Mint Set Envelopes

By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez, Editor


I love collecting mint sets. Like many other hobbyists, I built a complete run of uncirculated sets ranging from 1959 through the present. In building this large collection of uncirculated sets, I’ve gained some knowledge on the variety of mint set packaging formats over the years. Maybe my interests in collecting mint sets with their original packaging stem somewhat from one of my other pastimes: my love of vintage theme park maps and brochures – ephemera as we paper-loving hobbyists call such paper collectibles.


Pre-2007 uncirculated mint sets were originally packaged in paper envelopes, and as I learned when building my mint set collection finding complete uncirculated sets with clean envelopes can actually be a challenge – especially in the case of the pre-1970s mint sets. In many cases, mint sets from the 1960s, and especially those from before 1965, are often encountered with envelopes in horrendous shape. From post-Mint writing and postage stamps to stains and tears, these early mint set envelopes are difficult to find in good, clean condition. That is, of course, of the mint set even comes with the envelope at all. 


And, because my mint set collecting goals include finding sets in complete, original condition with all packaging, I wasn’t just looking for “any” mint sets – I wanted those in nearly perfect shape. In my pursuit of these “complete” mint sets, I noticed something unusual. Some early mint sets advertised with “original” packaging looked off. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. 


But then, it struck me – some of those mint sets with “original envelopes” didn’t have their original envelopes at all. They were being sold in new, aftermarket envelopes that were designed to resemble the original government-issued envelopes. I didn’t realize this was even a “thing” until I dug deeper and found distributors on eBay selling bulk packages of envelopes for mint