Skip to main content

Nothing less than perfection

Collectors have always wanted to own the best quality coins that they can afford. This preference has been felt strongly in prices of top-grade coins, especially for coins that were not saved in any large numbers.

Naturally, collectors want to get the best money can buy with new issues, but an e-mail comment to me on this topic makes me wonder how the reader ever arrived at his conclusion.

See what you think below:

“My understanding of proof coins struck at the Mint are of the highest grade possible. Looking at them with a high-powered magnifier I would agree. However, when I sent 10 of these proofs (American Eagles) to the grading company, in their original casing, never opened or touched by any hands, they all came back graded lower than a perfect 70.

“I appreciate that a percentage may escape the eyes of (the Mint’s) proofers and have minor marks that would reduce their grade, but 10 out of 10 does not speak well for the Mint. If this is what the Mint accepts as perfect, then I will have to reconsider whether I will continue to purchase imperfect coins from them.

“I am a regular buyer of coins from the U.S. Mint.”

How did a regular buyer of proof coins from the Mint ever arrive at the conclusion that all or most of the coins struck would grade Proof-70? Also, he didn’t mention whether any were graded -68 or -69.

His is such an unexpected statement that it almost seems cruel to want to remind the writer that proof grades range from 60 to 70 precisely because there is variation in the manufacturing process and, of course, over the years, bad things can happen to good coins.

I can even remember those apparently more innocent times when hobbyists debated among themselves whether the 70 grade would ever be used, because what coin could possibly be perfect?

Ah, but I guess I am giving away my age with that statement.

  • Subscribe to the NumisMaster Coin Price Guide for access to the web’s most comprehensive list of coin values
  • Join the NumisMaster VIP Program for free subscriptions, store discounts, and more!
  • Buy and sell coins, currency, and more in our online classifieds