1956 Proof Set Envelopes

In the past we’ve talked about how you should NEVER, EVER write on the packaging materials of the collectible sets from the Mint. But, what about the envelopes with address labels and postage stickers on them?

Here’s a clean and nicely preserved 1956 proof set envelope:

1956 Proof Set Envelope

Here’s another 1956 proof set package:

1956 Proof Set Envelope with Address and Postage

(Note: The red blocks were applied to the digital picture to protect the gentleman’s name.)

Because the address label and postage were applied by the US Mint in 1956, this envelope is just as acceptable to numismatists as the clean version above. It is not necessary to remove the additional labels from the Mint. Actually, unwanted damage could occur by attempting to pull off the address and postage information.

Just for fun, take a look at the postage to send one insured proof set in 1956  – seven cents. Using inflation calculators, that seven cents would be the same buying power as 55 cents today. But, can we send the same weight and envelope for that price today?

Let’s see, the proof coins in the 1956 flat package – a penny, nickel, silver dime, silver quarter and silver half dollar – weighed 29.36 grams or just over one ounce. For the USPS to carry a similar envelope today with the coins and the two pieces of protective card stock via first class mail, the starting cost would be $0.81 before any insurance costs are added. That’s almost a 50% increase (.81/.55) over the cost of mail in 1956.

Isn’t that interesting. Wouldn’t you think that the increased efficiencies of automation and other improvements over the years would decrease the costs? Looks like that is not the case.

Did you see on the address label above that the US Mint gave the Postmaster permission to open and inspect the contents? Think about that time-frame – 1956. People were more trustworthy in those days. In the rare instance that a package was opened, in all likelihood it was by a postal official for mail purposes.

On a different note, the gentleman who ordered this proof set from the US Mint in Philadelphia is probably no longer with us today. But, just imagine him at his home in Nashville, Tennessee eagerly waiting to receive his new proof set to add to his collection. Just think of the excitement and thrill he had when he opened the envelope with the US Mint’s return address to see the shiny proof coins of silver, nickel and copper in their cellophane container.

Coins with their history and the history associated with their images are certainly interesting. But, it can be fun to look at the history associated with the peripherals (the packages and receipts)  and imagine the original collector as well.