Anyone browsing coin dealers has come upon the terms mint state coins and proof coins, but not many may know the differences between these two. Here we’ll explain the difference between mint state and proof coins, covering critical aspects like price and much more. Read on for answers on your best investment option, the best choices for you, and the difference between mint state and proof coins.
Table of Contents
How Are Coins Made?
Precious metal coins are made in professional manufacturing facilities known as mints, as the coin production process is called minting. The coins are struck between a pair of dies that hold the opposite designs of the coin – one die is for the obverse and the other for the reverse.
The machine that strikes the coins is called a coining press, and the blank piece of precious metal is called a planchet. For collectible and high-value coins, the planchet is hand-fed in the coining press, and the coin is struck anywhere from two to five times to ensure all the images and details of the die will transfer on the coin.
How Does Coin Grading Determine a Coin’s Value?
No coin comes from production as a mint coin, as this is a description used for coins that are graded against a grading scale like the Sheldon Scale, the world’s most commonly used grading scale. The Sheldon Scale was introduced in 1948 by famous US numismatist Dr. William Sheldon; according to the scaled grading, which goes from 1 to 70, a mint state coin has the highest grade of MS 70. It means that a Mint State coin is worth 70 times more than a coin with a grade of 1.
Mint State Coin: What Is It?
To be considered Mint State, a coin shows no imperfections or post-production flaws even at 5x magnification. To be considered Mint State, a coin should receive a score of at least 60 on the Sheldon Scale and can have some slight imperfections that don’t affect the coin’s value or beauty.
A mint-state coin can be made from various materials, not just precious metals, as the Mint State is the grade it receives from a coin grading service. Still, the Mint State coins made from precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium usually fetch two to three times the cost of a lower-grade coin.
Proof Coin: What Is It?
A proof coin is related to the manufacturing process instead of the grading score, even though if graded, the proof coins also earn a Sheldon Scale score of 60 to 70. The proof coins are the highest-quality coins produced by a coin mint and usually meet these criteria:
- Are made from highly polished blanks/planchets
- Are hand-fed in the coining machine
- Are struck at least twice or up to five times with a highly-polished die to ensure a frosted-like relief against a gleaming mirror background
The US Mint has proof coin sets that include an example of each denomination of coins for circulation, and these are given to members of Congress, as gifts to VIPs, as a part of various exhibits, and are offered for sale via reputable coin dealers; coin collectors can add them to their collections.
Most other mints worldwide, like the Royal Canadian Mint, the Perth Mint, PAMP, and others, have premium specialty-proof coins in various precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.
Another vital aspect of proof coins is that they are made from highly refined precious metals like .9999 gold, .999 silver, 9995 platinum, or palladium. The proof coins have both investment and collector’s value, as they are made from a volume of precious physical metal and have an aesthetic, beautiful, and collectible value.
Mint Coins vs. Proof Coins vs. Uncirculated Coins vs. Circulated Coins
Circulated coins are the coins in circulation, and these are used as everyday money. Due to everyday handling, circulated coins show the wear and tear of everyday use; as people touch them with their fingers, coins fall to the ground and get other use marks on them.
On the other hand, uncirculated coins are not put in everyday circulation. While these may have the same face value, they are not intended for everyday circulation. The uncirculated coins come with a certificate for authenticity and can earn a Mint State grade, as these are not subjected to everyday wear and tear. Also, the uncirculated coins have other similarities with proof coins, as these are hand-fed into the coining machine and are struck two to five times.
The uncirculated and Mint State coins hold the highest interest for collectors and can reach a high price because of their pristine condition. Still, we must note that collectors covet many coins because of the errors made during the striking process, which are scarce and appealing.
The Bottom Line: Mint and Proof Coins are a Good Investment
We hope we covered all aspects of Mint State and proof coins, and to wrap up, we need to highlight that these are excellent investment opportunities. Of course, you will decide which ones are the best for you, as all coin collectors have different reasons for buying particular coins.
Please remember only to purchase coins from reputable precious metals dealers, as they sell numismatic, semi-numismatic, mint state, proof, and bullion coins. High-quality sellers provide third-party grading services and ensure you will get the best service and excellent products for your money.
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