Do these coins look the same?
Please say no! One has been loved and spent and use to buy a quart of cream, a pound of coffee, 2 gallons of gas, a Hershey bar, and some sweet toys at the grocery store, over the course of its life. The other is quire pristine and what we call uncirculated. But both are still “good”.
Fun fact: per the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled “Legal tender,” which states: “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.” What this means is that all US coins and currency are valid, no matter how old, or worn, or sad they may look. So even a $10,000 bill is valid legal tender. However if you have a $10,000 bill CALL ME. First off congratulations, as of May 2009 only 336 $10,000 bills were known to exist, so you are special. But more importantly, due to their rarity, collectors will pay considerably more than the face value of the bills to acquire them. Plus you have a $10,000 bill, so we HAVE to be friends, because in comparison$100 bills must be like trash to you! I can help lighten your billfold!
Back to the loved coin above. The longer a coin is use in commerce to buy things, the more it will get worn from day to day handling. Details get smoother and letters get flatter along with the edges. A coin can get so worn it’s actually difficult to see any details at all. The more wear a coin has, the less value it has to a collector. That is not to say a “smooth” coin is useless. Some coins are rare, so rare in fact, that even a coin more worn that the one above can be quite valuable. So even if it is not that great to look at, it still can be a “gem”!