U.S. & World Coin News and Articles

Mint State Versus Proof Type -- Some Surprising Revelations

For the purpose of this article, we have utilized the most current NGC and PCGS population reports (October 1998 for NGC and January 1999 for PCGS), as well as the January 29,1999 Certified Coin Dealer Newsletter (CCDN).

We selected nickel and silver type issues, which we believe allow for a sufficiently large sample size of frequently traded coins, as well as a fair comparison of published prices. The table to follow lists 19 nickel and silver type coins in grades MS65 to 67 as well as PR65 to 67. Accompanying each coin listing is the following:

  • A combined NGC and PCGS population figure
  • Price based on an average of the NGC and PCGS prices listed in the CCDN
  • The ratio of the population of proof versus the population in mint state, expressed as a percentage
  • The ratio of the price in proof versus the price in mint state, expressed as a percentage

Key to the Table
Coin: By Type as listed in CCDN
MS Grade and PR Grade: Grade Levels 65,66 and 67 as listed in CCDN
Pop: Combined NGC and PCGS population
Price: The average of the CCDN prices for NGC and PCGS
PF/MS Pop: Population of each coin type in proof divided by the population for that coin in mint state, expressed as a percentage.
PF/MS Price: Price of each coin type in proof divided by the price for that coin in mint state, expressed as a percentage.

Analysis of Data
There are a number of reasons, other than rarity, to account for price differences between proof and mint state type coins. Among those are: popularity and demand; potential for promotion; perception (or misperception) of rarity; the intrinsic eye appeal of proof coins, as well as the allure they have held throughout history due to the nature of their production.

These considerations aside, there are many of mint state type coins which, based on populations and prices relative to their proof counterparts, should not be ignored. Following are several examples:

  • 3CN MS65 are 7 times rarer than PF65's yet list at a price premium of only 28%
  • 3CN MS66 are nine times rarer in MS66 than in PF66 yet list at a price premium of just over 50%.
  • Shield 5c MS65, while more than three times rarer than PF65's, list at a slight discount to the proofs.
  • Shield 5c MS66, almost seven times rarer than PF66's, have a price premium of merely 26%.
  • Lib 5c MS65, twice as rare as PF65's, can be acquired for less money than proofs.
  • Lib 5c MS66, while five times rarer than PF66's, have a price premium of roughly 37%.
  • Legend H10c MS67 are virtually identical in population to the proof 67's, but their price is a third less.
  • Barber 10c MS67 are almost three times as rare as PF67's but list at a 25% discount.
  • Motto 25c MS65, while actually scarcer than proof 65's, list at roughly a 25% discount.
  • Motto 25c MS66 are scarcer than their PF67 counterparts and still list at a discount of more than 30%.
  • Motto 25c MS67 are slightly scarcer than PF67's but list at a 30% discount.
  • 1873/74 Arrows 25c MS65, while the population is a bit higher than PF65's (89 vs. 74), list at just slightly more than half the price of proofs.
  • Barber 25c MS66 are approximately 1.5 times scarcer than PF66's but list at roughly a 30% discount.
  • Motto 50c MS65 are approximately 1.5 times scarcer than PF65's but list at a discount of 20%.
  • Motto 50c MS67 have a population of 56 vs. 96 proofs but list at barely 5% more than the much less difficult to obtain proof issues.
  • Barber 50c MS65 are actually scarcer than PF65's yet list for approximately 2/3 the price.
  • Barber 50c MS66 are more than twice as scarce as PF66's yet list for a discount to the proofs.
  • Barber 50c MS67 are four times as rare as PF67's but list at a price premium of less than 10%!
  • Motto $1 MS65 are six times as rare as proofs but list at less than double their price.
  • Trade $l MS65 are almost four times scarcer in mint state than in proof but list and a slight discount!
  • Trade $1 MS66 are four times rarer than PF66's, and list at a price premium of less than 25%.

