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Web Series Recap: Grading Proof Coins

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There are many factors that can affect a coin's grade, as well as many grading challenges that both avid and casual hobbyists face every day. So, to continue to educate coin graders, our in depth look at grading continues with Grading Proof Coins – Coin Grading 102. After practice and tuning in to these videos, hopefully these challenges won't be so, well, challenging.

As always, the video provides in-depth, expert descriptions of each coin and eye-catching, imperfection-enlightening graphics to enhance the educational process-because even the most avid of coin graders are always learning.

Here's the gist of Grading Proof Coins, but if you really want the full experience, you'll have to tune in.

Similar but Different Coins

Mint state and proof coins may be similar, but the grader has to keep in mind some key differences when assessing these coins. For instance, proof coins are typically in collectors' hands for several years and are, at many times, are cared for improperly. So a common issue with proof coins is hairlines (the fine lines from wiping or cleaning the coin improperly). This means that surface preservation must be taken into consideration.

Other distinguishing qualities of proof coins include, luster, strike, and eye appeal.

The Proofs are in the Pudding

This video follows the typical format of previous Grading 101 and 102 videos, as we walk you through the differing grades of various coins. However, due to the difficulty of illustrating grades of proof coins via photographs, this video entry presents the coins in four groups rather than moving through the grades sequentially.

The four groups presented are
  • Circulated Proofs (Below PR-60)
  • Low Grade Proofs (PR-60 to 62)
  • Mid Grade Proofs (PR-63 to 64)
  • High Grade Proofs (PR-65)

A Closer Look at the Coins

After touching on some key differences between proofs and mint state coins, the journey through each group of proof grades begins, with each group containing 4 coins. Finishing the first group of circulated proofs is the well-known Gobrecht dollar (pictured above), which, interestingly enough, may have entered circulation due to its considerable value during the 1830s and 40s. (One dollar was nothing to scoff at during those days.)

Next are low-grade proofs, which are consistently marked by hairlines and generally not good-looking coins. Moving on, marks across the face and surface cloudiness are traits that many of the mid-grade proofs exhibit.

Finally, the high-grade proofs section ends with a true gem: a 1901 $20 gold Liberty Head (pictured below). This coin has virtually no hairlines, no blemishes.

Until Next Time and the Next Set of Coins

This video does a terrific job of highlighting the subtle differences between each coin amongst its respective grade group. It also emphasizes the not-so-subtle differences between coins in different grade groups-the difference between the first coin introduced and the final gem is night and day. Coin graders would be remiss not to watch Grading Proof Coins – Coin Grading 102, especially considering the next part in the series, Ultra-Modern Coins, is right around the corner.

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