Coin Quality Standards, BU vs Proof Coins

Coin Quality Standards, BU vs Proof Coins

Feb 06 , 2023

Brilliant Uncirculated

The term ‘circulating coin’ applies to coins that are minted for everyday use; they are the coins you will find in your pocket or coin purse, your loose change. So it follows that an ‘Uncirculated’ coin is one that is minted for admiration, not circulation. And when they are finished to a high standard, with a degree of brightness and lustre beyond the everyday, they achieve Brilliant Uncirculated quality.

Often many people’s entry point into the fascinating world of coin collecting, Brilliant Uncirculated coins are typically collectable and affordable. They must be struck from a polished die, with all design detail picked out to a crisp finish, providing the owner with a true sense of the designer’s intentions. When assessed by international coin standards such as NGC or PCGS, a coin will be judged to be Brilliant Uncirculated if it satisfies the criteria above, with a few minor defects allowed as long as they aren’t too obvious.


Believed by many to be the most desirable of coin standards and loved by enthusiasts and collectors all over the world, Proof quality coins are the pinnacle of minting artistry. Generally issued in precious metals as strictly limited editions, they are the true ‘proof’ of a coin designer’s intentions when their vision is transferred from paper to plaster and finally, to metal.

Proof coins are identified by the combination of frosted details standing out from a highly polished table, or vice versa, creating a stunning visual texture to each coin. This combination of frosting and polishing increases the level of expertise and work put into the master tools and dies, work often done by hand using traditional skills that have been handed down from generation to generation.

Proof coins are struck one coin at a time in a high pressure press which strikes the design into the blank a number of times to ensure every detail is transferred. Dies are then cleaned between each coin strike to remove any traces of dust, ensuring that every Proof coin is as close to perfection as possible.