Know Your Coins

Date Posted:5 October 2015 

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Proof or Uncirculated? Proof or Uncirculated?

Many people ask what is the difference between proof and uncirculated coins, and more so is an uncirculated coin just a coin that has not gone into circulation.  In this blog I have referenced the Royal Australian Mints website which explains the differences very well.


A carefully struck coin using special dies with either a mirror-like or matt finish. These coins are especially struck and the term is not used to describe a well-preserved circulating coin. Proof is a method of manufacture, not a condition or grade.

Uncirculated (UNC)

Uncirculated coins are manufactured in much the same way as circulated coins except for the following:

  • More attention and time is given to the preparation of the die surface finish,

  • The coins are struck with greater pressure than the circulating coins to improve the sharpness of the design.

  • More care and attention is applied at each step in the coining process to minimise damage, consequently a much lower production rate of about 30,000 coins per press per day is achieved.

  • Uncirculated coins are packaged individually into plastic sleeves, presentation folders or occasionally presentation cases.

FRUNC (Frosted Uncirculated)

Very similar to uncirculated coins but with the following differences:

  • The background or 'field' of the die is finely sand-blasted and the impression is polished to a bright finish. This creates a contrast that enhances the detail of the actual design.

  • The frosted and polished areas are in reverse to that on a proof coin, so that the image has a polished appearance, and the field is frosted.


I hope this has answered a few questions, I would highly advise and encourage any one visiting Canberra to call into the Royal Australian Mint and take the tour, there is so much more to Australian Currency than just being the loose change in your pocket.

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