Guide to Proof Coins

Guide to Proof Coins


Are you new to the world of coin collecting? Do you want to add proof coins to your existing collection? No matter where you are in your coin journey, we know that investing in special coins like proof sets can be intimidating. Many people don’t understand what these coins really are and what makes them different. As a result, it can be challenging to determine the value and assess the risk involved in the investment.

Fortunately, you can educate yourself to make the best decisions for your collection. In fact, this introductory guide to proof coins can provide you with more information on everything you need to know, including:   

  • The Definition of a Proof Coin
  • How to Identify a Proof Coin
  • The Difference Between Proof and Uncirculated Coins
  • Popular Proof Coins for Sale
  • The Value of Proof Coin Sets


What Are Proof Coins?

The term proof is used to describe coins that are special early samples of a specific coin issue. Proof coins were first made to check the quality of a particular die before mass production of coins began. These proofs also served as historical artifacts for archiving purposes. In modern days, mints typically strike proof coins in much greater numbers. These sets are used for coin collecting and have become a special addition to many collections worldwide.


How to Tell if a Coin is a Proof?

For new numismatists, it can be difficult to spot a proof coin at first glance. While there is a significant difference between a proof coin vs. regular coins, it can be harder to differentiate them from other special coins. With a bit of practice, however, you’ll be able to identify a proof coin in no time. You’ll want to look for the following features:

  • A Well-Defined and Intricate Design
  • A Mirror-Like Background with Frosted Elements in the Foreground
  • Official Documentation to Certify Authenticity
  • A Protective Case

Proof vs. Uncirculated Coins

If you’re having trouble distinguishing a proof coin from an uncirculated coin, you’ll want to look for these differences:

  • Minting Process: Proof coins are struck twice to give their background a shine. Uncirculated are only struck once, but they can get a shine from cleaning and specialty blanks.
  • Qualities: Proof coins are in near-perfect condition with matte design elements. Uncirculated coins may have bag marks and are less shiny.
  • Value: Proof coins are much more expensive than their uncirculated counterparts. Uncirculated coin prices also depend on the price of gold or silver.
  • Rarity: There are fewer proof coins minted than uncirculated, so they can be challenging to acquire.


Popular Gold Proof Coins

You can purchase proof coins in gold or silver. If you are interested in adding some gold proof coins to your collection, we recommend that you look for some of the following:

  • American Eagle 2021 One Half Ounce Gold Proof Coin
  • American Liberty 2018 One Tenth Ounce Gold Proof Coin
  • American Gold Buffalo Proof Coin 2022 One Ounce

Popular Silver Proof Coins

There are many advantages to diversifying your collection with silver proof coins as well. While there are several different options spanning hundreds of years. We recommend that you start by purchasing:

  • American Eagle 2021 One Ounce Silver Proof Coin
  • National Purple Heart Hall of Honor 2022 Proof Silver Dollar
  • Silver Proof Set 2022
  • Morgan Silver Dollar Proof Coin

How Much Are Proof Coin Sets?

One of the great things about investing in proof coin sets is the ability to choose a set that fits your budget. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get in on the action. There are a lot of different proof coins sets from which you can choose. The price will largely depend on the rarity of the coins within the set as well as the precious metals used. For example, gold proofs are much more expensive than silver.

So how much are proof coins worth in a set?

If you are just starting your collection and don’t want to spend a lot, you’ll be happy to know that some dealers have proof sets available for as low as $25. You can also purchase sets of silver proof quarters directly from the US Mint for less than $100. Other rare collections can go for hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

While some are more valuable than others, you will also find that several special edition collections honor different people and events in history. While these might have the most significant investment opportunity, some collectors like to add coins that speak to their other hobbies and interests.


Are Proof Coins a Good Investment?

Proof coins are generally considered a good, low-risk investment for people looking for long-term growth potential. Like many coins, proof sets aren’t something you can turn around and resell for a crazy return on your initial investment. It’s a long game with these coins due to their scarcity. Since there is a limited number produced, over time, those coins can be lost or damaged, which would make any remaining coins more valuable.

Are gold-proof coins a good investment?

Gold-proof coins are the better investment option compared to other options because they are worth more than different sets. While the value of a proof coin comes more from its rarity than its precious metal content, precious metals can play a role in comparing the prices of one proof coin to another.

Where to Buy Proof Coin Sets Online

You can start collecting proof coins right away when you shop at International Precious Metals. We have a vast offering of rare and special coins, and if we don’t have what you’re looking for, we’ll help you find it.

You can get in touch with our coin specialists by calling our toll-free number. We are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week so that you can work on your collection at any time! We also have a convenient online chat box to help you find the perfect piece to add to your collection.

Download Your Free Guide To Investing In Rare Coins

If you’re interested in reading more about rare US coins, check out some of our other great posts including, ‘The Most Valuable Coins In US History’, ‘Guide To Coin Grading' and ‘Guide To Buying Gold’.