What is a Brilliant Uncirculated Coin?

Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) is the description of a coin that has never been circulated as currency and still has its original luster.

 BU coins are also known as “mint state” or “uncirculated” coins.

Brilliant Uncirculated Coins are usually minted to a higher finish than circulated coins and many coin collectors consider these to be any coins that would grade from 60-70 on the Sheldon Grading Scale.

BU coins are available from The Royal Mint, UK coin dealers, or eBay UK.

What’s a BUNC coin?

2023 Brilliant Uncirculated Commemorative Coin Set
2023 Brilliant Uncirculated Commemorative Coin Set

The meaning of BUNC coins (also known as BU) in coin collecting refers to Brilliant Uncirculated grade coins that are direct from the mint (or approved reseller) and have not entered general circulation. Those you find in your change from the local shop or a vending machine are called circulated coins. BUNC or BU are both commonly used short-terms.

Sometimes referred to as ‘BU’ or ‘BUNC’, Brilliant Uncirculated coins are of a higher standard than circulating and bullion coins. An entry-level collectible, like Proof coins, the dies used to strike these coins are polished and finished by hand.

The Brilliant Uncirculated blanks are machine-fed and struck twice. As a result, they are produced at a much quicker rate than Proof coins – around 100 per hour. They offer a good level of design detail but have a lower definition than Proof coins.

Uncirculated coin meaning the coin has not entered circulation via banks and UK Post Offices.

Are BU Coins Worth Anything?

BUNC coins are typically produced in limited quantities and are often considered to be more valuable than non-BUNC coins due to their rarity and high-quality finish.

BUNC coins are often collected by numismatists and coin collectors who are interested in the quality and craftsmanship of the coins they collect. These coins are typically well-struck and have clear, crisp details, making them attractive to collectors who appreciate the finer points of coin design and production.

BUNC coins can be found in a variety of denominations and can feature a wide range of designs, from historical figures and landmarks to modern cultural icons. If you are interested in collecting BUNC coins, it is a good idea to do some research and get a sense of the market before investing in any particular coin.

How much is a BUNC coin?

As part of the Great British Coin Hunt, the Royal Mint releases coins into general circulation for you to find by chance but if you decide to become a more serious British coin collector, then BUNC coins are available direct from the Royal Mint or on resale on the eBay site.

We recommend that you always check the Royal Mint coin shop first, as coins may be cheaper than people are reselling them for on eBay. The Royal Mint BUNC coins typically cost £12 + P&P for a 50-pence coin including a sealed swing bag with the coin attached to an information card about the event or person the coin is commemorating.

BU Quality Coins

Please check directly with the eBay coin seller the description and condition of any coin listing prior to purchase.

We have seen listings stating “Brilliant Uncirculated condition” on circulated coins. Since BU coins are typically minted to a higher proof finish than circulated coins, even a coin from circulation in great condition cannot be claimed to be the same as a BUNC coin.

BUNC coins may never have been touched by human hands after leaving the mint since they are usually sealed in a BU coin pack. These coin packs also add to the value of the coin since the Royal Mint versions contain an informational card about the coin or the person/event it is celebrating.

Which is better Proof or Brilliant Uncirculated Coins?

If you are wanting something of exquisite detail and intricacy, go for Proof, if you want something that still has a good level of detail and intricacy but is of a higher mintage, then go for Brilliant Uncirculated.

Graded Coins

Some BUNC coins have been submitted for grading with either of the 2 major Numismatic Gradings Companies, NGC or PCGS. Expect to pay a premium for a Mint State (MS) or Proof State (PF) coin.

NGC graded coins are coins that have been evaluated, graded and encapsulated by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). NGC is a professional coin grading and certification service that was established in 1987. It is considered one of the most reputable and widely recognized coin grading companies in the world.

NGC uses a strict set of grading standards to evaluate and grade coins. These standards take into account a variety of factors, such as the coin’s condition, strike quality, and overall appearance. Once a coin has been evaluated and graded, it is encapsulated in a tamper-evident holder that bears the coin’s grade, a description of its condition and other relevant information.

NGC graded coins are considered more valuable than coins that have not been graded by a professional service because they have been evaluated by experts using strict standards. Additionally, the encapsulation of the coin provides protection to the coin preserving the grade, this makes it more attractive to collectors and investors.

NGC graded coins are widely accepted by dealers and collectors, and are often considered to be the standard for coin grading in the numismatic industry. They can include coins from ancient to modern, from different countries and different metals.

