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How do I distinguish between proof copper nickel three cent coins and higher grade business strikes?


  • MarkKelleyMarkKelley Posts: 1,676 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Proofs have squared rims and mirrored edges. Business strikes do not.

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,728 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You are probably best off sticking to coins that are already slabbed by a major TPG like PCGS. Proof production during some of the years three cent nickels were produced can be hard to distinguish from the mint state versions.

    All glory is fleeting.
  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @bpurcell22.... Welcome aboard.... The advice above is very good... get the Redbook and some coin specific books, review internet sources, there are many. Also, keep asking questions here... Good luck, Cheers, RickO

  • yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,468 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 23, 2021 3:04PM

    It can be quite difficult, because often the proof dies were then used for business strikes,
    so you can't use the die markers like date position in those cases.
    Allan Gifford's book has plates for most or all of the proof dies, so you can use it to sometimes rule out a coin as a proof.

    Gary Rosner has nice photos of die markers for 1871, 1872, 1873, 1875, 1878 proofs:
    The 1871 page can be viewed at:

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,211 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 23, 2021 2:46PM

    Some proof 3 cent nickels can look like a business strike. Better buy one already slabbed.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,260 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @asheland said:
    Some proof 3 cent nickels can look like a business strike. Better buy one already slabbed.


    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.

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