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Beginner’s Corner: Special Collector Strike Types

Beginner’s Corner: Special Collector Strike Types
Category: Beginner's Corner
Author Name: Kelsey Kay Howard
Posted: 01-28-2015

Learn about some of the different special collector strike types in this week's Beginner's Corner.

Updated 12/22/2020

In addition to the more standard Proof and Uncirculated strikes, many special collector strike types exist! Such coin finishes allow the intricate designs on both the obverse and reverse to be seen in entirely new lights and can add some unique appeal to any collection.

Reverse Proof Finish

Reverse Proof Gold BuffaloThe first special collector strike type is the reverse proof. The reverse proof features a frosted field and mirrored devices, as opposed to a proof strike, which is characterized by mirrored fields and frosted devices. The entire coin will have a proof finish, but the distinction between the two strike types is the frosty devices of the reverse proof finish. The United States Mint first began issuing reverse proof coins in 2006 when it commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the American Silver and Gold Eagle series by issuing Silver and Gold Eagles with a reverse proof finish.

Enhanced Uncirculated Finish

Enhanced Uncirculated American Silver Eagle Another collector strike type is enhanced uncirculated. These coins are a collective mixture of what one would expect to see with uncirculated, proof, and reverse proof all on the same coin. The U.S. mint first used this strike type on Silver Eagles in 2013 and then continued using this strike type with the special 50th Anniversary Kennedy half dollars in 2014. In 2017, the United States Mint released an Enhanced Uncirculated Coin Set that featured enhanced uncirculated versions of the circulating coinage from that year (plus a few extras) to celebrate the Mint's 225th Anniversary. The finish is distinguished by a lightly frosted field and selectively mirrored devices in some parts of the design and prominently frosted devices in others. This strike type was created to accentuate design details and create a striking contrast that is distinct from the more traditional proof finish. 

Antique Finish 

 Antique Finish Shipwreck COinAn antique finish is a special collector strike type that is an uncirculated strike. Traditionally, such coins are struck and then put through extra steps to give them this unique, often weathered-looking appearance that provides depth to the coin's design. The antique finish is often a hand-applied process that means no two coins will look precisely the same. The Royal Australian Mint's Silver Australian Shipwreck coin series, which boasts a unique triangular shape, includes antiqued versions of the bullion design. The coins' rugged appearance is the perfect match for the tragic, water-logged tale the coin depicts.

Other Unique Finishes 

In addition to the finishes mentioned above, mints worldwide continue to thrill collectors with innovative new finishes and features on coins. To learn more about unique coins, including hologram coins, lenticular coins, and even glow in the dark coins, read this entry in our Resource Center! If you are interested in learning about some of the most recent and exciting finishes released in the past few years, check out this entry in our Resource Center, which discusses the modified proof finish, enhanced reverse proof finish, and more!

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About The Author

Kelsey Kay Howard Kelsey graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a B.A. in mass communications. She is new to the world of numismatics, but as the Marketing Specialist for MCM is dedicated to learning all there is to know.

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