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Coins - 1979 Proof Set


The 1979 proof set included six coins, introduced the Susan B. Anthony dollar and was the last year of that specific black package style. The proof set contained six coins of $1.91 in face value: the Lincoln cent, Jefferson nickel, Roosevelt dime, Washington quarter, Kennedy half dollar and Susan B. Anthony dollar. The initial price from the US Mint for the 1979 proof sets was $9.00 each.

1979 Proof Set Package

The 1979 proof set package was the last year for the black and silver box design began in 1973. The outer box is a shiny black card stock with silver letters stating "United States Proof Set • 1979" on the top flap of the box. The box dimensions are roughly 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches by 3/8 inch.

1979 Proof Set 

The edges and back of the proof set box do not contain any additional letters or marks identifying the contents.

1979 Proof Set back

To access the proof set lens, the large black flap slides from under the written edge. The lens holds the coins behind the black plastic flip cover and slides out of the box from the edge. A raised silver heraldic eagle decorates the middle of the black plastic flip cover.

1979 Proof Set contents

1979 Proof Set Contents and Proof Coins

The black plastic flip cover folds back to form an easel to display the lens holding the proof coins. Though some collectors did not like the additional flip cover and chose to remove the black plastic. Some sets found today do not have the black flip cover.

1979 Proof Set display

Of particular interest in 1979, the Mint was forced to update their process for applying the "S" mint mark to the proof coins due to old, worn out tools. This change was done during the proof set production and introduced a variety in the sets. The Type I variety reflects the older equipment with the "S" almost being an unrecognizable blob. After updating, the Type II variety shows a clearly defined "S" on the coins. The proof sets can be all Type I, all Type II or a mixture of Type I and Type II proof coins. Collectors pay more for the Type II sets.

In today's proof sets, the coins seem to float in the lens. In reality, the additional space allows the collector to see the lettered edges of the dollar coins (see the 2009 Proof Set's Presidential Coins). In 1979, the dollar coin did not contain a lettered edge, however it "floats" in the proof set lens. The Mint chose not to wait for new lens with a smaller dollar opening. Instead, they centered the smaller Susan B. Anthony dollar in the space occupied by the larger Eisenhower dollar in earlier sets.

The proof set lens holds the 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." Along the bottom, "UNITED STATES PROOF COINS" is printed in silver-colored, raised letters on the black plastic frame.

1979 Proof Set obverse 

Turning the set over, the reverse designs follow from the earlier years. The Susan B. Anthony dollar utilizes a smaller version of Frank Gasparro's rendition of the Apollo 11 insignia introduced on the reverse of the Eisenhower dollar as seen in the earlier proof sets.

1979 Proof Set reverse 

1979 Proof Set Coin Specifications

The specifications for the coins in the 1979 annual Proof Set:

 Denomination  Cent Five Cent Dime  Quarter  Half Dollar  Dollar







Susan B. Anthony

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

8.100 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

1.04 in
26.5 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."

1979 Proof Set Year Population and Cost of Living

The world population in 1979 was 4,380,675,312. This represents 63.9% of the world's population in 2010.

$100 in 1979 equals $300.35 in 2010 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Inflation Calculator.

New houses in 1979 cost $71,800 which would be $215,651 today.

The average income was $11,479 per year ($34,479 in today's dollars).

Gas averaged $0.857 per gallon ($2.57 in today's money).

The average new car was $6,847 ($20,565).

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

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