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Possible proof: 1969-S nickel


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While I was taking an inventory of my collection, I stumbled across a '69-S nickel that I had previously saved on account of its outstanding condition and strong strike. However, when I held this coin in my hand again, I couldn't help but notice that the fields of the coin looked smoother than normal, and spots near the rim seemed almost reflective. After thinking it over and comparing it to a known proof (89-S), I think there is a good chance this one is a proof as well.


Here are several photos, comparing it to a well-circulated known proof (89-S) and a known non-proof of the same date and comparable condition. The coin in question is in the middle.






Here are some photos of the side, since the proofs that I have found in the past tend to be thicker than business strikes.


Possible proof (right) and '69-D (left)



Possible proof (right) and known '89 proof (left)



This coin has obviously seen a moderate amount of handling, which makes it difficult to properly diagnose. The smoothness of the fields and the thickness of the coin certainly indicate that this is a proof, although the lack of detail on the reverse seems atypical--proofs generally have (nearly) perfect strikes, but this coin does not have all six full steps. This may be due to wear, however.



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Proofs sometimes appear thicker because the enhanced striking and clean dies cause the rim to raise a bit more than in normal circulation strikes. I suggest you compare it against a known 69S proof. By 89S the main design had been reworked at least three or four times so comparisons are difficult.

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I have found a '69-S proof in doing nickel searches, the earliest circulated proof I have found so far. I have found several examples from the late 1980's on up to like 2006. I think the only denomination I have never found a circulated proof of is the dime. Halves are pretty common, as are the mint set and bag only late date halves.


Like yours it has very similar diagnostics with sharp rims, thicker, and the mirror like finish on the fields.

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