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Coin Grades, Finishes, and Designs

Where the novice sees only gold and silver, the expert numismatist sees a variety of coin grades, finishes, and designs. In building your precious metals collection, try not to become overwhelmed by the options. Embrace them as an expression of your priorities and personal style.


Coins distributed within the first 30 days of a mint’s release may be certified FirstStrike or Early Releases, depending on the grading service.


Proof coins, known for their polished appearance, with frosted devices and mirrored fields, are manufactured specifically for collectors. These coins are produced in relatively low quantities and are considered more beautiful and more valuable than their standard counterparts.

Reverse Proof

Also manufactured specifically for collectors, reverse-proof coins have a polished appearance with frosted devices and mirrored fields. Reverse proof coins appear similar to a photograph negative, with black and white reversed.

Uncirculated coins, Brilliant Uncirculated, and Gem Brilliant Uncirculated

Regardless of their age, these coins have retained much of their original luster and design detail, as if they were recently struck. Uncirculated Morgan Silver Dollars and the 1971 Eisenhower Uncirculated Silver Dollar are especially popular among collectors.


The term antique is simply a loose generalization applied to old coins, namely coins that are more than 100 years old. This can be a useful starting point for anyone interested in trading and collecting coins of a different era.


Like a small piece of artwork, these coins have a smooth rim.


These uncirculated coins appear matte and less shiny due to the use of polished blanks.

High Relief and Ultra-High Relief

High relief coins are more three-dimensional than a standard coin. These coins cannot be easily stacked because their images extend above the outer edge. On ultra-high relief coins, the image rises even higher. These coins elevate the level of detail that can be seen and felt on the image.

Tamper Proof and Tamper Evident

The main objective of tamper-proof coins, tamper-evident packaging and tamper-evident seals is to guard against counterfeiting, fraud, and damage.

Coin Grade

A coin grade denotes a coin’s condition in minute increments. There are five components that determine the grade of a coin: strike, surface preservation, luster, coloration, and eye appeal.

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