First Strike, Proof, Reverse Proof and Mint State Silver American Eagles

PCGS Certified First Strike Silver Eagle

PCGS, also known as Professional Coin Grading Service defines a First Strike Coin. “The PCGS First Strike program designates coins issued in the first 30 days of the Mint’s release.”

The US MInt does not certify the coins as “First Strike”. Certification is done by PCGS or NGC. This has turned the First Strike designation into a quagmire for collectors. However, the Mint State 70 designation still gives the coin Superior value.

On most current dates, I could not see much value difference between an MS70 and an MS70 First Strike.  I personally believe a slabbed and graded coin that is MS70 would be a better long-term investment.

First Strike Coins were first promoted by the grading services back in 2005.

US Mint Proof Silver Eagles

Proof coins are struck multiple times on specially prepared planchets to provide a unique finish that collectors praise and value.  Proof Silver Eagles were released in their own individual mint case with documentation.

To maintain their value, collectors must not damage the case or lose the original documents. Proof Eagles are also highly valued by collectors. They are the second most valuable Silver Eagle Coins behind First Strikes.

Reverse Proof Silver Eagle Coins

The Reverse Proof Silver American Eagle was minted in 2006, 2011 ,2012 and 2013. They are another coin highly prized by investors because of their beauty and rarity.

In the traditional proof, Lady Liberty is frosted and the background is polished. Its the exact reverse for the Reverse Proof Coin.

PCGS Graded Silver Eagle

NGC Graded Silver Eagle

How Mint State American Eagles Are Graded

MS70: No imperfectons under high magnification. A perfect coin.

MS69: Any imperfection, hairlines, etc, are virtually undetectable under magnification. Finding business strike U.S. coins graded this high is rare.

MS68: An very prominent, well defined strike. Full mint luster. Outstanding eye appeal. No visible marks of any nature are present on the coins primary surfaces under average magnification power. A coin with outstanding surface quality.

MS67: Above average strike. Full mint luster and attractive eye appeal. A few tiny marks may be present and even one single hidden mark near or at an important design area of the coin may exist. No more than one significant mark.

MS66: Above average strike. Full mint luster is required for the MS66 level. A mint state 66 graded coin should have above average eye appeal and be considered attractive for the issue. A few, small scattered marks may be present, but not a single, large obvious mark that detracts from the overall nice appeal of the coin.

MS65: The strike should be at least average for the issue and preferably sharp for the issue. The luster should be above average although full mint luster is not required like MS66 and MS67 grades are. Bagmarks can be present, but should not detract greatly from the coin’s overall beauty. Generally, MS65’s are above average for the issue with attractive luster and are appealing coins overall.

MS64: The strike is average and preferabally slightly better than average. Luster should be at least average for the issue. Full mint luster is not required. Average strike for the issue. Bagmarks are present, sometimes heavier than others.

MS63: An average uncirculated coin for the issue. Full mint luster is not required, nor is full strike. Average eye appeal is sufficient to make this grade. Bagmarks are present and can be heavy at times, but they should not overwhelm the overall appeal of the coin

MS62: Slightly below average strike, luster and eye appeal. Bagmarks may be heavy and the coin’s surfaces may have some large, detracting ones.

MS61: Heavily marked with dull, unappealing luster. A MS61 graded coin may look slightly better than a MS60, but the difference is marginal at best. A very below average, generally ‘coin lacking appeal’ area of mint state.

MS60: An often unattractive, possibly impaired coin with surface distractions and scuffed, heavily bagmarked surfaces. Yet, no signs of circulation.  (PCGS)

MS70 are the most valuable for the year and mint. PCGS and NGC are the two best recognized grading services.

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