    It's no secret that statistics can be misleading, whether by design or otherwise. And, there are no doubt arguments to be made in favor of certain proof issues appearing to be bargains relative to their mint state counterparts. However in a large number of cases, we believe that the current pricing structure presents excellent opportunities in the area of mint state type coins. COIN

    COIN

    MS GRADE

    POP

    PRICE

    PF GRADE

    POP

    PRICE

    PF/MS POP

    PF/MS PRICE

    3CN

    MS65

    1151

    $ 475.00

    PF65

    8397

    $ 370.00

    730%

    78%

    3CN

    MS66

    376

    $ 1,018.00

    PF66

    3653

    $ 668.00

    972%

    66%

    3CN

    MS67

    80

    $ 2,575.00

    PF67

    670

    $ 1,040.00

    838%

    40%

    3CS T-3

    MS65

    821

    $ 653.00

    PF65

    756

    $ 1,005.00

    92%

    154%

    3CS T-3

    MS66

    454

    $ 1,100.00

    PF66

    278

    $ 1,505.00

    61%

    137%

    3CS T-3

    MS67

    115

    $ 2,675.00

    PF67

    65

    $ 5,050.00

    57%

    189%

    Shield 5C

    MS65

    1204

    $ 443.00

    PF65

    4269

    $ 473.00

    355%

    107%

    Shield 5C

    MS66

    262

    $ 973.00

    PF66

    1801

    $ 775.00

    687%

    80%

    Shield 5C

    MS67

    18

    $ 4,675.00

    PF67

    271

    $ 1,425.00

    1506%

    30%

    Lib. 5C

    MS65

    3047

    $ 320.00

    PF65

    6268

    $ 380.00

    206%

    119%

    Lib. 5C

    MS66

    492

    $ 770.00

    PF66

    2546

    $ 558.00

    517%

    72%

    Lib. 5C

    MS67

    29

    $ 3,150.00

    PF67

    540

    $ 1,225.00

    1862%

    39%

    Leg 1/2 10C

    MS65

    858

    $ 678.00

    PF65

    554

    $ 1,330.00

    65%

    196%

    Leg 1/2 10C

    MS66

    402

    $ 1,030.00

    PF66

    202

    $ 2,070.00

    50%

    201%

    Leg 1/2 10C

    MS67

    125

    $ 2,325.00

    PF67

    38

    $ 4,510.00

    30%

    194%

    Leg 10C

    MS65

    1824

    $ 665.00

    PF65

    1462

    $ 1,200.00

    80%

    180%

    Leg 10C

    MS66

    788

    $ 1,190.00

    PF66

    711

    $ 1,825.00

    90%

    153%

    Leg 10C

    MS67

    214

    $ 2,275.00

    PF67

    215

    $ 3,410.00

    100%

    150%

    1873-74 10C

    MS65

    53

    $ 3,425.00

    PF65

    51

    $ 4,020.00

    96%

    117%

    1873-74 10C

    MS66

    38

    $ 4,975.00

    PF66

    27

    $ 8,000.00

    71%

    161%

    1873-74 10C

    MS67

    4

    $ 16,750.00

    PF67

    2

    $ 19,500.00

    50%

    116%

    Barb 10C

    MS65

    2379

    $ 513.00

    PF65

    1407

    $ 1,200.00

    59%

    234%

    Barb 10C

    MS66

    855

    $ 1,125.00

    PF66

    988

    $ 1,710.00

    116%

    152%

    Barb 10C

    MS67

    154

    $ 2,480.00

    PF67

    442

    $ 3,340.00

    287%

    135%

    N.M. 25C

    MS65

    287

    $ 2,650.00

    PF65

    184

    $ 4,180.00

    64%

    158%

    N.M. 25C

    MS66

    128

    $ 4,550.00

    PF66

    66

    $ 6,325.00

    52%

    139%

    N.M. 25C

    MS67

    27

    $ 11,000.00

    PF67

    9

    $ 13,000.00

    33%

    118%

    Motto 25C

    MS65

    866

    $ 1,175.00

    PF65

    1109

    $ 1,585.00

    128%

    135%

