Learn Grading: What Are Antiqued and Matte?

Posted on 3/10/2020

Learn about these special finishes and how NGC attributes them.

NGC uses a numeric grade to succinctly describe a problem-free coin's condition. The numeric grade is typically preceded by an abbreviation that indicates the way the coin was struck and, for circulation issues, its approximate condition.

NGC uses the Matte and Antiqued designations after the numeric grade to describe a special type of surface that gives the coin some extra pizzazz. These two designations can be used with either Uncirculated (MS) or Proof (PF) coins.


Matte is an intentionally non-reflective finish used on certain coins. It is achieved by sandblasting the dies prior to the hardening process. This imparts a very finely grained texture that scatters the reflected light, thus cutting down on the glare of conventional, brilliant proofs and allowing the viewer to more effectively examine the nuances of the design.

China 1986 13th Football World Cup Silver 5 Yuan graded NGC PF 69 Matte.
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Belize 1975FM United Nations 30th Anniversary Gold $100 graded NGC MS 70 Matte.
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US 1909 $5 graded NGC PF 67 Matte.
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The desired effect of antiquing is to impart a uniform color and texture to a coin or medal while simultaneously protecting its surfaces from the unattractive toning and spotting that affect many conventional proofs. This is achieved by chemically treatment after striking to "pre-stain" the surfaces. Copper and bronze pieces typically are left without further treatment after being chemically stained, though silver and other "white" metals may also be rubbed with a cloth to create a two-toned effect between fields and devices.

Niue 2018MW Perseus Silver $2 graded NGC MS 70 Antiqued
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Cameroon 2019MW Queen Anne’s Revenge Silver 2,000 Francs graded NGC MS 70 Antiqued
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China 2019 Panda – Forbidden City Silver Medal graded NGC PF 70 Antiqued
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NGC attributes Matte and Antiqued automatically as part of the coin’s grade. NGC maintains a glossary at NGCcoin.com/glossary for these and other terms commonly used in numismatics.

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