By industry definition, proof coins are made for collectors, special occasions or other numismatic purposes. They are not coins intended for general circulation. In terms of output, a proof is the absolute highest quality coin a mint can produce and its exceptional detail combined with aesthetic appeal make them extremely popular with collectors. Or are they? Some would say that the sun is setting on proofs. Others would say of that, “Where in fact is the proof of that.”
Others may just argue that the ups and downs of sets of proof coins is seasonal and can very often depend on what is depicted on the coins themselves. People are human after all and what appeals to john may not appeal to Judy.
Popularity of proofs can also depend on what numismatists are wanting to procure rare coins for. For those who are interested in owning gold or silver coins for intrinsic value (the value of the precious metal) then Bullion coins are usually the way that most will lean toward. But for those who are looking for long lasting legacy gifts or heirlooms that can be passed on from generation to generation, then proof coins are nine times out of ten the way to go.
Many experts and traders maintain that proof sets are not a massively big mover, but it is an item people come into stores or go online to request. “Grandparents may be looking to buy clad or silver proof sets for their grandkids and parents often look for them as a gift for their child. Collectors also have an interest in proof sets.
The problem does really come when it comes to reselling proof sets. This definitely provides a high level of frustration for collectors who struggle to find a dealer interested in them.
Then there’s the fact that many inexperienced collectors don’t know their Proofs from their brilliant uncirculated coins, or quite why the pricing differs so they tend to stay away from one and lean more toward the other.
For the uninitiated, proof coins are struck using special dies that are prepared carefully prior to striking. Each die is used fewer times and between each strike the die is polished and the coin aligned carefully by hand. The process of polishing a Proof die for a Crown can take hours.
In addition, Proof coins are struck at least twice, the second strike deepening the relief and firming the definition. Each strike uses less pressure than our standard minting process in order to preserve more of the fine detail present in the artwork.
What this means is that the Proof coin is able to provide more detail, clearer relief, and a finer smoother surface than coins struck to normal standards. It showcases the artistry of the design and gives the coin a degree of engineered precision that only striking to Proof standard can impart.
Also the process takes far longer than striking coins for circulation. Proof coins can be produced at a rate of between 50 and 100 an hour. Brilliant Uncirculated coins can be produced far faster – up to 300 a minute. So it could well be that in this instant age that numismatists have lost their patience to wait for Proof coins to be produced, instead choosing to adorn their collections with brilliant uncirculated coins.
Of that the jury is not yet out, but one definitely has to look more closely and research more about why demand for proofs is slipping. It’s after all a part of our heritage and we all know how in ‘Blighty’ we love our heritage.
If you are looking for a meticulously designed Proof con or a collection of them, make sure that you contact Hallmark Coins. No matter what coin you are after, just one click on their website will help match you to the one of your dream and at the price that suits your pocket.