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Vapor blasting creates a matte finish

Would a “vapor blast” process make the appearance of a coin frosted?

Since vapor blasting is similar to sand blasting but uses compressed wet vapor rather than dry compressed air, it leaves a matte finish.

I am aware that the U.S. Mint is using a laser finish. Is this what is used in the 2017 Enhanced Uncirculated sets?

According to the U.S. Mint website, “…enhanced Uncirculated finish uses a combination of laser frosted areas and an unpolished field that accentuates design details, creating a unique contrast distinctly different from the mirror-like finish of proof coins.” An earlier Mint statement about the 2013-W reverse proof and Enhanced Uncirculated two-coin set reads: “The horsehair brush automated process creates a reflective surface of artwork elements, but cannot achieve a smoothness of the felt pad. The felt pad cannot polish relief and is generally used to polish the field of a proof die, resulting in a mirror like finish. The auto polishing with a horsehair brush results in a Brilliant Uncirculated finish. The dies then go through a laser frosting process to achieve a heavy laser frost or a light laser frost in areas as described above.”


Can you explain the term “six-penny nail?”

This is a reference to the size of the nail; the larger the nail, the more it cost to purchase it. In England during the 15th century, this was the cost for 100 nails.


I collect Mint State coins in higher grades 68, 69, and 70, but finding pricing for these grades is almost impossible. Can you help me find a source for pricing?

There are coin pricing publications that may sporadically offer pricing of one or more of these grades. However, I would suggest combining your past experience with what dealers are listing these coins for online and in publications such as Numismatic News to determine a reasonable range in which to make your future acquisitions. Always remember that price guides are guides, not absolutes.


Why are some proof-like and Deep Mirror Proof-like (DMPL) Morgan dollars priced lower than comparable coins but without the PL designation?

While proof-like Morgan silver dollars have lots of surface flash, unless the coin is virtually abrasion-free, surface contact marks are magnified by the proof-like surface. For this reason, some collectors prefer coins without this mirror-like surface in the same grade.


E-mail inquiries only. Do not send letters in the mail. Send to Giedroyc@Bright.net. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions.


This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.


More Collecting Resources

• More than 600 issuing locations are represented in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800 .

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .

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