Frequently asked questions:



Proof v. Uncirculated?

We explain the difference .
We are always being asked the difference between proof and uncirculated coins. One very brief explanation is that proofs are shinier, but of course this oversimplifies the matter slightly.

The word "uncirculated" means exactly what it says, the coin has not been in circulation, however "ordinary" uncirculated coins often have bagmarks, edge knocks and other small scuffs and imperfections. Uncirculated "specimen" coins issued specially for collectors are often more carefully produced and handled, so they may be better than ordinary coins mass produced for circulation, but may still have some small imperfections.

Proof coins are specially produced to a much higher standard of finish. Originally, proofs were intended as pre-production samples. As a printer would produce a small number of "proof" copies for checking and approval, so a mint would produce proofs for approval by the mintmaster, the monarch, and for other purposes. When coin collecting began to become popular about two centuries ago, a larger number of proofs were sometimes made for sale to collectors. This has developed enormously in the past few decades, and most countries, but not all, produce proof coin and sets every year or on special occasions.

Different Proof Finishes
Not all proofs are the same. The most common understanding of proof is that the flat background parts of the coin have a highly polished mirror finish, and the raised parts of the design have a matt finish, giving a higher level of contrast between the two. This is achieved by sand-blasting the die, the hardened steel punch with which the blank coins are struck, to give a matt finish, followed by giving the raised parts of the die a highly polished surface, usually by polishing them with diamond powder. The coin blanks themselves are usually produced to a higher quality of finish before striking. Proof coins are usually double struck at lower striking speeds, to give a higher and sharper definition. They are usually produced on a special machine, and may be hand, rather than mechanically fed into and extracted from the coining press. They are usually individually inspected, and packaged. A proof coin should provide an excellent specimen, and its quality should approach perfection.
Some proof coins are made with an all matt finish, as for example the 1902 Edward VII Coronation proof coins, while others are produced as "reverse proofs", i.e. with the raised parts polished and the background matt.

Our Photographs
We have shown two photographs, both of the reverse side of 2001 sovereigns. The first photo shows a proof coin, the second photo is of an uncirculated one. It is not easy to photograph coins. The background of both coins looks a very dark chocolate brown, but in real life they are yellow. The contrast between matt and polished surfaces shows up very well on the proof coin and this allows fine details to be seen more easily, whereas on the uncirculated coin, the raised design is also slightly polished, and this results in it being more difficult to distinguish the details of the design from the background.

Which is the Better Buy?
Some collectors only collect proof coins, others only non-proof coins. For the non-collector, it can be difficult to decide which is the better coin to buy. We are often asked for advice when people wish to buy a sovereign as a gift. Our general advice here is that it depends what you think the recipient will wish to do with the coin. For use in jewellery, it is better to use ordinary non-proof coins, as proofs would be spoilt. If the recipient is likely to keep and display the coin in its original box, then a proof one may be better.

Investment & Future Value
Normally proof coins will sell for higher prices than non-proof ones, however this does not always apply. Our advice is to buy coins for the pleasure you will obtain by owning them, wearing them, or giving them. If you follow this advice, any future value will be a bonus.

( addendum: Proof-like coins are more brilliant than BU coins but the quality is lower than proof coins though )

GOLDSILVER.BE can NOT sell better coins than anywhere else as the coins come from the same producers.


2. There're white spots on my ( Canadian ) coins, is that normal?

- Yes, it's called "Milk spots".

Milk spots and dark oxidation can easily be erased with a very soft, clean school rubber; once the spots erased, wipe  the coin shiny with a very soft cloth.

You' d better NOT CLEAN the coins; milk spot are of no importance for connoisseurs.

- Most bullion coins are B.U. coins; B.U. means brilliant uncirculated. Spots, slight scratches, depressions, irregularities are common on bullion coins, even when they are encapsuled.

If you're looking for perfect coins, you'd rather buy proof coins which happen to show irregularities as well but less important.

"Bag Marks"
When coins are minted they often bump into each other and receive small nicks and abrasion marks during the production process. These marks also occur as coins are transported in large canvas bags. These marks, sometimes called "bag marks", are more noticeable on larger coins, such as half dollars and dollars. Typical "bag marks" do not keep a coin from grading uncirculated. However, they can be an indicator of how high of a grade the un-circulated coin might receive.

