The image at left is a comparison of the edges of a 1914 matte proof (left) next to a 1914 business strike (right) coin. The edge of a matte proof will always be flatter, smoother, and more reflective then its more rounded business strike counterpart. A matte proof will stand alone on its edge very easily. Further, the inside and outside edges of the rim, as seen in the images below with the matte proof on the left and the business strike on the right in each image, will be sharper and crisper. A matte proof will have its inside edge drop off more steeply and therefore the coin will exhibit less of an inside curved dish than a business strike. A matte proof may also have a slight fin on the far outside of the rim around the coin
In general a matte proof coin will have the following surface and edge characteristics to help differentiate it from its business strike counterpart:
• More detail in the image and design elements.
• A surface matte appearance resulting from the blasting of the die surface. Wear and toning may result in this surface being lost.
• Flatter, smoother, and more reflective rims.
• Sharper and crisper edges on the outside and inside of the rim.
• Less dishing of the coin than for a business strike.

To be absolutely confident when authenticating a matte proof coin you must examine the die characteristics for that year as described below on the obverse and reverse for the 1914 matte proof.


A single set of die pairs was used for 1914 matte proofs. For all die states there is a small scratch from the field to the top left of the D in GOD. The red ellipse is my best guess as to where this is. Apparently the die scratch inside the top of the D from left to right is not significant as Flynn does not mention it.

Die scratch above the WE.

Die scratch near the rim above the TR of TRUST.

Another die scratch near the rim above the ST of TRUST.

A die chip above the first 1 in the date. A die scratch through and above LIBERTY was not detected.

For the late die state heavy die scratches in the area between the chin and the date. Heavy die scratches in front of the nose were not seen.


Two parallel die scratches between the I and the B of PLURIBUS. These are from a master reverse die used on matte proof Lincoln cents from 1910 to 1914.

Die scratch from the lower right leg of the M of UNUM in to the area above the E of ONE. This is from a master reverse die used on matte proof Lincoln cents from 1910 to 1914.

A die scratch from the right side of the N down to the bottom of the T in CENT.