Even if you are relatively new to coin collecting, you probably already know that the value of a coin is directly tied to its condition. When it comes to assessing a coin’s condition, the most important distinction is between coins that are circulated, or worn, and those that are uncirculated or have no visible wear.
A “Mint State” coin is one that is uncirculated and looks much like it did when it was made. In other words, it has at least some degree of luster, though it may be dull, and the details of the design are distinct. However, for some coin series not all the details will appear clearly struck, and examples that have those qualities are more desirable and valuable.
Determining whether a coin has any wear is not always an easy task, and Mint State coins can vary a great deal in terms of their quality, with many lower-end Mint State coins having lots of distracting marks on their surfaces. In addition, some coins that are almost uncirculated, or that have been cleaned to make them appear brighter, may appear as if they are Mint State pieces but are not.
Mint State coins do vary–especially as far as what is known as eye appeal, which is how appealing the overall appearance of a coin is to the observer. This is something that will always remain subjective.
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