A proof is a coin that was struck for the purposes of presentation, exhibition, souvenir, or numismatics. The term “proof” refers to the method by which these coins were made, not the condition of the coin. Unlike regular-production Mint State coins which have a frosty luster and often minor imperfections due to handling during the minting process, a Proof coin can usually be distinguished by its sharpness of detail, high wire edge, and extremely brilliant, mirror like surface.
Proof coins typically have a limited mintage and their prices are determined by several factors, including mintage, rarity, condition, current market value, and the demand for gold and other precious metals.
Grading a coin is a way of determining its physical condition. Grades range from “poor”, or almost completely worn out, to “perfect uncirculated”, which is a coin with absolutely no wear and no flaws of any kind. Over 99.9% of all coins will fall somewhere between these two extremes.
Coins that have been properly stored since the day they were minted are called “uncirculated” or “mint state.” If a coin saw circulation for a short time but still looks nearly brand new, it is categorized as “about uncirculated.”
Even uncirculated coins can have different grades. These grades are dependent upon how carefully each coin was made, handled, and stored. For example, some uncirculated coins have heavy marks caused by contact with other coins during minting or storage. On the other hand, other uncirculated coins may be nearly free of such marks.
Coins in the best state of preservation will almost always have the greatest value.
|Prefix||Numerical Grade||Adjectival Description|
|MS||60-70||Mint State (Uncirculated)|
|AU||50, 53, 55, 58||About Uncirculated|
|XF||40, 45||Extremely Fine|
|VF||20, 25, 30, 35||Very Fine|
|VG||8, 10||Very Good|