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Coins - 1978 Proof Set


Due to improved processes at the Mint, the 1978 proof set enjoyed cameo or deep cameo finishes on all six coins. The six coins in the proof set included the one cent, the five cent, the ten cent, the 25 cent, the 50 cent and the one dollar coins for a total face value of $1.91. The US Mint sold the 1978 proof sets initially for $9.00 each.

1978 Proof Set Package

The 1978 proof set package continued with the same design that was first introduced in 1973. The outer box is a shiny black card stock with silver lettering identifying the set as "United States Proof Set • 1978" on the top flap of the box. The box dimensions are roughly 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches by 3/8 inch.

1978 Proof Set 

The edges and back of the proof set box consist of black shiny card stock without any additional letters or marks.

1978 Proof Set back

The proof set opens by pulling the larger black flap from under the written edge. The lens holding the coins slides out of the box from the long edge. Black plastic with the raised silver eagle design covers the obverse of the coins and folds back on its hinges to form the easel.

1978 Proof Set contents

1978 Proof Set Contents and Proof Coins

Folded back, the black plastic flip cover allows the lens holding the proof coins to be displayed upright. Though some collectors did not like the additional easel and chose to remove the cover. Some sets found today do not have the black flip cover.

1978 Proof Set display

Using chromium plating on the dies and replacing them more frequently, the Mint consistently produced better quality proof coins in 1978 and going forward. Their improved processes enabled them to achieve the cameo and deep cameo finished on the proof coins.

Spaced evenly, the proof set lens holds the different sized coins individually in their own circular capsule which are held firmly in the clear plastic with the red contrasting interior. In the upper left corner, raised letters in the clear plastic identify "PACKAGED BY US MINT." At the bottom, silver-colored, raised letters categorize the set as "UNITED STATES PROOF COINS."

1978 Proof Set obverse 

Turning the proof set lens over, the six coins' reverse designs can be readily seen through their clear plastic protection.

1978 Proof Set reverse 

1978 Proof Set Coin Specifications

The specifications for the coins in the 1978 annual Proof Set:

 Denomination  Cent Five Cent Dime  Quarter  Half Dollar  Dollar








Designed by

  V.D. Brenner

  Felix Schlag

  John R. Sinnock





 Lincoln Memorial


Torch, Olive Branch, Oak Branch

Heraldic Eagle

Heraldic Eagle

Apollo 11 Insignia, Eagle on Moon

Designed by

 Felix Schlag  John R. Sinnock


Frank Gasparro

Frank Gasparro


95% Copper, 5% Zinc

25% Nickel, 75% Copper

Cupro-Nickel Clad, 8.33% Ni, Balance Cu

Cupro-Nickel Clad, 8.33% Ni, Balance Cu

Cupro-Nickel Clad, 8.33% Ni, Balance Cu

Cupro-Nickel Clad, 8.33% Ni, Balance Cu


 3.110 g

5.000 g

2.268 g

5.670 g

11.340 g

22.68 g


 0.750 in 19.05 mm

 0.835 in 21.21 mm

 0.705 in 17.91 mm

0.955 in
24.26 mm

1.205 in
30.61 mm

1.5 in
38.1 mm








In later sets, the US Mint advises, "To preserve the beauty of your Proof Set, it should be stored in a cool, dry place."

1978 Proof Set Year Population and Cost of Living

The world population in 1978 was 4,305,732,462. This represents 62.8% of the world's population in 2010.

$100 in 1978 equals $334.44 in 2010 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Inflation Calculator.

New houses in 1978 cost $62,500 which would be $209,025 today.

The average income was $10,556 per year ($35,304 in today's dollars).

Gas averaged $0.626 per gallon ($2.09 in today's money).

The average new car was $6,379 ($21,334).

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

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