Current accepted grading standards provide for a range of uncirculated grades, from the grade of MS-60 to MS-70. MS60 would be a lower grade (yet still) un-circulated coin with normal bag marks for that type of coin. Anything below MS-60 would not be considered uncirculated. MS70 would be the perfect "ideal" coin. Some coins are rare in grades MS65 to MS70, and even unheard of in MS70 grade. (The attribute "MS" stands for "mint state".)

An uncirculated coin may show tarnish, toning, spotting, or discoloration and still remain in uncirculated condition. Experts recommend you "never clean a tarnished coin", because most cleaning will cause wear on a coin, and thus lower its grade (and often its value).

What's a proof coin?
A newly minted proof coin is also Un-circulated, however it is the way it is made that causes a difference in appearance and qualifies it as a "proof". To understand this, let's look at how coins are made. Coins are produced when two dies strike a blank piece of metal with tremendous force. One die is engraved with the front (obverse) design for the coin. The other die has the back (reverse) coin design on it.

3. There're scratches on the kilo and 10 oz coin capsules, is that normal?

The bigger coins are send abroad by the producers in cardboard boxes. During transport and handling, the friction of the capsules vs the cardboard can cause some scratches. The aim of the capsules is to protect the coins. If scratches on capsules had to be avoided, it would be necessary to protect the capsules with an extra capsule, and that extra one with another ...

Proof coins come in proof capsules which are in perfect condition as they are in their specific protective boxes. If you're looking for perfect capsules, buy proof coins.

In other words, DO NOT EXPECT from a B.U. coin the perfection of a PROOF coin. Beginners often make this mistake.

4. Where do I better store my coins ?

In a dry place.

Never tell anybody you have pm coins.

5. Do you recommend gold , platinum or silver ?

Silver is more volatile. To the upside as the downside.

6. Do you buy back ?

Yes, we do. Send your list to, we'll make an offer.

7. Do the coins come with a certificate?

Coins never come with a certificate except when it is clearly mentioned in the description. 

Legal tender coins don't need a certificate. The legal tender value is defined in the law of the country of issue, this is the sufficient certification.

Only products,  that are no legal tender , produced by private mints, need certificates and stamps and paperwork in order to inspire confidence.

Legal tender coins don't need artifice to be recognized, certified, trustworthy and guaranteed.

8. Is it possible to ask to choose a coin in perfect condition?

Yes, it is, but this service costs 25 euros/coin. You'd rather buy a proof coin.

9. Is it possible to combine orders?

Orders can be combined. You'll have to pay shipping costs on your first order; all following orders are free shipping. Please let us know AFTER your first order you want to combine.

From the second order on, shipping costs will be discounted AFTER you've entered your order.

10. The weight of my coin is not 31.15 gr. but 34 gr. ! How come ?

It's logical: 31.14gr pure gold = 1 oz pure gold

The Gold Eagle, Krugerrand and some other coins, are composed of gold and some copper; that's 1 oz fine gold + other metal = +-34gr.

The minimum weight of a 1 oz coin is 31.15gr.

10. Do you have the coins in stock?

Almost all orders are shipped within 72 hours after payment is received.

For orders larger than 300 000 euros, we may ask a delay.

11. Is the site safe?

All sensitive information ( customers' acounts ) are not "on site" which makes any intrusion attemp vain.

12. Does GOLDSILVER.BE offer storage in FREE ZONE to avoid VAT rules ?

This is prohibited by the EU regulations.

At any moment, National or European Tax services can contact you to have import taxes paid. Larger such transactions can be qualified as fraudulent.

Such goods may, following the period in the free zones, be released for free circulation (subject to payment of import duty and other charges), or be placed under another special procedure (e.g. inward processing, temporary admission or end-use procedures – under the conditions laid down for these procedures) or re-exported.

Taxation and Customs Union - Free zones


13. Special note for Ebay resellers / addicts:

GOLDSILVER.BE always ships as quickly as possible. Harrassing or asking for favours is useless.

Paypal protection is usefull in Ebay's crook land. GOLDSILVER.BE is a national registered company and we're honest people, no need sending numereous emails thus, we prefer spending time working than reading useless messages.