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Coins - 1974 Mint Set

For the second year in a row, the US Mint included thirteen coins in the 1974 mint set with six in the Denver pliofilm and seven in the Philadelphia and San Francisco sleeve.   

The mint set included two dollar, half dollar, quarter and dime cupronickel clad coins, two nickels and three one cent coins.  In addition to being in the standard mint set, the Eisenhower dollars were minted in 40% silver and packaged in single coin sets for the last of four years in 1974.

Other than a smaller typeset, the US Mint packaged the 1974 mint set as they did the previous year using the plain white envelope with "US MINT" and "1974 Uncirculated Coin" in the upper left corner. The heavier paper introduced the previous year for the outer envelope means the packaging lasts better through the years.

1974 Mint Set Package

1974 Mint Set 

Two pieces of cardstock help protect the thirteen coins in the 1974 mint set. The two pliofilm sleeves are placed between the cardstock inside the envelope.

1974 Mint Set open 

1974 Mint Set Uncirculated Coins

The red-edged pliofilm sleeve holds six coins from the Denver mint. The blue-edged sleeve contains six coins from the Philadelphia mint and a one cent coin from the San Francisco mint.

1974 Mint Set obverse

The US Mint's processes seal the coins in their own compartment to keep them from hitting each other. But, the coins can move freely and rotate into different positions.

The coins' six different reverse designs are seen clearly through the opposite side of the pliofilm sleeves.

1974 Mint Set reverse

With the thirteen coins, the US Mint chose not to include an identifying token as they had in the mint sets from earlier years.  

1974 Mint Set Coins and Metals

The coins of the 1974 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.

1974 Mint Set Year - News about Coins and the US Mint

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

Mint Selects 12 Designs For Bicentennial Coins
The Palm Beach Post - Feb 6, 1974
Included in the 12 semi-finalist designs are a Revolutionary War soldier, a moon buggy and a Liberty Bell. Three final designs will be chosen for the reverse of the quarter, half dollar and dollar to celebrate the nation's 200th anniversary of independence. As many as 45 million of the silver-clad bicentennial coins will be minted.

Aluminum penny proposal dropped
Bangor Daily News - Apr 15, 1974
The vending machine industry lobbied hard to stop any approval for minting aluminum pennies. They claimed the pennies would not eject properly from many of the existing machines causing owners and users many problems. People still hoard the penny, and though the mint is producing 35 million pennies per day, the need calls for 40 million per day. In the meantime, the mint experiments with a 70% copper and 30% zinc alloy.

Penny pinchers squeeze the US Mint 
The Deseret News - Apr 16, 1974
In the last 15 years, 22 billion pennies have disappeared from circulation. In the first three months of 1974, the banking system ordered two billion more pennies, more than twice the amount as in 1973. Worried that people will attempt to melt the pennies, the Treasury Secretary signed regulations prohibiting the export or the melting of pennies for their copper content. The Director of the Mint cautions do-it-yourselfers that copper requires a very high heat for smelting plus a process to separate the 95% copper from the 5% zinc.

US Mint Sets Drive For Pennies
The Robesonian - May 17, 1974
Some supermarket chains have requested permission to use paper scrip in place of pennies at their stores. Last month, the US Mint began rationing pennies to banks due to the shortage. Plus, they plan a nationwide get-out-the-penny campaign to ease the shortage that gets worse daily.

Silver Coin Swindle
Anchorage Daily News - May 19, 1974
People have been speculating on bags of silver coins minted in 1964 and earlier as "investment opportunities." But, some outfits offer to hold the coins and allow the purchaser to place a 25% down payment and pay the rest at some agreed upon interest rate. But, authorities advise caution. Unless you have the coins in hand, you may be paying for non-existent bags of silver coinage. Plus, the additional charges to the seller to store the bags begins to negate any potential investment growth.

Paper Pennies Replace Copper Kind As Shortage Grows Worse 
Sarasota Herald-Tribune - May 25, 1974
Sears and Roebuck gives one cent stamps for penny change. Other stores have giveaways to entice people to bring pennies to their store, while some give substitute paper pennies in change.  Other stores resort to changing prices such that pennies are not required for change. Starting June 1, 1974, the US Mint offers an Exceptional Public Service certificate to anyone bringing $25 in pennies to a bank.

Penny shortage is real but also laughable
Reading Eagle - May 28, 1974
The US Mint admitted they may have triggered some of the hoarding when they announced their proposal for aluminum pennies. But, if people continue to think their copper pennies will be worth more than one cent in the relatively near future, they will continue to hoard them. The easiest solution is to change prices to minimize the need for the penny in change.

Bank seeking pennies 
St. Petersburg Times - Jun 8, 1974
Local bank officials joined the Director of the Mint in asking for pennies. The increased penny production wastes natural resources and taxpayer dollars. Per the Director, one billion pennies turned in would save taxpayers $10 million. If 15 billion pennies were turned in, taxpayer would save $150 million while the mint would not need to produce the pennies for two years.

Mint Withholds Pennies To Foil Speculators
Toledo Blade - Jun 14, 1974
Speculators have offered $475 for $50 in pennies with the "S" mint mark for the coins minted in San Francisco. Furious, the Director of the Mint plans to continue minting the coins in San Francisco but withhold them from circulation. In addition, the mint may decide not to make any 1975 pennies for circulation at the San Francisco mint. The Treasury Department approved paper scrip for amounts up to four cents in change.

Penny-wise Orlando merchants go pound-foolish with round-up
St. Petersburg Times - Jun 22, 1974
Orlando merchants in an effort to help with penny shortage are offering $1.25 for every 100 pennies turned in for circulation. After throwing pennies in jars over several years, some citizens have between 50,000 to 100,000 pennies. One gentleman expects to turn in $1000 of pennies in several gallon containers. They plan to cut open the containers because it would take too long to jiggle the coins out of the narrow opening. One jug holds between $50 and $60 in pennies. Local banks are providing the 8000 coins per minute counter along with volunteers to help with the merchants' efforts.

Breath-taking sight proves gold's there
The Free Lance-Star - Sep 24, 1974
Last July, a House representative questioned the Treasury Secretary about reports that the gold vaults at Fort Knox were empty. A rare inspection was arranged so the Mint could remove the fears about the nation's gold. Inside, 36,236 gold bars greeted the small contingent of Congressmen and newsmen. It was the first time since the vault was built in 1936 that "unauthorized personnel" were permitted in the vault. President Roosevelt saw the gold in 1943, but even he needed permission.

The 1974 Mint Set Year included news of the continuing penny shortage, rejection of the aluminum penny and a verification of the gold stored at Fort Knox. 

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