Proof Coins vs. Uncirculated Coins
Let’s delve more deeply into the specific differences between proof and uncirculated coins. Proof coins and Uncirculated coins are both popular among Precious Metal investors and collectors, but for different reasons. Proofs are almost always going to command a higher premium than an Uncirculated coin, but they also offer better presentation, quality and lower populations.
Uncirculated coins are generally the best way to invest in Gold and Silver at a modest price point. The price of these coins is a reflection of the value of their Silver content. With Proof coins, and especially Silver Proofs, much of the cost will be due to markups. If you wish to invest on purpose to grow your money with the long-term rise in the price of Gold and Silver, buying raw coins is your wisest course of action.
Purpose and Utility
The biggest asset of Proof coins lies in their collectability. These coins generally enjoy an exceptionally high-quality presentation. Where raw coins are kept loosely in sleeves or tubes, Proofs are usually encased for protection and may even be presented in a case, folder or commemorative box. Aside from a certificate of authenticity, Proof coins also exceptionally well suited for display. While any new coin will have luster, the mirror-finish of twice-struck Proof coins give them an increased shine and an allure all their own.
Proof coins are traditionally given as gifts or purchased as special keepsakes. Many Proof coin buyers will present coins for birthdays and special events, or to build an annual collection. Since they enjoy such high quality, Gold and Silver Proof coins are sought-after collectibles on the coin market. While Proof coins do cost more than Uncirculated coins, the premium they command is not so high as to be prohibitively expensive. Gold and Silver Proof coins offer a sound balance of investment and collectibility.
Visual Appearance and Production
Regular coins are struck once, and a single clean strike looks a clear and complete. One strike is certainly adequate. Proof coins, though, are struck twice. The difference is that the coin art becomes crisper and more defined. Intricacies are brought out and the mirror finish unique to Proof coins is created. The attractive allure of Proof coins is one of the primary reasons they are so popular.
Mintages and Scarcity
Taking the American Silver Eagle as our example, Proofs are usually produced in quantities roughly 5-20% of that of their Uncirculated counterparts. Since raw coins tend to be the primary medium for investors, bulk sales of Proof coins are less common.
Value of A Proof Coin
Excluding special varieties with great numismatic value, Proof coins are almost always more valuable than similar uncirculated, non-proof coin. The relative mark-up is larger for Silver Proof coins than it is in Gold Proof coins. Most Silver Proof coins will carry a premium that actually accounts for a sizable percentage of the overall cost. With Gold, though, the added expense in Proof editions is minimal when compared to the total cost of the Precious Metal.