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The difference between coins is not merely a question of the metal used to make them. A coin’s quality depends on the artistic excellence of the engraving and the effort involved in the preparation of minting tools and blanks. As in the case of wine, it is not only a case of the grape used but also how much heart and soul is applied in the whole development process. The three official qualities that result form this process are classified as Uncirculated, Special Uncirculated and Proof quality.
Uncirculated coins correspond to the quality of the normal euro circulation coins produced by the Austrian Mint, which have successfully passed all quality controls. Think of them as top quality table wine, for which ‘normal’ is on no account a substitute for ‘average’.
Special Uncirculated quality
As early strikes in a series struck from a new die, which are individually quality checked and packed with care immediately after minting, Special Uncirculated coins are the numismatic equivalent of quality ‘reserve’ wine.
The fruit of the very highest level of minting craftsmanship and processing, Proof quality coins are the ‘Grand reserve’, or the crème de la crème, of the numismatic world. Only after 22 different high-precision preparatory steps is the die used to strike the first blank, which is then subjected to the most rigorous technical demands. The interplay between a Proof coin’s polished and frosted surfaces provides the ideal environment for numismatic artists to display their skills and creates a unique visual experience. Before each coin leaves the Austrian Mint it is scrutinised in minute detail to guarantee that design, craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology have successfully transformed a simple piece of metal into a work of art.
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