I am fairly new here, but I have already seen LOTS of the of posts asking if a 96P penny is a proof coin or if some older nicer-than-average coin is a proof with no mint mark etc. because it was shiny. I understand where people are coming from, but generally speaking, actual proof sets look like mirrors and have an S. They also shouldn't be in circulation in the first place - but can be found there occasionally if someone cracked a set and spent it. This is rare, but I have found one before.
However, there are other reasons for coins to be shiny than being a proof, especially when not an 'S' mint mark. Can someone help me/the world understand likely other reasons for extra 'shininess' we might encounter? Maybe this can help get less questions about impossibly rare 'wrong mint mark proofs'...
1. Being uncirculated. Does every coin come off the press Brilliant Uncirculated? Or is there something that makes some shinier than others?
The coins attached were both found in a bank roll and are in good shape for pocket change. They have a similar number of minor nicks/scratches, but one has a frosted/clouded finish like almost every nice pocket change coin in collection books. However, the other is one of 5-6 I have found that have a mirrory proof-like finish, but is still a 'P' or 'D'. Did I just catch them sooner in their life than others or is there another reason?
2. I also saw that the National Park Quarters are/were sold in collector sets of 6 coins. They aren't 'proof' sets, but they are collector sets with a D mint mark and a nice finish. Have I really found a half dozen coins from broken sets spent as change? Seems unlikely, but maybe.
What other reasons do some have mirrory finishes that stand out from the rest?
Thanks in advance!
- Long time passive collector, but noob serious collector