The Difference Between Proof And Mint State Coins In Summary

By Jessica Drury


Differentiating between proof and mint state coins is not easy. This is because people mistaken these terms for a grading system. They however refer to the process followed in production. There are various factors used to determine the difference between proof and mint state coins also known as non-circulating coins.

Appearance is one of the factors. A proof has a shiny mirror-like finishing on its flat surface and a matte finishing on the raised parts. These are the finest type of coinages produced by the mint in terms of quality, detail and care. The non-circulating on the other hand have a frosty finish. The difference between these non-circulating and those that are in circulation is that they have enhancements such as cleaning after stamping unlike the circulating coins.

Another difference occurs in the process of manufacture. In manufacture of proofs, they are struck by use of a production process that is unique. Special dies which are polished are used to mark the blanks on the front and the back. They then get checked for blemishes and then struck several times and mostly slowly using the striking machine to achieve high level of detail. Handling is usually careful, mostly by use of gloved hands. They are then packaged in a special container to protect them from dirt and moisture. On the other hand, non-circulating are ordinary and no special processes are carried out during manufacture.

The amount engaged in the manufacture is another factor used in differentiating them. The non-circulating are manufactured in large amounts and then heaped to be transported and moved to banks. More than one mint makes the non-circulating. The proofs however are produced by just one or few select mints and are produced in small amounts.

Packaging is also varied. Proofs are housed in protective plastic cases while the non-circulating were until 2007 packaged in cellophane. The price they fetch is another factor used to differentiate them. Proofs require more time to manufacture and the cost of production is high. This makes them more expensive.

There are various reasons to purchase them. Proofs are bought as a way of investment or to preserve history or sometimes as a hobby. When the coins are produced in small numbers, they are rare and hence become more attractive to a probable collector. They can also serve as presents or in remembrance of a major event such as World War or the reign of a king or president.

Mint state coins are allowed to have blemishes arising probably due to the process of production. However proofs are perfect. The grading for the proof and non-circulating is also different. PR or PF is purposed to grade proofs with most of them having a grade value between PR 60 and PR 70. PR 70 is rare and almost nonexistent. MS is used to grade the non-circulating.

Coinages provide a history and heritage. Whether buying for investment or collecting, the most recent sets are available from the U. S Mints. The older ones can be purchased from dealers or collectors.




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