What is an unopened mint set? Well if your like I was, your thinking a mint set that has never been opened! Well I'm here to tell you how wrong I was so you don't make the same mistake.
First lets start off with the unopened statement that many use as a lure to get your bid. Well unopened in most cases simply means what the word itself means, unopened! That does not mean that it has never been opened or that it was ever closed or sealed in the first place. In my many years of collecting I have purchased too many mint sets to count, some direct from the mint and some aftermarket. I can testify that until recently I have never gotten a mint set directly from the mint that has had an unopened or sealed envelope. And even now they are not sealing envelopes, they are simply placing them in a sealed cardboard box. In the many times that I have directly asked the question to the mint, "Has the mint ever sealed a mint set envelope", not one associate of the US Mint has any knowledge of a mint set envelope ever being sealed as it left the mint. So based on my personal experience and the answers to the question directly from the mint I'd have to say any mint set that is being sold as unopened envelope or sealed envelope, had to of been sealed after it left the mint.
Now to the question Why are these set being sealed and sold that way. Well I think its pretty obvious if you read all the ads. If a set is unopened everyone will think there is a chance of getting a gem coin or a rare error coin, therefor the price of the unopened set skyrockets. Well I have to apologize to anyone who is selling these sets in thin fashion because anyone reading this may not be apt to bid as high or to bid at all for that matter. But then again why should I apologize, chances are the people selling theses are the individuals who sealed the sets. To tell the honest truth any mint set I've ever purchased as unopened or sealed, has been in worse condition than an opened set.
Now you ask why do I buy unopened sets? Well the sad story is that sometimes with all the fraud going on and aftermarket envelopes available to re-seal these sets, sometimes thats all that is available. Sad is'nt it!!! Sometimes you need a set and all you can find is some picked over, moisture, light and heat exposed piece of garbage, and you really don't know just how bad it will be until you make the purchase and open it. But rest assured I'm am not going to over bid on an unopened or sealed mint set any more.
I am glad that the mint has started using the boxes, but being the investagator that I am, I'm sad to say that there is also a way to open those nice little boxes and re-seal them without leaving to much of a trail. The bottom line is when and if you purchase an unopened or sealed mint set the best you can hope for is to receive a set that is not severly damaged or altered in any way. Personally I'd much rather buy a nice well preserved set that can be viewed before purchase and any defects disclosed.
Thanks for reading, hope this was more helpful!!!