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Coins - 1971 Proof Set


For 1971, the US Mint continued with the blue box containing a hard plastic lens to hold and protect the coins for the proof set. The upper flap of the proof set box includes script lettering with "United States Proof Set • 1971" to identify the set.

1971 Proof Set Package

1971 Proof Set 

Due to an error in making the dies, some rare 1971 proof sets do not include the "S" mint mark on the nickel. Other less rare varieties exist with doubling on the cent's lettering and date and on the half dollar's obverse "TRUST."

The 1971 Proof Set dimensions are roughly 3 1/2 by 5 3/8 by 3/8 inches for the outer blue box. The back of the box does not contain any additional identifying information.

1971 Proof Set back

The box opens by sliding the flap from under the written section and the lens slides into the box from the bottom.

1971 Proof Set contents

The lens consists of two pieces of hard plastic forming a sandwich around a black insert. The insert immobilizes the coins to prevent movement within the lens.

1971 Proof Set Contents and Proof Coins

On the obverse, the case holds the five coins attractively spaced. The plastic includes the heraldic eagle from the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States centered over the half dollar. The eagle holds arrows and olive branches in his talons and a shield covers his chest between his outspread wings. A similar version of this eagle is on the reverse of the Kennedy half dollar.

1971 Proof Set obverse

The reverse of the proof set shows off the eagle on the half dollar. In the upper left corner, the small print says, "PACKAGED BY THE US MINT."

In the middle, the script identifies, "United States Proof Set."

1971 Proof Set reverse

Half Dollar:

The 1971 half dollar continued with the John F. Kennedy image on the obverse and was the first year of the clad version of the coin (no silver). This coin was first introduced in 1964 after the assassination of President Kennedy. The words on the obverse include "LIBERTY" across the top and "IN GOD WE TRUST" across the bottom of the bust. The date follows the circle of the coin at the bottom. The coin's reverse shows the Presidential Coat of Arms from the Great Seal. "E PLURIBUS UNUM" flows on a banner between the eagles outspread wings, and the inscriptions "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "HALF DOLLAR" encircle the top and bottom of the coin's reverse image. The mint mark on the Kennedy half, 1968 and later, occurs on the obverse just above the middle of the date and to the right of the bust. The 1971 proof half dollar weighed 11.34 grams and consisted of outer layers of copper-nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel) around an inner core of pure copper.
Obverse Designer: Gilroy Roberts
Reverse Designer: Frank Gasparro

Quarter Dollar:

The 1971 quarter continued the version introduced in 1932. The obverse design included the portrait of George Washington and the words: "LIBERTY," "IN GOD WE TRUST" and the date. On the reverse, an eagle stands with wings outspread clutching a bunch of arrows in its talons with two olive sprays crossed beneath his tail feathers. The words on the reverse include: "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and "QUARTER DOLLAR." The 1971 quarter dollar contained a core of pure copper clad in a copper (75%) and nickel (25%) blend. Initially, the mint mark for the quarter was on the reverse, but starting in 1968, the mint mark moved to the obverse just to the right of Washington's hair at his neck.
Obverse Designer: John Flanagan
Reverse Designer: John Flanagan


The 1971 dime continued the image of President Franklin Roosevelt on the obverse. The words on the obverse include "LIBERTY," "IN GOD WE TRUST" and the year. The coin's reverse shows an olive branch, a torch and an oak branch with the words "E PLURIBUS UNUM" across them. The words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" flow around the top of the reverse with "ONE DIME" on the bottom. The metal content of the 1971 dime included a core of copper with outer layers of copper (75%) and nickel (25%) blended together.
Obverse Designer: John Sinnock
Reverse Designer: John Sinnock

Five Cents (Nickel):

The Jefferson nickel introduced in 1938 continued in the 1971 proof set. The words on the face of the coin say "IN GOD WE TRUST," "LIBERTY" and the year. The nickel's reverse shows Jefferson's historic home, Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia. "E PLURIBUS UNUM" fits above Monticello, and "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "MONTICELLO" and "FIVE CENTS" show below the home. In 1966, the designer's initials were added under Jefferson's neck. And in 1968, the mint mark moved to the obverse of the coin to the right of Jefferson's hair near the edge of the coin.
Obverse Designer: Felix Schlag
Reverse Designer: Felix Schlag

A rare few 1971 Proof Sets will have the no-S nickel:

1971 Proof Set with no-S nickel

But, be careful when buying a no-S 1971 proof set. Nickels in the 1971 mint set and in circulation existed without a mintmark. Someone could have opened the set and replaced the S-nickel with a non-proof no-S nickel. Just make sure the nickel is a true proof when buying the set.

Cent (Penny):

The Lincoln cent continued in 1971. The image shows Lincoln facing to the right in the portrait with his iconic beard, suit coat and tie. The motto, "IN GOD WE TRUST" was first introduced on coins with the Lincoln cent. The coin's obverse also includes "LIBERTY" and the date. The 1971 cent's reverse shows the Lincoln Memorial with the inscriptions saying "UNITED STATES oF AMERICA," "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and "ONE CENT."
Obverse Designer: Victor D. Brenner
Reverse Designer: Frank Gasparro

1971 Proof Set Year Population and Cost of Living

The world population in 1971 was 3,790,831,132. This represents 55.3% of the world's population in 2010.

$100 in 1971 equals $538.41 in 2010 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Inflation Calculator.

New houses in 1971 cost $28,300 which would be $152,370 today.

The average income was $6497 per year ($34,981 in today's dollars).

Gas was $.364 per gallon ($1.96 in today's money).

The average new car was $3,742 ($20,147).

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

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