How Do You Tell If a Coin Is a Proof or a Bullion?


Quick Answer

The easiest way to differentiate between proof coins and standard bullion coins is by comparing their finish. A proof is struck multiple times to achieve a high level of detail, after which it is given a mirror-like shine. Standard bullion receives no such special care.

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Full Answer

Proof coins and their less-glossy counterparts share many characteristics, including weight, design details and metal composition. This means that the melt value of the coins is exactly the same, but while a bullion coin is only valued based on its weight, a proof coin is valued based on its appearance, age and scarcity. Proof coins are also sold in protective display containers that are designed to preserve their finish and detail, whereas bullion is normally sold in rolls or other bulk containers.

Both make excellent investment options, but while bullion's price fluctuates with the world gold and silver markets, the value of a proof coin only increases as time passes. Proof coins can only be purchased from a collector or directly from the U.S. Mint, whereas bullion can only be purchased from an authorized dealer. One advantage of bullion over proof coin purchases is the potential to buy bullion through an IRA account, which allows an investor to freeze his assets for the long term.

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