    Motto 25C

    MS66

    476

    $ 1,950.00

    PF66

    552

    $ 2,850.00

    116%

    146%

    Motto 25C

    MS67

    200

    $ 3,655.00

    PF67

    207

    $ 5,150.00

    104%

    141%

    1873-74 25C

    MS65

    89

    $ 2,550.00

    PF65

    74

    $ 4,900.00

    83%

    192%

    1873-74 25C

    MS66

    38

    $ 4,950.00

    PF66

    23

    $ 8,375.00

    61%

    169%

    1873-74 25C

    MS67

    2

    $ 15,000.00

    PF67

    5

    $ 18,000.00

    250%

    120%

    Barb 25C

    MS65

    2160

    $ 890.00

    PF65

    1433

    $ 1,400.00

    66%

    157%

    Barb 25C

    MS66

    706

    $ 1,555.00

    PF66

    1049

    $ 2,235.00

    149%

    144%

    Barb 25C

    MS67

    160

    $ 3,525.00

    PF67

    69

    $ 4,040.00

    356%

    115%

    N.M. 50C

    MS65

    251

    $ 3,700.00

    PF65

    184

    $ 4,600.00

    73%

    124%

    N.M. 50C

    MS66

    79

    $ 8,000.00

    PF66

    50

    $ 8,250.00

    63%

    103%

    N.M. 50C

    MS67

    9

    $ 19,500.00

    PF67

    9

    $ 14,500.00

    100%

    74%

    Motto 50C

    MS65

    590

    $ 2,075.00

    PF65

    879

    $ 2,620.00

    149%

    126%

    Motto 50C

    MS66

    259

    $ 3,545.00

    PF66

    339

    $ 4,480.00

    131%

    126%

    Motto 50C

    MS67

    56

    $ 7,000.00

    PF67

    96

    $ 6,625.00

    171%

    95%

    1873-74 50C

    MS65

    22

    $ 10,250.00

    PF65

    34

    $ 7,775.00

    155%

    76%

    1873-74 50C

    MS66

    8

    $ 22,000.00

    PF66

    7

    $ 14,500.00

    88%

    66%

    1873-74 50C

    MS67

    0

    $ 55,000.00

    PF67

    2

    $ 44,500.00

    81%

    Barb 50C

    MS65

    1025

    $ 1,788.00

    PF65

    1224

    $ 2,630.00

    119%

    147%

    Barb 50C

    MS66

    349

    $ 3,340.00

    PF66

    883

    $ 3,860.00

    253%

    116%

    Barb 50C

    MS67

    115

    $ 6,000.00

    PF67

    463

    $ 5,550.00

    403%

    93%

    N.M. $1

    MS65

    66

    $ 11,400.00

    PF65

    166

    $ 9,300.00

    252%

    82%

    N.M. $1

    MS66

    14

    $ 40,000.00

    PF66

    55

    $ 17,000.00

    393%

    43%

    N.M. $1

    MS67

    0

    $ 90,000.00

    PF67

    4

    $ 46,250.00

    51%

    Motto $1

    MS65

    38

    $ 15,875.00

    PF65

    231

    $ 8,050.00

    608%

    51%

    Motto $1

    MS66

    9

    $ 39,500.00

    PF66

    67

    $ 14,250.00

    744%

    36%

    Motto $1

    MS67

    0

    $ 90,000.00

    PF67

    16

    $ 28,000.00

    31%

    Trade $1

    MS65

    170

    $ 5,625.00

    PF65

    643

    $ 5,825.00

    378%

    104%

    Trade $1

    MS66

    58

    $ 10,000.00

    PF66

    233

    $ 8,125.00

    402%

    81%

    Trade $1

    MS67

    8

    $ 30,000.00

    PF67

    74

    $ 14,500.00

    925%

    48%

    Mark Feld has a long history in the numismatic arena. Since 1979 he has worked in all aspects of the industry, including marketing, sales and cataloguing for a major auction company. He worked for seven years as a grader and authenticator for NGC. Mark is now working as numismatist for Pinnacle Rarities in their Houston office.
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