The term “uncirculated” may have three different meanings when applied to a coin:
- It can refer to the particular manufacturing process by which a coin is made
- It can be used as a grade when referring to a coin’s degree of preservation and quality of the strike
- It can point to the fact that a coin has not been used in everyday commerce
At the United States Mint, the term uncirculated refers to the special coining process used to make the coin, which gives it a brilliant finish. Uncirculated coins are manufactured using the same process as circulating coins, but with quality enhancements such as slightly higher coining force, early strikes from dies, special cleaning after stamping, and special packaging. Uncirculated coins may vary to some degree because of blemishes, toning, or slight imperfections.