"Burnished" American Silver Eagles
1 1

12 posts in this topic

I am curious if the entry for a "burnished" American Silver Eagle in the Red Book and elsewhere is what the US Mint refers to as an "Uncirculated" coin, even though I thought "burnished" meant a special mirror-like finish on the Proof coins.  For 2022 the Red Book has:

  • $1 2022 (W)(S), with a value under the Unc. column
  • $1 2022-W Burnished, with a value under the Unc. column
  • $1 2022-W, with a value under the PF column
  • $1 2022-S, with a value under the PF column

I see references to Bullion (no mint mark), Proof and Uncirculated Eagles (with a mint mark) on the US Mint website concerning the types of coins available.  Is "burnished" as used in the Red Book another way of referring to what the US Mint calls "Uncirculated" strike coins?  I am a little confused because the US Mint does describe the Proof coins as being produced by "feeding burnished (polished) coin blanks into presses fitted with special dies".  Does the Red Book just use the term "burnished" to distinguish between Bullion coins that have not been circulated [e.g. $1 2022 (W), Unc.] and the Uncirculated coins available from the mint [e.g. $1 2022-W Burnished, Unc.]?

Also, if you are collecting the American Silver Eagles, I assume you would just get the Proof coins and maybe the common bullion coins since they are so cheap, and not waste time also collecting Uncirculated or Burnished coins which just seems redundant.

Edited by EagleRJO
Typo ... swapped bullion and burnished
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes the Burnished(Red book) and Uncirculated(Mint) are the same thing when it comes to the ASE. They are the coins that resemble the standard bullion but they have a mint mark. If you are looking at the red book the standard bullion coins have the mint in parentheses (W)(S) as they also do on slab descriptions. The burnished will not. In reality, there are usually only 2 proofs and the Uncirculated/burnished coins and the occasional reverse proof or special finish yearly from the mint. Then there are the standard bullion coins that are really not meant to be a collectable but are still included in many complete collections. If you are doing registry sets then you really end up collecting labels as opposed to coins. They consider these different labels as “variants” yet they are the same coins over and over. You can really start going down the rabbit hole with these as you are paying premiums for the paper and not the coin. I collected slabbed ASEs for a while when I first started collecting coins. I got sucked into the label game and finally realized I was buying the same coins and paying for different labels. The ASE is a beautiful coin and a lot of people collect them. You can make collecting ASEs as easy or as complicated as you like. It all depends on what you would truly consider a full set.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, I actually answered my own question when I just came across the attached FAQ from the US Mint.  Apparently, they use burnished (polished) blanks for both the Proof and Uncirculated coins, and the "burnished" Red Book term and the "uncirculated" US mint terms are in fact the same thing.  You can also have "uncirculated" bullion/business strike coins intended for circulation as a precious metal (sorry @RWB I just couldn't use the technically correct "uncirculated circulation coin" since you know what I mean ... lol).

I hear you with the "label" rabbit hole, and almost went down that with the Silver Eagles, but decided on just collecting the Proof coins for the various years/mints.  When collecting them, I only intend on getting the proof coins, but I might also add the unc. bullion coins (not the "burnished" coins) because I already have a bunch of them as a precious metal, because I like the look and you can get them from large dealers for little more than bars of silver bullion.

Man, I never imagined that collecting coins could get so involved, although I find it very interesting.

US Mint Coin Types - Bullion Proof Uncirculated & Circulated - US Mint.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don’t buy slabbed anymore, but I do still get the proofs and the uncirculated from the mint each year through enrollment.

A9B586F5-077C-43C7-A10A-790AA8EC28D7.jpeg

Edited by Lem E
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only signed up for the Proof enrolment ... seems like both is going down that label rabbit hole ;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 I only buy one regular strike per year now.  I also have a full set of raw ASE that I put together as a collection of the dates for birth years for grand kids and then decided to make it a full set after collecting 14. I have a couple graded MS70 and one proof that I picked up for cheap, the rest I hand picked . The raw coins are all very nice and they all look like MS coins but in the real world they are not worth anything but what someone or the market will give me. I see you are referencing the red book on a lot of your posts. I use it  quite a bit also but that is not necessarily what a coin in hand is worth. It is a good guide but in the end there are many factors to consider. Coming to this forum is a great place to meet and talk with NGC staff, collectors, writers and dealers that have many years of experience. I for one am grateful for the friendship and knowledge that I have received here.    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/11/2022 at 12:45 AM, EagleRJO said:

"uncirculated circulation coin"

well -- it's redundant anyway. :)  The name refers to the coin's purpose "circulation" and not its condition.

The US Mint never defined "burnished" or explained why that term was used. ("Burnishing" is generally a manual process using a polished steel tool to smooth and brighten a metal surface. Obviously, that is not what was done.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/11/2022 at 7:32 AM, J P Mashoke said:

 ... I see you are referencing the red book on a lot of your posts. I use it quite a bit also but that is not necessarily what a coin in hand is worth. ...

Yes, I know a coin is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.  I have been using the Red Book, along with Greysheet values, as a guide to have a general idea of what a coin may go for, particularly for some more valuable coins I want to add to my collection.  I have been finding that values in my area generally have been falling somewhere between the two, although prices for some coins have been coming down lately.  Maybe I'll be able to add the missing 1889-CC, 1892-S and 1893-CC/O/S Morgans in my collection if they drop far enough ;-) 

On 7/11/2022 at 9:48 AM, RWB said:

... The US Mint never defined "burnished" or explained why that term was used. ...

I also don't see a definition/explanation, but they do say generally that it means using a polished coin blank on their website.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/11/2022 at 10:58 AM, EagleRJO said:

I also don't see a definition/explanation, but they do say generally that it means using a polished coin blank on their website.

...which is close to meaningless.

FYI -- During normal coinage the surfaces of working dies gradually deform to match the average surface of planchets. If planchets are polished and dies are not, the dies will slowly assume a polished or somewhat-polished appearance. Coins struck later during a die's life will be more reflective than those made early where the dies steel retains its original finish.

Edited by RWB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/11/2022 at 12:41 AM, EagleRJO said:

I only signed up for the Proof enrolment ... seems like both is going down that label rabbit hole ;-)

I am subscribed ONLY to the “uncirculated” or “burnished” ones. I gave up on the proofs it seems like about 12 years ago. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/11/2022 at 10:52 AM, Lem E said:

I don’t buy slabbed anymore, but I do still get the proofs and the uncirculated from the mint each year through enrollment.

A9B586F5-077C-43C7-A10A-790AA8EC28D7.jpeg

Nice, I like them. I used to gather information online on coins and for that, I always save those pages where I found information related to old coins. I am glad I found this website when I was searching for the https://plagiarism.studyclerk.com/ website online because I want to check my essay assignment over there. Now, I will surely visit over here again and again to find more information.

Nice, I like them.

Edited by LaurenceBrennan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
1 1