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Proof Coins in Detail

January 6th, 2012 Coins

When collecting coins, you'll find yourself coming across two terms somewhat frequently - Business Strike and Proof Coin. Business Strikes are simply coins that are produced for circulation among the public. Proof Coins, according to CoinWeek, are made especially for collectors.

It's generally held that they have been produced by the U.S. Mint since the early 1800s, occasionally going by the names Master Coin or Pattern. It should be noted that early Proof coins weren't always as easy to distinguish from Business Strikes as they are now - these days Proofs frequently have glossy, mirror-like surfaces. However, they are also among the most valuable items for new and veteran numismatists alike. According to the source, a Three-Dollar Gold coin from 1855 was recently valued at more than $1.3 million.

Throughout the decades, several Morgan Dollars were struck as Proof coins for special occasions and today frequently sell for handsome six-figure sums. Because they're somewhat difficult to track down, it's not a bad idea to keep your eye out for any earlier Morgan Dollars. You may stumble upon a previously-unknown issue and find yourself in possession of a real treasure!

Because the differences of these coins can be very subtle, you may want to seek out a professional evaluator to look into your Morgan Dollar. Many numismatists have looked at countless pieces and have a decent idea of the differences between Business Strike and Proof. They can see small difference between pieces that only the keenest eye would notice. The Smithsonian has an extensive collection of Proof Coins, so it's frequently used as a reference when looking at what collectors bring in.