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Can I get that in writing?

Have we gone too far in the numismatic hobby with certificates of authenticity and other paperwork that accompanies new coin issues?

I ask the question because of a phone call I had this week from a reader. He was a buyer of the 25th anniversary American Eagle set.

He complained that the paperwork did not tell him whether the “S” mintmarked uncirculated coin was burnished or not, nor whether the standard issue American Eagle bullion coin without the mintmark was burnished.

I have not seen an anniversary set and I certainly have no plans to buy one on the secondary market just to examine the paperwork.

However, I told the caller that the “S” mint coin was probably burnished because the “W” is and is described so on the Mint’s website as it is still being sold individually. The “S” coin is called uncirculated by the Mint, which is key because the Mint does not use that term as collectors do. It applies only to their special collector coins sold directly to collectors. These are burnished in the case of silver Eagles.

However, that is not explained in writing and the caller did not want to take my word for it.

As for the bullion coin, the caller was convinced that the coin he had was burnished because of how it looked. I told him that coins struck with new dies often look far better than later strikes.

My explanation didn’t cut it, either. It wasn’t explained in the paperwork.

So I called the Mint.

The Mint confirmed that the “S” mintmarked coin is struck on a burnished planchet and the standard bullion coin without a mintmark is not.

But, of course, this information still does not appear on the Mint paperwork.