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Bullion, Proof, and Numismatic Coins

Jumping into something without learning about it first is a fast way to learn an expensive lesson. Educate yourself on the difference between bullion, proof, and numismatic coins with our helpful guide below.


Bullion coins are often referred to as “uncirculated,” which means exactly that—the coins have never been in circulation. Uncirculated coins contain very minor scuffs and imperfections, such as tiny scratches and edge knocks. There are also uncirculated “specimens,” which are of slightly better quality, with possible small imperfections.

Numismatics and Semi-Numismatics

Numismatic coins are produced in limited quantities and/or for commemorative reasons. They carry a novelty factor – a great choice as gifts for friends and family. This is because their premiums make the price of the coin much higher than the value of the metal itself. Yes, they are old, beautiful, and carry a great story, but they are not worth the price that coin dealers ask.

A huge collector’s premium on numismatic coins defeats the purpose of investing in silver. Numismatic coins are a collector’s item and should be treated as such.

Proof Coins

Proof coins were originally meant to be a type of pre-production sample. Factories produced a small number of samples for their customer to check and mints produced proofs for a variety of purposes, such as approval by the monarch, the mintmaster, and others. As coin collecting gained popularity, mints made proofs for collectors. Nowadays, proof coins are specially produced to a high standard of finish. Most countries produce these proof coins yearly and to mark special occasions.

Know the Difference

Some dealers with a large marketing budget often use numismatic coins to try to up-sell customers interested in buying metal for the first time. They say that the gold and silver coins they offer hold their value even when metal prices drop. However, there is more to this. Several categories affect the pricing of semi-numismatic and numismatic coins, including mintage quantity, date, and likely survival number. These values vary drastically!

When buying gold and silver, remember to only buy the items that you understand. If someone else tells you that it is a good deal, beware. Semi-numismatic and numismatic coins are like baseball cards—when you know your information, success is likely. Most people only see the metal inside the coin as they see the player on the card. If you only want to buy gold or silver to hedge against inflation, then look for the lower premium gold and silver products. Also, be sure to keep in line with financial news and trends.

Buy what is best for you, NOT what is best for a high street coin dealer who is after a profit!