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I subscribe with the US Mint to purchase annual Silver Mint sets and America the Beautiful 5oz Uncirculated Quaters for my grandchildren.  I see these same coins separated from their original mint packaging sold separately by coin dealers.  I assume many of the coins are worth significantly more on their own than in the sets.  Am I correct?



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I would have to say you are incorrect in the assumption. 

There are a number of reasons a dealer might remove coins from their OGP (Original Government Packaging).  Rarely, a dealer may break apart sets to create rolls whose premiums may bring a greater profit than the individual sets would bring. Sometimes, there are leftovers from these roll creations, so the coins would be sold as individual pieces. 

There may also be a market for the dealer for particular pieces being sought for collectors that collect one series, but not another that are packaged together in these sets.  So, a number of sets could be broken apart to meet such a demand, while again, the leftovers are sold separately for those who may collect these other series.

The most likely reason, however, is probably the dealer buys a number of sets to try to find "superb" examples to send to a TPG (Third Party Grader) in hopes of obtaining a top grade for the coin.  Such coins would sell for premiums far beyond the cost of the sets.  The leftovers would then, again, be sold individually raw for those who may be seeking such coins for their collections.

The individually removed coins would be significantly worth more only if they are of superb quality.  In such case, I would believe that the dealer would have already done what I previously suggested with a TPG for his own profit.  The individual coins you see at the dealers may only be "gem" quality (that is to say mid-grade quality) which would not necessarily command any significant premium value over the mint's retail cost.

If you are purchasing these for a keepsake for your posterity, I would personally continue with the mint subscriptions.  If you are hoping that these coins will one day provide some value addition to their inheritance, then I would need to inform you that these modern coins are not a very good investment (even for their silver content).  Coins are a high risk investment, and true investment quality rarities are rarely found in modern coin offerings.

I hope this helps you, and welcome to the forum.  If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

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Thank you for your thoughtful answer.  I suppose I could possibly have a "superb" quality coin or coins somewhere in these sets, but I would not know how to identify it.  With time, maybe even I could learn to recognize the difference.  

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It does take some time and experience to be able to recognize the differences in grade (where I used the generic terms "superb" and "gem").  With the proof and uncirculated sets you can purchase from the mint, there are 11 possible numeric grades from 60-70.  There are a number of books out there that explain grading and try to show how to do so.

Learning to recognize the differences does require that you look at a number of different examples in hand.  Yet, even the average person is more than capable ot learning to do so!  If you are interested in learning this, there are a number of books that would be useful:

  • Official Guide To Coin Grading And Counterfeit Detection by PCGS
  • Photograde: Official Photographic Grading Guide for United States Coins by James F. Ruddy
  • Grading Coins By Photographs: An Action Guide For The Collector And Investor by Q. David Bowers
  • The Official ANA Grading Standards For United States Coins by Kenneth Bressett

You can also get apps for your android device (for free) like PCGS Photograde.

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