In this post we are going to look at what is the difference between proof and mint state coins. Coin collecting, which is also known as ‘practicing the hobby of kings’ is one of the most popular hobbies worldwide. It is easy to see why!
Whenever we show our numismatic silver coins to other people, they always seem to be mesmerised by their beauty and they feel compelled to want to touch, feel and admire them lovingly! In fact – they want to own them too for themselves!
However, if you are relatively new to collecting solid silver numismatic coins, there are some things that are helpful for you to know. We have already discussed how numismatic coins are graded on a scale of 1 at the bottom end to a perfect 70 at the top end in an earlier post, so if you need a reminder – take a look here.
Within the grading system of 1 to 70, numismatic coins can also be what is known as mint state (MS1-MS70) or proof (PF1-PF70 or PR1-PR70). PF or PR stands for proof. But what is the difference between proof and mint state coins?
A proof numismatic coin tends to have a much higher standard of finish, contains a greater depth of sharpness, definition and detail. A proof numismatic coin also typically has a mirror like finish on the flattest surfaces of the coin and a contrasting matt finish on any raised element of the coins design.
Proof coins are made using specially polished and treated dies and are also normally double struck at slower speeds which helps them achieve a higher definition and precision of detail.
NGC which is widely regarded as being the most respected coin grading company in the world use a term called ‘Ultra Cameo’ to describe their proof coins. Ultra Cameo effectively refers to the significant contrast between the highly mirrored shine on the coin and the frosted or matt parts of the coins details.
What Is The Difference Between Proof And Mint State Coins? Video Example
Mint State (uncirculated) coins have not been in circulation. Mint state numismatic coins are typically issued for collectors which means they are normally more carefully produced and handled compared to ordinary coins that are mass produced for general circulation.
In summary – ultimately, mint state (MS) coins are produced in much higher volumes than proof coins. As collectors of numismatic coins will know, the lower the population of any given particular coin and grade of coin, the rarer that coin will be and therefore the more desirable it will become to a collector as rarity, grade and age generally dictate price.
Choosing to purchase MS69, MS70, PF69 or PF70 numismatic coins automatically helps to put you in a position where over time, (subject to market forces) the value of your coins can be driven significantly higher.
Hopefully we have now explained what is the difference between proof and mint state coins. If you have enjoyed this post and got some value from it – please like, comment and share.
Very useful info as always, Tris. The difference isn’t obvious and it’s always good to have a ‘font of knowledge – many thanks 🙂
I have read that some MS designations can be very subjective. Can a novice collector trust ANACS or NGC when the coins are graded MS 70 by these organizations?
Yes, Ngc, Pcgs and Anacs are all reputable coin graders. The only thing they have over the long haul is their reputation. They safeguard that very carefully.