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A Glossary of Coin Collecting Acronyms Words and Definitions
Every hobby has its own terminology. Coin collecting is no different. Below
is a glossary of coin collecting terms and their meanings.
(click on a letter if you want to jump into the list)
- about good
- - one of the lowest grades in most grading standard books. Typically
an about good coin is a very worn coin with some outline of the design and a readable date. Falls below
below the grade of good.
- About Uncirculated
- - Same as "Almost Uncirculated". Sometimes
abbreviated as "AU".
- - marks or small scratches on the surface of a coin where another
coin or object has slid across or bumped the coin. Can also be caused by the coin sliding in a holder or coin drawer.
Not as deep or noticeable as bag marks. Usually found on the high parts of a coin or in the open fields (background).
- - A group of coins, sometimes not of any certain type or date.
Also can be a "hoard".
- - elemental abbreviation for SILVER
- - Same as "About good".
- album friction or slide markings
- - see friction.
- - a mixture of two or more metals melted into one compound.
- Almost Uncirculated
- - A coin or paper money note that is very close
to being uncirculated. Upon first glance it may appear uncirculated. When inspected closely
it will have a slight amount of wear or friction. Same as "About Uncirculated". Sometimes
abbreviated as "AU".
- - see altered date.
- altered date
- - a coin with the date manipulated or altered after the coin
was produced. Often done to try to deceive someone. For example, someone might alter the date
of a 1944-D cent to look like a 1914-D cent.
- American Eagle
- Silver, gold, and platinum gold coins released
by the US government starting in Oct. 1986. Front depict Liberty walking and reverse side bears an American
Eagle and nest design. Produced in both Uncirculated and Proof conditions.
- American Numistmatic Association
- - the most popular nonprofit educational
coin collectors organization in America. Encourages the study of numistmatics; collecting of money.
Often called the A.N.A.
- - abbreviation for the "American Numistmatic Association."
- anvil die
- - bottom die. A coin is struck using two dies. One for the
of the coin and another for the reverse (back). The anvil die is the one on the bottom, which is usually
the reverse. The term comes from when the die was placed on an anvil with the coin
on top. The hammer die (top die) was placed on top of the coin and struck with a hammer. See
"hammer die" and "die".
- - the process of heating coin blanks (planchlets) in a furnace
to soften the metal prior to striking coins out of them.
- ask price
- - The price a dealer or trader is asking for a coin. Often
used to indicate the "wholesale" asking price between dealers or on a coin trading network.
- - to determine the purity of the metal by scientific means.
- - elemental abbreviation for GOLD
- - See "About Uncirculated" or "Almost Uncirculated".
- BU - see Brilliant Uncirculated
- bag mark
- - Mark(s) on a coin that occurred during the production process. Come from coins bumping into each other when placed in bags at the mint. Larger
size coins typically exhibit more bag marks than smaller ones. A coin can still be
uncirculated even if it has obvious bag marks.
- - usually an "ingot" shaped as a rectangle. Can be
gold, silver, or any precious metal. Gold and silver bars vary in size from 1 gram up to
thousands of ounces.
- - the price a dealer (or dealers) are offering to pay for a coin.
Sometimes used to indicate a standing offer at that price from a coin dealer or on a trading
network. Also, see "site unseen".
- - slang used to indicate one eighth of a dollar. In early days of this
countries history the Spanish Milled Dollar (pillar dollar or 8 reales) circulated. Due to a
shortage of smaller coins these silver dollars were often cut into pieces shaped like slices
of pizza. A small piece equal to one eighth of the dollar was called a "piece of eight" or a "bit".
The nursery rime "two bits, four bits, 6 bits, a dollar" comes from this time in history." Example,
two bits = two eighths or a quarter.
- - a blank piece of metal on which a coin design can
be stamped. Also called a planchlet. Usually already cut into the shape
of a coin - but without any design.
- - see "show".
- brilliant uncirculated
- - a descriptive term used to indicate an uncirculated
coin that still retains a lot of the brilliant luster. Not a heavily toned coin. BU is used to abbreviate
- - a polishing of a coin sometimes with an abrasive that leaves
a finish that attempts to counterfeit mint luster. A buffed coin often is worth less than one
that has not been cleaned. See whizzed.
- -term used when referring to items made of precious metal.
Particularly silver, gold, and platinum. Often produced in the form of ingots,
bars, rounds, and coins. Bullion value of a coin would be
the "value of the metal" the coin contains.
- bullion coin
- - coins made of precious metal and traded at current bullion
prices, or at a small premium over bullion.
- Bureau of Engraving and Printing
- - United States government agency that produces
paper money for the U.S. and some other countries.
- business strike
- - a coin produced for general use and circulation. Non-business strikes
would be coins such as proofs, and special uncirculated coins or sets not intended to circulate.
- - portrait on a coin, usually the head or head and
- certificate of authenticity.
