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What does FS Mean in Coins? 

The letters FS have several meanings in the numismatic realm. We have covered Full Steps in an Answer on strike characters and this Answer will focus on the First Strike label. Multiple mint releases can make tracking the first coins of an issue difficult. The First Strike label on PCGS-graded coins provides clarity among these releases. 

What are First Strike Coins? 

First Strike is the designation used by Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) to designate coins struck in the first 30 days of an issue. PCGS requires coins to be received within 30 days of the first day of shipping or documentation that a coin was shipped within 30 days of production for the First Strike label. 

These first coins are struck by a new die, which is said to impart sharper details and a greater overall strike because of the die’s early age. PCGS is one of the two authoritative and most respected third-party grading services and has utilized the First Strike label since 1986.  

Are All First Strike Coins MS-70? 

First Strike coins often receive MS-69 and MS-70 grades due to the young die used to mint them. The first coins bearing a First Strike label were 1986 Silver American Eagles.  

Today, PCGS keeps a First Strike cutoff date list organized by year. Collectors interested in submitting coins for grading can also find labels and designations allowed for crossover grading among coin grading organizations.  

Are First Strike Coins Valuable? 

Value is largely dependent on market demand, and many collectors vie for the first coins released in a series, so it makes sense that First Strike coins are valuable.  

Since they are typically graded MS-69 to MS-70, First Strike coins may also command a higher premium than their circulation strike counterparts because of their provenance and sharp details.  

Is There a Difference Between First Strike and Early Release Coins? 

While the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC) used the term First Strike from 2005 to 2006, the label was replaced with the Early Release label in 2006. NGC and PCGS both use the First Day of Issue designation, which refers to the day on which a coin was purchased. 

There are some minor but distinct differences between First Strike coins and Early Release coins. 

Label First Strike Early Release 
Definition First coins struck on a new die in its first month of production. Coins shipped within one month of an issue’s release. 
Grading Organization Professional Coin Grading Services Numismatic Guarantee Corporation 
Certification Indicated by “FirstStrike” on encapsulation. Indicated by “Early Release” on encapsulation. 
Grade MS-69/MS-70 Various Grades 

Does FS Have Other Meanings in Coins? 

FS can also refer to Full Steps when the designation is used for Jefferson nickels. Full Steps refers to Jefferson nickels that have fully defined steps on Monticello on the reverse.  

FS may also refer to coins identified by the Fivaz-Stanton numbering system, which is employed to describe and identify die varieties like doubled dies, repunched mint marks, and other unique coins.  

Coins cataloged by the Fivaz-Stanton numbering system will typically be listed with their FS number preceded by FS-. 

Quick Guides to Investing

Step 1:

Why Buy Physical Gold and Silver?

If you are concerned about the volatility of the stock market, you’re not alone. The extreme highs and lows of the stock market often lead investors towards safe-haven assets, like bullion. Historically, the Precious Metals market has an inverse relationship with the stock market, meaning that when stocks are up, bullion is down and vice versa.

Step 2:

How Much Gold and Silver Should You Have?

This question is one of the most important for investors to answer. After all, experts suggest limits on how much of any types of investments should go into a portfolio. After deciding to purchase and own Precious Metals and considering how much money to allocate, one can then think about how much and what to buy at any point in time.

Step 3:

Which Precious Metals Should I Buy?

With the frequent changes in the market and countless Precious Metal products available, choosing investments can be difficult. Some want Gold or Silver coins, rounds or bars while others want products that are valuable because of their design, mintage or other collectible qualities. Also, collectors may shop for unique sets and individual pieces for their collections.

Step 4:

When to Buy Gold & Silver

After considering why, how much, and what Precious Metals products to buy, an investor’s next step is when to buy them. This decision requires an understanding of market trends and the impact of economic factors on precious metal prices.

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