What is the most common valuable coin

Overview of the degrees of preservation of coins


Grade of preservation of coins

The degree of preservation of a coin should indicate how much it has already been worn down over time. This degree of preservation shows at first glance whether a coin has already been heavily used or looks almost new. In the case of collector's items, it is of course important that they show as few signs of use as possible, as this increases the value of the coin.

However, since the conservation values ​​are not standardized, there is a great deal of leeway that must be taken into account in the evaluations. Sellers will of course try to present the coins they have in stock as advantageously as possible in order to achieve a higher sales price. Buyers, on the other hand, will usually find a negative degree of preservation when appraising objects in order to have to pay as little as possible.

Difference between investment and collector coins

The small but subtle difference can already be seen in the name. Investment coins, e.g. B. Krugerrand or Maple Leaf silver coins are designed as hoarding and their value is made up of material value and production costs. The material value of investment coins is usually significantly higher than the minting / production costs. They are mostly traded worldwide and their specifications are known.

Collector coins, on the other hand, satisfy the collecting passion of numismatics and can also be viewed as a hobby. Since collectors also want to own rare coins from their collecting area, they often pay higher prices that exceed the pure material value. One speaks here of the "lover prices". In some cases, complex manufacturing processes are also used, the costs of which exceed the value of the material.

What the price of collector and investment coins depends on

The aforementioned conditions result in further dependencies with regard to the sales price.

The price of collector coins depends on:

  • the available number of pieces
  • of conservation
  • and the relationship between supply and demand

It is often difficult to find a buyer for collector coins who is willing to meet the seller's asking price. After all, someone has to be found who is interested in coins for the sometimes special collector's area and who attaches at least the same value to the coin.

In the case of investment coins, however:

  • there are usually unlimited quantities - their production volume depends on market demand
  • the value is hardly dependent on the state of preservation, as they are made of precious metals and have a high material value
  • the value changes with the precious metal price: the gold coin rises by about 5 percent.

It can of course happen that investment coins also become collector coins with special motifs and rare years. But this rarely happens. Examples of this are certain vintages of the Vreneli or the silver Kookaburra.

You can buy investment coins from us at low prices, we do not offer collector's editions.

In which condition can investment coins be traded?

Investment coins are like a currency, which is why the condition of an investment coin can be compared to the condition of a banknote. A note fresh from the central bank is worth the same as a note that has already passed through numerous hands. It will only be withdrawn from circulation by the banks if it is very heavily worn or damaged.

The advantage of a precious metal coin over a banknote is that a palladium coin always retains its high intrinsic material value. An investment coin that is no longer tradable is therefore simply melted down and recycled. Your potential for loss through deterioration in condition, because the coin has got a dent in a fall, for example, is limited to the fact that a buyer only pays you the melting value (= approximate material value) instead of the usual purchase price for tradable coins.

When buying back investment coins, a distinction is therefore only made between whether the coin is still marketable, i.e. whether it can be sold again to a precious metal investor due to its good condition, or whether its condition is so bad that no buyer will accept it as new or as usual in banks and it must be classified as a melt product. 

An investment coin can be traded if:

  • No deep scratches
  • No unacceptable edge damage,
  • There are no serious visual impairments
  • As well as dimensions, weight and fineness are correct


Are tolerated:

  • Fingerprints (can be removed with a degreasing bath)
  • Very small scratches / traces of contact (these often arise when the coin is minted)
  • Very small marginal defects
  • Tarnished spots (patina formation is normal with silver coins)

For you, this means that we will also buy your coin back at the normal purchase price. Basically, we sell our coins in the condition “as new” or “freshly minted”.

The degree of preservation in detail

For the degree of preservation, there is a scale with fixed gradations to determine the state of the coin, which can be reproduced either in words or in abbreviations. In words, a coin can be described as "poorly preserved", "very beautiful" or "uncirculated", the corresponding abbreviations are ge, ss and unc. In addition, it is possible to specify intermediate levels, whereby two degrees of conservation are indicated with a hyphen .

Collectors can recognize a mean value between the two degrees of conservation. The same applies if the degree of preservation is marked with a minus or a plus, because this is also intended to increase the precision of the representation. Sellers who want to sell a coin at auction, for example, should also highlight special features, because these are not always taken into account in the degree of preservation. This includes any damage to the edge or holes, for example if coins were worn on a chain. If a coin has been restored before it is sold, this must also be indicated accordingly.

Difference between uncirculated and polished plate

As can already be seen, the specification of the degree of conservation is very subjective. It must also be noted that collectors naturally place higher demands on new, freshly minted coins than on coins that are several hundred years old. It is therefore entirely possible to shift the scaling slightly on older coins. In addition, an existing coin can be specified more precisely by specifying "uncirculated" or "polished plate". Both details do not relate to the degree of preservation, but to the respective manufacturing process or manufacturing quality.

If a coin is offered as a polished plate, it was made from polished blanks, the so-called round blanks, and minted with specially polished stamps. This makes the surface of the coin appear reflective, whereas the coin motif is matt. The surface of the coin is glossy even with a mirror finish, but no polished blanks are used in the manufacturing process. Although the two types of production can hardly be distinguished visually, the prices for the respective coins can differ by several thousand euros.

