First strike coins: What are they and who deems them worthy of such a title? Also, why do collectors want to get their hands on them?
First strike coins are simply just that, the very first of a new coin or design struck with a sparkling new, never been used before die. Many experts go one step further by stating that the coins must be of a particular year or design. That being said, it is imperative to know there is no actual industry standard when grading a first strike coin.
Which leads us to the second question at hand, who deems the coins worthy of such a title as “first strike.”
“Our manufacturing facilities use a die set as long as the quality of resulting coins meets United States Mint standards and then replace the dies, continually changing sets throughout the production process. This means that coins may be minted from new die sets at any point and at multiple times while production of a coin is ongoing, not just the first day or at the beginning of production.”
--Statement by the United States Mint representative
Additionally, the only coins noted or “kept track of” for first strike purposes are those struck for commemorative sets or special minting ceremonies.
Seeing as how the United States Mint has gone on record to clarify they do not keep track of “first strike,” “first release,” nor anything thereof, it is reasonable to assume that coin graders and collectors have developed their own means of determining what a first strike coin is. When consulting Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation websites, the only requirement to be labeled as “first strike” is for the coins to be shipped from the United States Mint within the first 30 days of release.
With regards to value, it is safe to say that first strike coins are at the peak of their value when first released. The value of the coins typically depletes rapidly as time goes on. It is only when a collector is looking for a particular coin, can one find a significant return on their initial investment.
While first strike coins are something of a controversy, it does not deter from the fact that many are still considered quite valuable in the coin world.
If you like this article, then you might enjoy other articles in our archives, such as What Is Coin Grading
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