Silver Proof Coins

Expertly finished and presented to impress, silver proof coins are great additions to any collection. Prized by collectors and investors alike, these high-quality coins are a cut above the rest. Discover the answers to your most pressing questions about proof silver coins in the content below.

How Do Proof Coins Differ From Bullion and Other Coins?

You can buy silver proof coins individually and as silver proof sets, which all contain a dime, a quarter, and a half-dollar. Minters make silver proof coins using a special process that gives them a superior finish to bullion and other coins. Minters monitor their handmade dies closely. Once the dies start showing age, minters rework and repolish them. This ensures that every single silver coin proof has the same clean, spot-free finish.

It’s not just the finish that sets silver proof coin sets and individual coins apart, though. Minters strike bullion and other coins just once. In contrast, they strike silver proof coins at least twice at a lower speed and higher pressure. This labor-intensive process gives silver proof coins sharper, more defined marks than other coins.

Since they take more work and die maintenance, minters make fewer silver proof coins than bullion and other investment coins. These smaller runs are often marketed as limited editions. Their relative scarcity makes silver proof coins even more appealing.

If you’re a keen collector, you’ll also notice the finish of silver proof coins is a little different than bullion and other coins. Most coins have a mirrored finish on the background and foreground. Most silver proof coins pair mirrored backgrounds with frosted foregrounds for contrast. Some silver proof coins have reverse frosting, with frosted backgrounds and mirrored foregrounds. You’ll also find silver proof coins with all-frosted finishes and satin and matte frosting. All these variations further distinguish silver proof coins from bullion and other coins.

Each United States Mint silver proof set and coin is usually sold in a protective box to preserve its superior finish. The coins are personally inspected and hand-polished before boxing to ensure they’re flawless. A certificate of authenticity helps buyers feel confident in their silver proof set or coin purchase. Bullion and other coins rarely come with boxes or certificates.

Who Buys Proof Coins and Why?

Investors and collectors both buy proof coins. These buyers appreciate the superior quality of proof coins and don’t mind spending more on it. Investors figure the potential appreciation of proof coins makes them worth the higher initial outlay. Collectors usually let their hearts decide and are usually swayed by their flawless looks, deliberate markings and limited-edition status.

What Factors Drive Changes in Proof Coins and Their Value Over Time?

The value of proof coins typically increases over time. Several factors drive their appreciation, including:

  • Their flawless quality: Strict minting and inspection processes ensure new proof coins are flawless. When people keep coins in their original boxes, they can stay perfect. As with all collectors’ items, a perfect U.S. Mint silver proof set is more valuable than one with flaws.
  • Their boxes and certificates: The boxes don’t just protect proof coins. They also drive up their value. A certificate of authenticity has a similar impact on a proof coin’s price. Certified boxed proof coins are always more valuable than comparable coins without these extras.
  • Key dates: While all proof coins have limited supply, those with key dates are more valuable than others. Key dates are rare dates in a given coin series. For example, the 1993 proof silver American Eagle was made when production moved from San Francisco to Philadelphia. There were only 405,913 of these silver proof sets, less than any other proof silver eagle at that time. The 1995-W proof silver eagle was only available in a 10th-anniversary set. As the U.S. Mint sold just 30,125, they are incredibly rare.

Why Buy a Silver Proof Coin?

Collectors and investors buy U.S. silver proof sets for several reasons. Some of the most common reasons for buying silver proof coins include:

  • Their good looks. More refined minting techniques and unusual finishes make silver proof coins very eye-catching. Those good looks are motivation alone for many buyers.
  • Their expert minting. Silver proof coins can also appeal to people who want the best of everything. Their flawless finish and crystal-clear marks are a great choice for buyers who appreciate life’s finer things.
  • They’re packaged for collectors. Most silver proof coins come boxed with certificates of authenticity. These features are irresistible to collectors.
  • Many have limited edition status. Limited edition runs are also very enticing to collectors. Their relative rarity can make them real status symbols.
  • They can make your portfolio more diverse. A diverse investment portfolio carries a lower risk than one featuring similar items. If you’ve never bought silver proof coins before, they could be just the items to broaden your options.

Why Buy Silver?

There are gold and silver proof coins. While both are excellent choices, there are several reasons you might favor silver coins:

  • They are more affordable. While silver proof coins are more expensive than silver bullion, they’re more affordable than gold proof coins. This can make them an accessible option for budget-conscious collectors and investors.
  • Silver is becoming rarer. Conventional wisdom suggests gold is a rare, precious commodity while silver is abundant. However, that’s not entirely true. Silver yields from top miners have fallen by nearly half since 2005 [1]. If this trend continues, silver proof coins could become even more valuable in the future.
  • It is beautiful. Silver is a beautiful metal. If you prefer its looks to gold, that is reason enough to choose a silver proof coin.

The beautiful quality of silver proof coins is enticing now, but it’s also the secret to their long-lasting investment appeal. Whether you want to boost your portfolio or personal coin collection, silver proof coins are an excellent choice.


Additional Resources:

1. Seeking Alpha. Top Primary Silver Miners’ Average Yield Falls to Record Low, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4270432-top-primary-silver-miners-average-yield-falls-to-record-low. Accessed September 17, 2020.