Beware of specifying the degree of preservation and quality characteristics It is often difficult for laypeople in particular to determine the degree of preservation and to correctly reproduce the individual quality characteristics. However, as current court rulings confirm, sellers are obliged to deliver the specified coins in any case. So if you offer a "polished plate" coin in your description, but only deliver "uncirculated", you may have to reimburse the buyer for the difference.

It should also be noted that coins should never be visually upgraded, for example by polishing. An experienced coin dealer or collector would recognize this immediately and possibly even rate the coin worse than it actually is. It can therefore make sense to present the coins to a professional and have them assessed before they are auctioned off. Alternatively, of course, the sale at the coin dealer can also be made at the current conditions at any time.

List of the individual degrees of preservation and embossing designations

The individual degrees of preservation and embossing designations are described in more detail below. This list does not claim to be complete, but it is intended to provide an initial insight into the various quality grades of coins.

Proof (short PP)

The term PP does not mean a degree of preservation; this term only refers to the embossing technology. Before the embossing process, not only the stamps, but also the coin blanks are polished, while the pressure is increased during the embossing. In order to prevent damage, the stamps are regularly replaced, and the embossing process usually takes place in a dust-free clean room atmosphere. Ultimately, the finished coins are individually packaged, which significantly increases the cost of their production. Since the costs are higher as a result, this process is usually only used for collector coins; the effort would be too high for circulation coins. This can also be seen in the comparatively higher sales prices, which often exceed the value of the raw material many times over.

In English usage, Proof Coins are often further specified to describe their appearance:


Bright Proof or Unfrosted Proof

These coins shine all around, there are no matted areas to be found. However, this embossing technique is not used in Germany.


Frostet Proof or Cameo Proof

In Germany, the coins are rather sold as frostet proof. With these coins, the coin motif is often sandblasted and thus appears matt. Alternatively, there are also coins in which only the motif is shiny, but the background is matt. These coins are often referred to as reverse proof.

In addition, the term matte proof is often used. The surface of these coins has a matt or satin finish. For a special eye-catcher, different embossing techniques are sometimes combined, as with the British RoyalMint from 2003.


Mirror finish (short spgl.)

Just like the term "polished plate", the mirror finish also describes a special embossing technique. The coin blanks are processed directly here, there is no prior polishing. However, the difference is often not directly recognizable, which is why both procedures are sometimes referred to as PP.


Brilliant Uncirculated (stgl.)

The uncirculated luster is one of the degrees of preservation. It describes a freshly minted coin in circulation, which was usually made for collector's purposes. Similar to PP coins, attempts are made to avoid damage to a large extent during production. They are therefore also removed by hand and packaged immediately. The prices for these coins are slightly higher compared to circulation coins, which are usually ejected by machines.


Hand lifted (ed.)

Coins that have been removed by hand during production, similar to the unmarked finish, are referred to as hand-lifted. However, this designation is not to be found everywhere, often it can only be found in Austrian special qualities.


First discount (EA)

Only the first 100 coins that are produced with a fresh die are referred to as first strike. Since the stamps are still new in this production, the relief of the coins is particularly pronounced. The other coins often show minimal changes that can affect the quality. These changes are often only discovered by experienced collectors, they are not visible to the naked eye.


Export quality

This quality feature can only be found in coins that were manufactured in the VEB-Münze Berlin, the state mint of the former GDR. These coins were shrink-wrapped immediately after they were minted and sold to capitalist countries abroad.


Collector's version

These are coins for collectors, but unlike Stempelglanz, they are not removed by hand. Rather, they are taken from the pile of produced coins and only then rolled or packaged. Minimal damage can therefore not be ruled out.


Bank fresh

The term "fresh from bank" refers to coins that are delivered to banks immediately after they have been minted. Normally these coins are not packed individually, but are transported in bags. The slightest transport damage, which can occur due to the friction between the individual coins, can reduce the value of the coin.



Freshly minted circulation coins that already contain the smallest traces of circulation are described as excellent. It is important, however, that the edges of the coins must be intact and not have any notches.


Very fine (ss.)

The degree of preservation "very fine" is used when a coin in circulation already shows clear signs of circulation. Collectors often use this degree of preservation as the lowest limit, because in these cases the embossed writing is already slightly rounded. The same applies to smaller details that were also sharp-edged. However, this degree of preservation does not take into account any notches, abraded areas or even scratches. These would have to be specified separately and explicitly mentioned in the product description.


Very well preserved, beautiful (see)

Clearly used coins are offered with the degree of preservation "beautiful". These coins may already have edge damage, but scratches and notches must also be named separately here. Coins in very good condition are generally only accepted by collectors for historical pieces if no other coins are available.


Well preserved

Although the designation "in good condition" suggests a visually appealing coin, it already has clear signs of wear. However, the design of the coin is still recognizable.


Low received

The worst degree of conservation a coin can be assigned to. Due to the already strong signs of use, it is often only just possible to recognize which coin is currently on offer.