Question: I have a small collection of Morgan dollars in prooflike condition. I notice that the prooflike dollars I have typically show more nicks and surface marks than do regular pieces. Why is this? Also, is it easy to obtain prooflike Peace silver dollars? I was considering a collection of those.
Answer: Prooflike Morgan dollars (pieces that have a partial mirrorlike surface somewhat resembling a Proof) are more susceptible to nicks and bagmarks simply because the surface is highly reflective and less tolerant of abrasions. The marks show more for the same reason fingerprints are more noticeable on a mirror or highly polished piece of metal than they are on paper or on something with an uneven surface.
Non-Proof coins acquire a prooflike surface when they are struck from worn dies that have been repolished in order to prolong their use or reground to remove die clash damage and then polished.
Due to the curvature of the fields on most Peace dollars and the fairly shallow relief, it was not the practice to polish older dies in the same manner as earlier dollars. As a result, while some Peace dollars may have a very slightly satiny prooflike surface, there are not Peace dollars that are “proolike” in the same sense as the earlier Morgan dollars. Any Peace dollars that were advertised as fully proolike have turned out to have been polished by collectors or others who owned the coins.