Author Topic: Difference between a specimen coin and a proof coin?  (Read 12976 times)

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Offline Harry

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Difference between a specimen coin and a proof coin?
« on: June 27, 2012, 10:03:49 PM »
Does specimen and proof mean the same thing? If so why do reference books and TPG services use them differently? British India coins have Proofs whereas Swiss coins have Specimens. I'm sure there is a technical difference.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 04:18:03 AM by Harry »
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Online Abhay

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Re: Difference between a specimen coin and a proof coin?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2012, 04:15:52 AM »
What I feel, is that Specimen Coins are first made in limited numbers (about 5-6 sets), for taking the approval from the concerned authorities. Only when the designs are finalised, the official minting of the coins begin.

So, the Specimen sets are meant just for taking the approval, and are not supposed to be in the market for sale.

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Offline @josephjk

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Re: Difference between a specimen coin and a proof coin?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2012, 04:43:56 AM »
So a specimen coin would be the same as an exp coin?

Offline Harry

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Re: Difference between a specimen coin and a proof coin?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2012, 06:04:13 AM »


After posting the question I did some searching around and here is what I think the difference is.  Specimen coins are made by the mint to show case what the coin is going to look like and these coins were probably sent to banks and government entities. Just like specimen notes are sent to banks to show what new notes are going to look and feel like. Where as proof coins are produced specifically for the collector they have a better strike and a have a polished look.   So specimen coins are not intended to be sold to the public but proofs are.

I also suspect that some mints do use the words interchangeably.  I.e producing proofs for the collector but also calling them specimens.

So Abhay I don't think that specimens were/are necessarily produced in smaller numbers. Also Joseph, I don't think that specimens are experimental coins - they are past that stage.

Again, this is my thinking / assumption - please comment/correct.
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Offline Bimat

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Re: Difference between a specimen coin and a proof coin?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2012, 04:04:08 PM »
I think specimen coin is same as pattern coin. Specimen coins are not struck for collectors or for circulation, while proof coins are exclusively struck for collectors.

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Online Figleaf

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Re: Difference between a specimen coin and a proof coin?
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2012, 12:56:08 AM »
I think you got it quite right, Harry, especially where you speculate that some mints use the term interchangeably. I would just add that language may play a role also. Proof is a typically English term, hard and confusing to translate e.g. in French, German or Dutch. Proof is Polierte Platte (polished flan) in German, Gepolijst stempel in Dutch, terms that don't do justice to the procedure. Words that sound closer (Probe, proef) denote patterns, not proofs. Specimen is a way out.

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Offline brokencompass

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Re: Difference between a specimen coin and a proof coin?
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2012, 02:23:17 AM »
Isn't a strike before the coin actually minted in large numbers called a Trial strike?

I've read that the word specimen has been interchangeably used for proof by some mints.
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Offline Coinsforever

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Re: Difference between a specimen coin and a proof coin?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2012, 02:35:19 AM »

After posting the question I did some searching around and here is what I think the difference is.  Specimen coins are made by the mint to show case what the coin is going to look like and these coins were probably sent to banks and government entities. Just like specimen notes are sent to banks to show what new notes are going to look and feel like. Where as proof coins are produced specifically for the collector they have a better strike and a have a polished look.   So specimen coins are not intended to be sold to the public but proofs are.

I also suspect that some mints do use the words interchangeably.  I.e producing proofs for the collector but also calling them specimens.

So Abhay I don't think that specimens were/are necessarily produced in smaller numbers. Also Joseph, I don't think that specimens are experimental coins - they are past that stage.

Again, this is my thinking / assumption - please comment/correct.


Theoretically your opinion is valid .

As I believe and as opined by others such specimen are not meant for general public unil approved and it is  sort of confidential process prior to release of coins for circulation.

But practically from collector's point of view who are usually unaware  , how to differentiate which one is  genuine specimen coin , any privy marks , special features to observe . (excluding packing because  pirated stuff are flooded a lot in market)

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