There are a few different methods of striking that are used to produce coins. This is different to coin grading which is a method of determining wear. There are 4 methods of producing coins. These are Circulation strikes, Specimen strikes, Piedfort and Proof Coins.
Circulation Coins are struck from working Dies made specifically for the high volume turning out of general circulating currency.
Specimen coins are those coins struck on the same working Dies. These differ however because the planchets have been specially prepared to allow for a better strike.
Piedfort, derived from the French word 'piedforte' meaning heavyweight is struck on a planchet twice the thickness of the regular coin. They are struck as collector pieces.
Proof coins are specially struck coins from meticulously prepared and polished Dies and planchets. These coins are then struck with perfect detail and brilliant surfaces. More recently proof coins are packaged for collectors in capsules and fancy boxes with certificates stating their limited numbers. From 1955 the Royal Australian Mint started to mass produce proof coins for collectors but prior to this proof coins are quite rare indeed. Many earlier coins may have been stored incorrectly, been poorly handled or have environmental damage and toning. A term used for an imperfect proof is an' impaired proof'. This must be taken into consideration when purchasing these coins remembering that proof is a definition of strike and not a definition of wear nor a grade.
Posted by harrisk at November 14, 2008 12:15 PM
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