Proof Set, UNC, VIP and Collectors Pack

This article gives out the basics of Proof Sets, UNC, VVIP [Executive], VIP [Special] and Collectors Pack.

Beginning from 1964 over the period of years Indian Mints have released quite a few commemorative themes. The coins are available in various denomination that are in circulation and also quite a few coin denominations that are not in circulation. For example coins of value Rs 150, Rs 100, Rs 75, Rs 60, Rs 50, Rs 20 Coins etc. These coins are typically minted with Silver content and the cost of these coins are more than the face value. These coins are meant for collectors and not intended for general circulation. More often Mints across the world sell these directly in special packages. They are minted in limited quantity to meet the orders received. These are also called NCLT - Non - Circulating Legal Tender

Proof Sets:
The notion of issuing proof sets is very old and dates back to the early days as early as 18th Century; when coins where struck by hand. The then practise was to make a limited set of coins and show case the design to the King and other important members for approval of the design. The idea was 2 folded, one get the approval from King that he likes the design and two to flush out any minor changes, typos etc.

Once the approval was given, these were then minted in large scale for circulation. In very old times the Proof sets were given as a Gift to the King and his ministers.

Even today the tradition has continued. Mint on the release ceremony release the coins in special packages [see the next section]. Additionally it also invites the booking from collectors for Proof and UNC Sets. This is done more as to feed the hobby of coin collectibles and also a way to generate revenue for the Mints. The coins in the proof set are of extremely high finish [See the post on Minting coins] and often coated to avoid rusting or discolouration. In recent times from Indian coinage the Proof Sets are with Mirror Finish and with rough matt finish on the subject or field. These are hand struck with highest grade.

Today these can be ordered directly from the mint when they are announced for booking. Read the article on how to book coins from Mint for more details.

The packaging of this has changed over the years from initial cardboard box outside with a transparent plastic box inside. The coins themselves are fixed in a grove made out of dark plastic. Today this is changed by enclosing the coins in transparent Mylar sheets that is pasted between to card board sheets. Most popularly called the Blister Pack.

The package also gives out the cover design and the composition details of the coin. In some of the recent design, there is also a story given in both the languages to describe the event.

VVIP and VIP Set:
During the release ceremony the coins are released in special package. The VVIP also called as Executive sets are given to important dignitaries present during the release ceremony, typically of the rank of Cabinet . The VIP also called as Special set as the name indicates is given to other special dignitaries during the release ceremony. In older times a collector could not get these sets. Typically one would try to buy or get it as gift from the people who were present in the ceremony and add to these collection.

From 2010 the Mints started giving out the un-distributed VVIP and VIP sets to the general public from the Mint counters.

The package for the Proof set has also changed over period. All these sets come in Velvet Box. Typically these sets are packaged so that they can be displayed on table by the people who receive them.

It not necessary that for every commemorative there is a VIP set.

UNC Set:
The UNC Set as the name indicates is Uncirculated Coins Set. The finish on these is not a Mirror Finish. But still a very high grade finish. These are hand struck. The idea behind UNC is to allow collectors to collect coins that are not circulated, ie are in Mint condition. The price of the UNC is lesser that the Proof set by typically a factor of 25%. These are minted and sold directly by the Mint.

Collectors Pack:
During the 1990's to 2000's period, there was a demand from the coin collectors to have a normal coin in Uncirculated condition. The mints then came out with what is called as collectors pack. Its typically 2 coins of a single denomination coins arranged obverse and reverse so that once can see both the sides at the same time with out having to flip the coins. The pack gives out the historical importance of the event describing the details. The packaging is very ordinary as well as the strike of the coins. They were sold from Mint counter at a nominal price.

For a complete list of Proof Set, UNC, VIP and Collectors pack go to the download tab and download an excel giving out the details of the sets.

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