If you have been shopping for precious metal bullion coins, chances are you may have come across the acronym "BU".
Here we will explain what the meaning of that term is in the bullion and precious metals industry.
What Does BU Mean in Coins?
BU - (n) stands for ‘brilliant uncirculated’ which means that a coin has never been circulated and retains almost all of its original mint luster from its original strike.
Brilliant uncirculated (BU) coins are typically stored after minting and have not been heavily handled. Coin collectors and/or coin dealers often abbreviate the ‘brilliant uncirculated’ term, referring to them simply as BU coins.
Brilliant uncirculated coin designs if shipped and stored correctly, should remain in sharp relief. Even if they are several decades or even centuries old, if stored with the correct coin accessories, BU coins should both retain their shine and form as when they were originally struck.
Below you can find further insights on Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) coins, the process in producing them, and what their differentiation entails. In the following short video clip the world’s oldest sovereign government mint, the British Royal Mint, further explains some key differences between simple bullion coins, proof coins, and BU coins.
Are All Bullion Coins BU?
Technically speaking, all modern bullion coins like the American Eagle, Canadian Maple, Austrilian Kangaroo, etc. are considered to be "uncirculated."
Even though these legal tender bullion coins have lega tender face values on them, they have never been circulated in currency.
This qualifies every one of these coins as being technically uncirculated.
Bullion coins retaining their original mint luster, eye appeal and full sharp design would be considered Brilliant Uncirculated (BU coin).
As bullion coins are primarily produced for investment in the precious metal content they won’t necessarily be flawless like a proof coin.
Obtaining a perfect or near perfect bullion coin could be done by purchasing a graded coin—only a select few bullion coins grade out at a perfect MS70. Graded coins are carefully inspected by a 3rd party professional grading service like NGC or PCGS. This is because as coins are minted, processed and transited, they can pick up small knicks, scratches, or blemishes. This is normal and will be more common in older coins.
For investors looking for bullion BU coins specifically, they should only purchase the "current" year of the coin they want to purchase. This will give them the greatest possibility of getting BU bullion coins delivered to them. For these investors, we created our MintCertified™ Program. You can learn more about that program for here.
Investors looking for even higher grade collector coin perfection, would likely be most satisfied with graded bullion coins.