MS vs PF
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3 posts in this topic

It's very simple.  Proofs were made much more carefully so a much larger percentage of them started out in high grade than the business strikes  which received no special care or handling.  Then the proofs were put in (somewhat) protective packaging and acquired by collectors that tended to take care of them and stored them in proper environments.  The business strikes were used in general commerce, and the vast majority of them were circulated, damaged, acquired undesirable toning etc.  So today, even though the proofs have a much lower initial mintage, the number of top grade coins is much greater than the number of surviving top grade business strikes.  The business strikes, being much rarer, command a higher price.  In other words PF-67 1961 cents are much more available than MS-67 red 1961 cents.

In same case MS coins practically don't exist while proofs are relatively abundant.  I collected shield nickels.  In 1880 the made 16,000 business strike coins and 3,955 proofs.  Today only a few MS coins are known at any level, and can easily bring 5 figures.  There are probably 3,000 proofs still around and they can be had for under $1000.  It's a matter of supply and demand.

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Also be advised that it can be risky to purchase such modern high grade mint state coins at that price level. The appearance of a roll of these can tank prices in a heart beat.

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