Those who are interested in taking up the exciting hobby of coin collecting may become a bit confused about some of the terminology used in the industry. While each collector’s tastes and unique interests vary, there are a few basic coin collecting terms that are helpful to become familiar with.

What Is the Difference Between Circulated and Uncirculated Coins?

A circulated coin is one that is produced for everyday transactions by the United States Mint. Once a coin enters circulation, it becomes classified as “circulated.” All coins start out as uncirculated when they are struck at the mint, and they stay uncirculated until they enter the commerce stream or become damaged.

An uncirculated coin must not exhibit traces of being in circulation, as well as must have a mint luster and no signs of wear. Uncirculated coins are typically worth much more than a circulated coin in a similar condition.

What Is the Difference Between Uncirculated and Proof Coins?

Proof coins are never intended to be circulated and are only made for collectors. Unlike regular coins, which are struck once under normal pressure, proof coins are struck at least twice to bring out the details of the design. Proof coins are made in smaller quantities using a special die, and have a polished, mirror-like finish on them. Almost all proof coins remain uncirculated, as they’re generally only in the hands of collectors who would never dream of accidentally putting them into circulation.

003-pcgs-graded-coinWhat Is the Difference Between Graded and Ungraded Coins?

If a coin is graded, that means it has been evaluated to determine its condition using the following five criteria:

  • Strike
  • Preservation
  • Luster
  • Color
  • Attractiveness

Graded coins have a set value based on their grade, whereas ungraded coins are more subjective in value. Graded coins are generally worth slightly more, and are often enclosed in protective plastic cases. Coins can be graded from 1 to 70 and grades include fair, almost good, good, very good, fine, very fine and extremely fine.

Coin Collecting in Portland

If you are interested in starting your own coin collection or just want to expand your existing collection, visit Liberty Coin & Currency at one of our three convenient locations in Vancouver, East Portland and West Portland.

Liberty Coin & Currency is happy to answer any questions you may have about coin collecting terminology and has a large selection of rare and collectible coins for you to choose from. You can even trade in diamonds or jewelry if you prefer to invest in coins. Contact us today for more information.

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