee on Treasury Appropriations claims the penny ought to be abolished. People do not carry pennies around anymore, and it costs the US Mint (and taxpayers) more than one cent to make a penny. An immediate benefit of stopping penny production would be the money saved by not building the new Denver mint planned as a $40 million facility.

1977 Proof Set Price Is Up to $9 
The Evening News - May 14, 1977
Acting Director of the Mint defended the price increase, "Since 1973 the Mint has sold proof coin sets for $7 per set. In the intervening time, however, costs for materials, manufacturing and distribution of proof sets have escalated. In order for the proof coin program to remain self-supporting, the Mint must raise its price for the 1977 six-coin proof set." Since 1973, costs have risen about 30% with no additional increase in funds to support the program.

Carter Studying Income Tax Cuts 
The Milwaukee Sentinel - Jun 3, 1977
The Carter administration is reviewing business and personal tax changes. In the meantime, Treasury secretary, Blumenthal announced that a tentative decision had been made to combine the offices of the treasurer and the director of the US Mint.

Politics saves the penny from extinction
The Southeast Missourian - Jul 3, 1977
Politicians discuss changing American coinage including stopping all penny production, but the penny has been in continuous production since 1793. The authors claim the penny is "the most popular single coin in the history of the world." They also state, "the penny is not just another unit of currency, to be scrapped on grounds of cold, economic logic - it is a national love object."

Pennies Can Stay, Senate Panel Told
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Nov 4, 1977
Stella Hackel, former Vermont state treasurer and nominee for Director of the Mint, told the Senate Banking Committee that there seems to be no immediate need to do away with the penny. Since the price of copper has stabilized, the Mint can find surplus equipment to make the one-cent coins.

The other side of the coin
The Morning Record and Journal - Dec 27, 1977
The government continues to review the coinage and the paper currency to determine what the nation needs. They plan to "sample public attitudes" in 1978. But, the heads of both the Senate and the House banking committees believe getting rid of the penny would be an inflationary step, as a result any bills stopping penny production would not pass Congress.

The 1977 Mint Set Year included news of the demise of the penny and the change-of-heart to keep the penny. 

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