What is a Proof Coin?

If you’ve spent any time in the coin collecting world, you’ve likely heard the term proof coin. This type of coin is commonly collected for its beauty, rarity, and high value. We’ve talked about the difference between proof and uncirculated coins before, but today we’d like to simply focus on what a proof coin is.

Read on to discover all the details you need to know about proof coins!

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How Proof Coins are Made

Proof coins were not originally created to be sold. They started out as test coins before a batch was struck for circulation purposes, in order to ensure the dies and stamps were set up correctly and would correctly imprint the design onto the coin.

Now, however, these coins are specially created for collecting purposes. Each coin is double struck, meaning the die is pushed into the coin twice. This gives it its distinct appearance that we’ll discuss later.

After the coins are struck, they are each handled separately, not thrown into bins like circulated coins. Each coin is also hand polished by a Mint worker. These additional steps ensure that the perfect nature and appearance of the coins is maintained until they are sealed in their protective packaging.

Physical Appearance of Proof Coins

Proof coins are distinctive in their appearance from uncirculated and circulated coins. Because they are double struck, the field (or background) of the coin has a mirror-like finish, and the relief —the part of the coin that is the actual design — is matte. The high amount of detail also distinguishes them from other types of coins, as the double strike makes for an incredibly high-detail coin.

Qualities of Proof Coins


Proof coins are produced in smaller numbers than circulated coins, making them rarer than other types of coins. In coin collecting, rarity is a large factor in considering the value of a coin — and proof coins are especially rare because so few are minted in the first place.


All proof coins contain a certificate of authenticity and are contained in special packaging that protects it from any sort of damage or even fingerprints. This certificate authenticates your coin as a genuine proof coin and ensures its value.


While beauty is subjective, proof coins are generally regarded to be some of the most beautiful coins ever created. This is due to the juxtaposition of the shiny background and the matte foreground, and the high amount of detail.

Value of Proof Coins

Proof coins are often more valuable than uncirculated coins because of their rarity, high detail, and perfect nature. Their value is, in general, more stable than other coins because they rarely have flaws — and if they do have a flaw, like a misstrike, it actually makes them more rare and valuable! If you are comparing a proof coin to an uncirculated coin, proof coins will always be more valuable.

Proof coins make a great investment for novice and experienced numismatists alike! 

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