Recently, I was looking at some Silver Eagle coins on eBay, and noticed a lot of the auctions mentioned that their coin was a “first strike”. These are proof coins.
One auction said:
What I’m wondering is, what difference does it make? Who cares if a coin is “first strike” or not? I mean, why would that make it more desirable? I know when you’re talking cars, you don’t want some of the first ones made because often-times, they’re still working the bugs out.
Are these coins more desirable because the dies are newer and thus the coins more pristene? Or don’t they change the dies every so often during the run so you could get a “fresh” die later in the run anyways?
I’m new to the whole coin thing…but have wondered about this.
Any light anyone can shed on the whole “first strike” issue would be appreciated!
It’s strictly of concern to collectors, a lot like first editions of books (plus first first editions, and a few first first first editions). It is simply a limit on the number of coins that can have this designation, which means there is a finite number of them. This can mean that they will increase in value faster. OTOH, I have seen commercials for “first strike” commemorative coins, so it may not have much effect at all.
Saoirse summed it up reasonably well, but there is a difference.
With books, a first edition/first printing typically isn’t different from a second printing of that same edition, except for possibly a minor change on the copyright page. If there’s any way to tell the difference, though, the first/first will be more valuable to collectors than a later printing first edition.
With coins, there is (potentially) a difference. Once you’ve created the die, each coin stamped with it introduces some wear, and potentially dings, scratches, and other imperfections. The first few runs of coins will be the closest to perfect that the die is capable of producing–thus their extra value.
I don’t understand your comment. There’s no denying that the dies used to strike coins wear rapidly. The first coins off a new die ARE higher quality than the rest, as a general principle. And why do you have to buy them?
Yeah, but that doesn’t add value to them in any real sense – they’re still uncirculated coins to the collector, whether “first strike” or “last strike.”
Proof coins are the exception – they’re manufactured from special dies and planchets by a separate process, and commonly as beautiful as that style of coin can get.
What Sam’s saying is that it’s a gimmick, a way to sell to the unwary, like the ads for “legal tender” coins you sometimes see, which neglect to mention that the coins are only legal tender on three atolls in the South Pacific (plus a reef that’s above water at low tide). And he “has to buy them” (or rather, has to make an offer for them which will offend the guy taken in by the gimmick ad) because he himself is a professional coin dealer.
Maybe the silver eagles you get the first week or two in January can be certified as “first strike” only in the sense that they came off the die first. But they don’t just use one die for the whole of 2006 to strike silver eagles or any other coin. They use multiple “working dies.” So, it’s still a gimmick.
How much are they selling them for? Bring them in to any local coin shop after you buy them and see what you’ll get.
Now, I understand that they may bring more on eBay right now. The stupidity of the public is not to be reckoned with.
But, buy them at your risk. When I offer you $12 each some day, don’t blame me.
I understand what you and samclem are saying now, but it’s also improtant to note that there are many grades of “uncirculated” - MS-60 all the way up to MS-70. The highest grade coins are mostly first strike, though not necessarily “first strike”, if you know what I mean.