I previously posted about the 1997 FDR Memorial Half Eagle here: 1997 FDR Memorial Half Eagle. Here I will discuss the limited edition FDR Coin and Stamp Set.
In the 35-year history of the modern US commemorative series, the US Mint has produced quite a number of special packaging options for the coins it has issued. While almost all of these have been for either a CuNi clad 50-cent piece or silver dollar, the Mint has also produced a small number of specialty sets for the commemorative gold coins it has struck.Read More: Commems Collection
The first was the 1995 three-piece Civil War Battlefields set that came in a replica Civil War era photo case ("Union Case"). Another example is the 1997 Jackie Robinson "Legacy Set" which featured a proof version of the Robinson coin plus a specially-produced Robinson baseball card (an enhanced replica of a card originally issued by ToppsŪ in 1952) and a pin and patch with the Jackie Robinson 50th anniversary logo. (Robinson broke the Major League Baseball (MLB) color barrier in 1947, and in 1997 MLB players wore the anniversary patch on their game uniforms.) The special Civil War set saw sales of 18,649 units; the Jackie Robinson set had sales of 10,271 units. Both remain popular sets among modern US commemorative collectors.
A much lesser-known special set is the 1997 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Coin and Stamp Set. The Set features a proof version of the $5.00 gold coin along with four vintage US postage stamps that were issued soon after FDR's death on April 12, 1945.
The coin and stamps are housed in a black leather portfolio. The top flap features a hole at its center into which the gold $5.00 coin is placed; the hole enables each side of the coin to remain visible when inserted. The outward facing panel of the flap features FDR's signature in gold below the coin. The top inside panel features a brief story about Roosevelt and his connection to coin and stamp collecting. (See images below.)
The interior panel of the bottom flap houses the set's four FDR-themed stamps. They are:
- Scott 930 - 1 cent / Hyde Park Residence / First Day of Issue: July 26, 1945
- Scott 931 - 2 cents / Little White House / FDI: August 24, 1945
- Scott 932 - 3 cents / The White House / FDI: June 27, 1945
- Scott 933 - 5 cents / Four Freedoms / FDI: January 30, 1946
The same four stamps were included in the FDR Coin & Chronicles set released by the US Mint in 2014 - a much less expensive way to acquire a Roosevelt "coin and stamp set."
The outer back panel features the US Treasury Department Seal along with a US Mint tag line in gold.
The set includes a Certificate of Authenticity (COA), but it does not feature any specific discussion of the set. For example, the COA makes no reference to the included stamps; it appears to be a general COA for the proof version of the coin. The set includes a black cardboard box with a textured faux leather finish to house the portfolio.
The set originally sold for $295.00. The portfolio with the stamps was also available without the coin (for collectors who had previously purchased the half eagle); without the coin, the set sold for $70.00. Neither option was a "hit" with collectors, however, as just 384 of the "coin included" sets and 282 of the "no coin" portfolios were sold. These sales figures make the FDR Coin and Stamp Set the scarcest of all the Mint's modern commemorative special packaging options.
If you seek out one of the sets for your collection, be aware that sets with an uncirculated version of the coin likely started out as an empty portfolio with the coin added later (it's always possible, however, that such sets originally included the proof half eagle coin but that it was swapped out for an uncirculated version). Sets without the COA, even if including a proof coin, are also likely to be sets assembled in the secondary market.
I believe the set is a very meaningful way to honor the legacy of FDR and to recall his fondness for stamp and coin collecting. I'm very happy to have an example of this modern commemorative set in my collection. 1997 FDR Memorial - Coin and Stamp Set: Outer Front Panel1997 FDR Memorial - Coin and Stamp Set: Interior Top Panel1997 FDR Memorial - Coin and Stamp Set: Interior Bottom Panel1997 FDR Memorial - Coin and Stamp Set: Outer Back Panel