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Discover Different Types of Coin Finishes, Designs and Grades

Where the novice sees only Gold and Silver, the expert numismatist sees a variety of coin finishes, designs and grades. 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.

APMEX’s educational resources will help you discover your preferences and develop the best strategy for growing your Precious Metals investment. In this series of articles, you will discover the variables that contribute to a coin’s value and distinction, including the following:

  • First strike
    • Coins distributed within the first 30 days of a mint's release may be certified First Strike or Early Releases, depending on the grading service.
  • Proof
    • Manufactured specifically for collectors, proof coins have a polished appearance with frosted fields and mirrored devices.
  • Reverse proof
    • Also manufactured specifically for collectors, reverse proof coins have a polished appearance with frosted devices and mirrored fields. These coins appear similar to a photograph negative, with black and white reversed.
  • Uncirculated coins, Brilliant Uncirculated (BU coins) and Gem Brilliant Uncirculated (Gem BU coins)
    • 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.
  • Antique, Ancient and Medieval
    • These coins can increase in value over time depending on their condition and rarity.
  • Rimless design
    • Like a small piece of artwork, the coin’s image does not appear to be confined to the coin’s edge.
  • Burnished
    • These uncirculated coins appear matte and less shiny due to the use of polished blanks.
  • High relief and ultra high relief
    • More three-dimensional than a standard coin, these coins elevate the level of detail that can be seen and felt on the image.
  • Tamper proof and tamper evident
    • Cutting-edge technology in the coin’s design and innovative packaging guard against counterfeiting, fraud and damage.
  • Coin grading, NGC coin grading and PCGS coin grading
    • A coin’s condition according to official grading standards helps determine its value.

APMEX provides thousands of options for maximizing the value of your Precious Metals investment. Learn more about the coins in APMEX’s extensive inventory before making your selection.

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