Yo, Rob --
Proof coins are beautiful. Look at this picture of a US proof quarter. The devices are frosty and the fields are like mirrors. Coining technology has come a long way. These 'cameo' proof coins have been produced exclusively for collectors since about 1970. Before that, proof coins were nice, but they did not have the frost-on-mirror 'cameo' appearance.
Proof coins are made exclusively for collectors. There are also Mint Sets. These are sets of uncirculated business strike coins, not proof coins.
Values of proof and mint sets are another thing. They are not so pretty. The Royal Canadian Mint, like the US Mint and other countries, produce these works of art to make money. And make money they do. They package them in fancy velvet boxes and pepper them with 'certificates of authenticity' and other fluff. Then they set the prices sky high and people buy them like hotcakes! They are lovely collectibles and they make wonderful gifts, but don't expect to make a lot money on them.
With modern proof sets like Rob's, there are two markets. The primary market is when people buy them directly from government sources. The secondary market is when people buy them from coin dealers and other non-government sources. If a proof set sells for $100 on the primary market, it usually sells for $30 on the secondary market. Do you get the picture? If you bought your proof set from a government source, its value is about one-third of what you paid for it.
Once in a while people get lucky and the secondary market is stronger than the primary market. In these cases people who buy sets from the government actually make money because they can sell them on the secondary market at higher prices than they paid. This hardly ever happens, but when it does it is usually because the issuing government has artificially restricted supply. The law of supply and demand takes over and prices rise. CoinQuest has decided not to follow such fluctuations because they are artificial. Check eBay or similar sites to get an idea of the secondary market for your proof set. Values usually range from a few dollars to a few 10s of dollars.
Some sets are particularly valuable. Here are the dates and approximate catalog values in US dollars of sets known to be particularly valuable. To be valuable, all coins must be in perfect condition and the packaging must be fully intact. Fully intact packaging means no cracks, holes, dents, breaks, discolorations, scrapes, scratches, and completely sealed.
VALUABLE PROOF SETS:
2012 silver: $150
2009 Lincoln chronicle: $115
2008 American legacy set: $95 (other 2008 sets low value)
1999 silver set: $200 (other 1999 sets low value)
1996 prestige set: $230 (other 1996 sets low value)
1952, 1953: $200
1950, 1951: $500
1938 to 1942: $1000
VALUABLE MINT SETS:
2007 to 2012: $25
1976 3 piece: $17
1959 to 1964: $45
1954 to 1958: $150
1948 to 1952: $600
SUMMARY: Proof and mint sets make great collectibles and great gifts, especially for budding coin collectors, but do not expect these sets to become highly valuable over they years. Generally, they stay at low value.