In summary, NGC graded coins are coins that have been evaluated, graded and encapsulated by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) using strict standards, this certification increases the value of the coin and make it more attractive to collectors and investors.

Post Office Coin Bags

Coin Bag
Coin Bag

The Royal Mail Post Office Service and some banks can provide coins in sealed coin bags, typically for business owners who need to put change into their vending machines or cash drawers.

These coin bags are sometimes broken down to be sold as individual coins and claimed to be BUNC coins as technically have not been in general circulation.

You may find that these coins still show signs of knocking into the other coins in the bag (usually 20 coins per bag) so will have little dings on the edges. Even so, as we said before, BUNC coins are minted to a higher standard and will always be of better quality than coins from coin bags.

Don’t pay more for a coin bag coin on eBay, especially when the Royal Mint coin shop may still have the same coin available to buy in their BU coin packs.

Blue Carded BUNC Coins


Some coin dealers on eBay are offering commemorative British Coins in BUNC grade on a blue card (with or without a hologram). These are often much cheaper than the Royal Mint BU Coin Packs, but do not typically include the attractive colour illustration information cards that you get with the Royal Mint version.

If you simply want the coin without all the packaging, this is a cheaper way to add them to your coin collection. Just check the coin prices for both to make sure that you don’t pay MORE for a blue card coin versus the Royal Mint pack.

Capsule Edition Coins

The huge increase in interest in collecting British Coins has spurned the release of BUNC coins in protective capsules, often referred to as Capsule Edition coins. The Royal Mint doesn’t produce these however some coin collectors like them as a nice way to display their favourite coins.

What’s the difference between BUNC, Proof, and Bullion coins?

BUNC, proof, and bullion coins are all different types of coins that are produced by mints around the world.

BUNC stands for Brilliant Uncirculated. BUNC coins are those that have not been circulated and are in perfect condition. They are often sold directly by the mints and are considered collectible items. These coins are usually struck multiple times with specially prepared dies, which gives them a mirror-like finish and a sharper image.

Proof coins, also known as proof coinage, are also produced by mints, but are made using a different process. These coins are struck multiple times with specially prepared dies and are often made from a different type of metal than regular coins. Proof coins are also highly polished and have a mirror-like finish. They are often sold as collectible items and have a limited mintage.

Bullion coins, on the other hand, are coins that are made from precious metals, such as gold and silver. They are produced by mints and are intended to be used as an investment rather than as a means of currency. Bullion coins are valued primarily based on the weight and purity of the metal they are made of. They are not necessarily produced to the same standards of finish and detail as proof or BUNC coins.

In summary, BUNC coins are coins that are in perfect condition and have not been circulated, proof coins are specially produced coins with a mirror-like finish, and bullion coins are coins made of precious metals primarily used as an investment.

What Are The Royal Mint Striking Standards?

The Royal Mint in the United Kingdom is renowned for its striking standards, which have been maintained for centuries. These standards are what makes the Royal Mint’s coins some of the most sought-after and highly valued in the world.

The Royal Mint has been producing coins for over 1,100 years and has always been at the forefront of coin production technology. Today, the Royal Mint uses state-of-the-art machinery and techniques to produce coins, but the striking standards it uses are the same as those used centuries ago. This is to ensure that the coins produced by the Royal Mint are of the highest quality.

One of the most important factors that contribute to the striking standards of the Royal Mint is the use of high-quality metals. The Royal Mint uses only the finest metals to produce its coins, such as gold, silver, and copper. These metals are carefully selected and tested to ensure that they meet the strict standards set by the Royal Mint.

Another important aspect of the striking standards of the Royal Mint is the design of the coins. The Royal Mint employs some of the best engravers and designers in the world to create unique and intricate designs for its coins. These designs are then carefully sculpted and engraved into the metal using the latest technology.

The striking standards of the Royal Mint also extend to the packaging and presentation of the coins. Each coin is carefully packaged and presented in an elegant and protective case, to ensure that it arrives to the customer in perfect condition.

The striking standards of the Royal Mint are not only important for the production of coins, but also for the preservation of history and tradition. The Royal Mint’s coins are not only a means of currency but also a reflection of the country’s rich history, culture, and heritage.

In conclusion, The Royal Mint in the United Kingdom is renowned for its striking standards, which have been maintained for centuries. These standards are what makes the Royal Mint’s coins some of the most sought-after and highly valued in the world. The Royal Mint takes great pride in the quality of its coins and works to ensure that each coin produced meets the highest standards of quality, design, and presentation.