A paper certificate usually from the issuing mint that declares the coin or item
- a coin (usually a proof) that has a
mirror like background to the
surface of the coin and a design that
is frosted looking. Special
treatment of the dies (that strike
the coins) make this cameo frosted
effect. Modern day proof coins
are struck from specially treated
dies to give this frosted (cameo)
appearance. On older proof coins
the first produced by a die might
have a cameo appearance. Later
as the dies starts to wear (or break
in) the coins produced will
have less and less of the cameo
frosting. Most proof US coins
prior to the mid 1960's will have a
mirror like surface over the
whole coin. One with a frosted
cameo design will bring a premium,
sometimes a substantial one.
Even today, some coins sell for
more if the cameo effect is more
pronounced than the typical coin.
- cast coin
- - a coin that was made by pouring melted metal into
a mold or cast. Not made by striking a die against a blank like most coins.
Casting was a common process used to try to counterfeit coins.
- - A coin determined to be genuine by a coin grading
or authentication service. Sometimes
graded as well. Often a certified coin is accompanied by a photograph certificate or
is sealed in a plastic
slab. See "slabbed"
- chop marks
- - oriental marks or characters stamped into previously
made coins. Often found on silver trade dollars and other precious metal coins. When coins were
used for trading purposes a oriental assayer would test a piece of the coin for purity. If
it met his approval he would stamp his mark into the coin indicating to others it was pure
and accurate weight. Today some collectors specialize in "Chop marked" coins. However, for
many coins the chop marks may hurt the value.
- - coins used in commerce to purchase items by the populace
are in circulation. A circulated coin is one that has been used one time or often more. Coins that
have any kind of wear from handling, etc are also considered circulated.
- - Clad coinage is a term used to describe coins that have a core
of one type of metal and an outer layer of another metal or metals. US dimes, quarters,
and half dollars since 1965 have been clad. Clad differs from a plated coin in that
the clad blank (or planchlet) is treated to seal the layers of metal together.
- clad coin
- - Coins that have a core (center layer) and outer
layer made of different metals. Starting in 1965 all circulating
US dimes, quarters, and halves have been clad. (See silver clad)
- - object usually made of flat metal, small and round.
Issued by a government as money. Usually, accepted by community as having value.
- coin show
- - see "show".
- coin silver
- - Here in the USA coin silver often means the purity of silver used in
circulating coins dated before 1965. Back then dimes, quarters, half
dollars, and silver dollars were 90% solid silver, made of 90% silver and
10% copper. Other countries may use the words "coin silver" to
the purity used in their silver coins, which may be different from US coins.
- Coin World
- - One of the most popular coin collecting weekly paper/magazine
for collectors of US coins.
- - when a coin is struck the collar on the printing
press surrounds the rim of the coin preventing the metal from flowing outside of the collar.
- - coins produced by the colony states prior to the time
the United States government was formed. Most were made of copper and in small
- nickname for commemorative.
- - a special coin or medal issued to honor an outstanding
person, place, or event. Often one time or short lived production. Many times commemorative
coins are not produced for general circulation.
- - The physical state of a coin. Usually indicating the amount
of wear. (See grading standards)
- contact mark
- - a mark or marks on a coin that happened from coming
in contact with another coin or object. Usually contact marks are small. Often this term
is used to indicate marks on a coin that are not as obvious as bag marks. However, sometimes
it is used to mean the same thing. See "abrasions", "bag mark",
- copper nickel
- - A metal alloy of 88% copper and 12% nickel. This alloy
was used for US Flying Eagle and Indian cents from 1856 to the middle of
1864. The alloy caused these small cents to have a pale copper color. Back then people called
these cents "white cents" because of their pale color. A few other countries have used some copper nickel
alloys of various percentages in their coin production. "Cupro-nickel" is a similar term.
See "cupro nickel".
- - nick name for older copper coins, particularly the large
cents, and half cents.
- - refers to a reproduction of a coin or paper note. Some copies may
be illegal. Current government regulations require reproductions of US coins and paper money
to be much larger or smaller than the original. For copies of tokens and non-US-government coins the "hobby protection act"
requires that the item contains the word "copy" or "reproduction" in a readable visible place. Advice: Don't get caught
making a copy of something without finding out exactly what is legal.
- - chemical reaction on the surface of a coin.
Corrosion can result from a coin coming in contact with other things (chemicals) including
chemicals in the air. This can come about because of things coming in contact with the coin
years earlier. Corrosion damages a coins surface and is usually worse in copper, nickel,
zinc, and silver coins. Some experts think that toning on the surface of a coin
may help slow down this harmful process. Also see "toning".
- - a coin or piece of currency that is fake or reproduced in order
to make people think it is genuine.
- - cattle ranchers have one definition for cud. Coin collectors have
a different one. When a coin is struck by a broken die the place where the die is broken or missing
will often show up as extra metal on the surface of a coin. This extra piece of metal or "cud" can be from
a piece of the die being missing or a still intact, but moved.
- - a below grade coin compared to other coins in a roll,
tube, or group. Sometimes used to mean a very slick, worn, or defective coin.
"Cull it out" - means to remove it from others because of its defects or
- - a mixture of copper, nickel, and possibly other metals.
