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Differences Between Proof & Prooflike Coins

 
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 Posted 10/21/2020  7:59 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CCFPress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
PCGS - Distinguishing between Proof and Prooflike coins may seem a little more challenging than one might think at first blush. After all, both Proof and Prooflike coins seem similar in appearance, as both types of coins usually feature a degree of surface reflectivity, some pieces more than others. And, sometimes, it may seem that certain Prooflike coins offer more brilliance than coins designated as Proofs. So, what's the real difference between Proof and Prooflike coins, and how can you can tell these two types of coins apart?


Morgan dollar, 1881 $1, PL, PCGS MS65+PL



Morgan dollar, 1881 $1, PCGS PR67+


It's All in the Method of Manufacture
While Prooflike coins are "shiny" coins, a proof is distinguished by so much more than its gleam. When it comes to United States coins, Proof refers not to a grade or level of brilliance on a coin's surface, but rather to the method of the coin's manufacture; interestingly, Proof coins were traditionally referred to as a "Master Coins."

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 Posted 10/21/2020  10:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JoeTheLucky to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
So in other words you can't tell the difference by looking at it? And how are proofs manufactured differently from proof-like specimens?
Thanks
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 Posted 10/21/2020  11:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add psuman08 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
So I was looking at the definitions on both the PCGS and NGC site. For the PL designation they both talk about reflectivity of the fields. Does that mean that there is no frosting or cameo required to get the PL designation?

For proofs they specify frosted devices are necessary.

Would love to hear some of the experts thoughts on this.
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 Posted 10/22/2020  02:37 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Proofs have been around for a lot longer than polished fields and cameo reliefs.

The original idea of a proof coin is that
it is to be the best possible quality off the dies, and was used as comparison standard for business strikes. Proofs were a method of quality control.

Very often for a date or type, less that 100 examples were made, and as such, these sort of proofs can be extremely rare, and thus highly valuable, especially if still in high PR condition. In circulated condition, it can be hard to obviously tell the difference between a proof and a good business strike.
In this state a novice collector could easily miss and old style proof, especially if it has been circulated.
It is essential to know what you are looking for.


Not anymore.
These days, proofs are specially made collector mint product coins. Production numbers can run into the hundreds of thousands. They are a profit money spinner for the Mint.
Proofs are now prepared from specially prepared blanks, then planchets and then struck from polished field dies, with cameo reliefs.
Quite often in the cameo process, some relief detail is lost, and I have seen sharper relief detail in business strikes than I have seen in the relief detail of cameo proofs, even in encapsulated by the Mint PR-70 examples. That is a pity.
The U.S. Mint seems to have a better cameo process for the dies than does the RCM or the RAM.


Prooflike coins re produced in much the same way as modern cameo proofs but less expense is consumed in their production. Polished dies are still the norm, but less often polished blanks then planchets are used.

DMPL Morgans are a different kettle of fish altogether.
They are the very first examples off new dies (DMPL), then the next group to follow are just PL, as the dies wear.
AS such, a high grade DMPL or PL Morgan commands all of the collector respect that they get, much as the old style proofs mentioned above, and are just about as rare.
Edited by sel_69l
10/22/2020 02:51 am
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 Posted 10/22/2020  05:45 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scopru to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice added info sel
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 Posted 10/22/2020  12:35 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add twslisa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I love these articles!
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 Posted 10/23/2020  7:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add psuman08 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks sel - I get that there are different processes is making Proof and circulation coins. I am specifically asking about Morgan dollars, not modern Pls.

Morgan proofs require frosted devices to get a CAM or DCAM designation.

The definition for PL and DMPL circulation strike Morgans does not mention anything about the frosting on the devices but the reflectivity of the fields.

So my question worded differently is to get a PL or DMPL designation from PCGS or NGC, do the devices need to be frosted?
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 Posted 10/23/2020  8:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
With DMPL's and PL's,
as I understand it, - no.
The devices may look frosted, but in actual fact are no more frosted than any other strikes in the production run during the die life pair.
The "PL" effect refers to the mirror effect of the fields only, and no attempt is made to frosting the devices on the dies during their preparation.
That helps to explain why modern NCLT proofs may have less definition in the devices than the old DMPL Morgans.
With modern proofs, some device definition is lost as a result of the frosting process, be it by sand blasting or laser etching.
Edited by sel_69l
10/23/2020 8:51 pm
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 Posted 10/24/2020  2:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add psuman08 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the clarification.
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