A proof coin is a coin struck using a special, high-quality minting process. These coins were historically produced for checking the production dies and for archival purposes, however nowadays these higher quality coins are often produced in greater numbers especially for coin collectors / numismatists.
Proof production usually involves polishing of the production dies and often uses chemicals to make certain parts of the design take a matt appearance, with the polished fields displaying a mirror finish. They can often be distinguished from bullion coins by their sharper rims and more defined design. An easy way to understand the different look between proof and bullion is to imagine the enhanced sharpness an HD television offers over standard definition.
Proof coins are sometimes sold in encapsulated tamper-proof plastic casing straight from the mint. The casing maintains their pristine condition, and integrity. Others may simply be presented in a wooden presentation box.
These coins are often produced in limited issue, often adding to their collectable appeal. Commonly proof coins will come in a set of several proof coins, perhaps including all fractional denominations of a certain coin. These sets are usually beautifully packaged and can make great presents.
The cost of proof coins is generally 10-25% higher than their bullion version, even though they have the same gold content and are of the same purity. When you come to sell a proof coin it is unlikely you will receive the full premium back, and for this reason these coins are not the best form of gold to purchase for investment purposes.
Originally, gold proof coins were intended as pre-production samples. Traditionally the mint would produce a small range of proof copies ready to be approved by the monarch- going some way to explain why they are produced to such a superior standard of finish. Several techniques are undertaken in order to achieve an appearance that is close to flawless, with the resulting proof coins then individually inspected and packaged.
As such these types of coins are perfect for the more sentimental collector. Those with a keen interest in the history of their investments often opt for gold proof coins.
Sold individually or in sets, proof coins are purchased for a variety of purposes. Whilst they are sometimes bought as an investment, those with a keen eye for profit are more likely to opt for bullion coins. On the other hand, coin sets are ideal as presents, keepsakes or historical artefacts. The exquisite detail of proof coins coupled with their aesthetic appeal have made them something of a must amongst numismatists.
Gold Proof Coins
Experiencing a boom in collector popularity during the 1930s, minting methods have actually improved through the decades, resulting in superior proof finishes. Despite this it is not unusual to notice toning, spotting or discolouration, however they will be free from signs of wear and tear, due to not having been in circulation.