Today this term is most often used to refer to the current coins made by fusing layers of copper
and nickel or combination alloy mixtures, resulting in a "sandwich" type of coin. The current US dimes and Quarters are examples.
Technically the copper nickel cents, three cent nickels, and regular nickels are cupro-nickel. See
- - any kind of coins or paper money that is used as a medium
- - Deep Mirror Proof Like - Describes an uncirculated coin or silver dollar
that is not a proof,
but exhibits the mirror like qualities of a proof coin.
- D mint mark
- - mintmark used to designate that the coin was struck
at the US mint in "Denver Colorado". Back between 1838 and the civil war the "D" mint mark
was used by the US mint in Dahlonega Georgia.
- -A damaged coin would be one that has had something
happen to it to cause a defect. Examples would be: holes, bent, major nicks,
corrosion, scratches, mutilation. Usually makes the coin worth much les
than one without any defects.
- - different values of money. For example US coins
currently have 6 different denominations: cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar
- - small tooth like raised areas around the edge of
a coin. Particularly on older coins. Often found all around the front (obverse) and
back (reverse) of the coin, right next to the edge.
- - an engraved metal stamp used for stamping out the
design of a coin. The die is often hardened so that when it strikes the
metal blank an impression will be left indicating the coins design, value,
and wording. See "anvil die" and "hammer die"
- die clash
- - damage to a coin die that occurs when the top
and bottom dies collide without a coin in the press. The dies will may hit each other
with such force that they damage each other leaving a trace of the impression on one
or both dies. Resulting coins produced may exhibit "clash marks". Clash marks will
show some of the reverse design on the obverse side of the coin, some of the obverse
design on the reverse, or both.
- die defect
- - damage or defect of a coin die. The coins
produced by that die will exhibit the same defects.
- double die
- - a coin that shows numbers or letters doubled. Caused
by the coin die having been made with a doubled design on parts of it. Example: 1955 double
die Lincoln cent.
- double eagle
- - used to describe a twenty dollar gold piece, the likes
of those made between 1850 and 1932. Called a double eagle because the gold content was
twice that of an "eagle" $10 gold piece. Double Eagle gold pieces contain "almost" an ounce of gold.
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- - nick name for the old gold $10 coins made up until
1932. These older gold coins contained "almost" 1/2 ounce of gold and featured
an eagle design on the back. Note: the "eagle" gold coin is different than the
new AMERICAN EAGLE gold bullion coin. See "American Eagle".
- edge lettering
- - letters or designs made on the side edge of a coin.
Most modern day coins have plain or reeded edges. Example of edge lettering is the old
Capped Bust Half dollar coins. Sometimes called edge device.
- - an artist who creates a coin's design as a model
or sculpture. In earlier days the engraver would actually cut out the
design onto the die.
- - the side of the coin. Currently US dimes and
quarters have a "reeded" edge, which is an edge with small lines on it.
Some coins will have lettering, ornamental designs, or plain edges.
- - a coin that has some type of production defect on it.
Modern production procedures attempt to keep error coins from being released.
- FREE GOLD AND SILVER PRICE QUOTES
- - our other web site
- face value
- - the exchange value for which a coin is made
to be spent or exchanged. Example: A US quarter's face value is
25 cents. Yet if it is silver or a rare date the collector value may
be more. Face Value is Not its collector or precious metal
- - A very heavily worn coin. Date may only be partially visible.
One of the lowest grades of a coin, F-2.
- - a coin used to "fill in" the place in a collection until a better
grade coin can be found or purchased to take its place. Often a low grade or damaged coin
may be used as a filler until a nice one can be found.
- - the background surface of a coin not used for the design or inscription
- - one day I told my wife she looked "fine". She got upset. To me I was
saying she looked "nice". To her I was saying she looked "just Okay". The same can be said
about this coin grading term. Fine is a medium grade coin. It corresponds to F-12 and F-15 of
the current grading standards. A Fine coin will have some detail present in the recessed areas.
However, it is not sharp and there is a lot of details still missing. You may be pleased to locate
a fine grade coin, particularly when the coin is scarce or rare. However, a fine coin when common
is not as great a treasure. A bit of advice - If your wife asks you how she looks, tell her
she looks like a GEM! :-) See "GEM" BU.
- first strike
- two meanings:
1.) - the first coins that a coin die
makes when it begins minting coins. Sometimes these first strikes will
show extra details that are not observable after the die has minted a large
number of coins.
2.) - a grading service term used by
PCGS, NGC, and other grading services. It indicates the coin was in one of
the first groups of coins shipped by the US mint. PCGS and NGC will seal the coin in
their "First Strike" plastic slab holder with the words " First Strike"
inside the PCGS holder.
- - one day I told my
wife she looked like "fine". Also, a coin grading term indicating a coin
with wear, but many features still visible.
- - A frontiersman might rub two sticks together and the
result is a fire. The rubbing of a coin can result in a wear on its surface.
Typically, friction causes various degrees of noticeable wear and results in lowering the desire (and value)
of a coin. Friction can be caused by a coin sliding in a holder, coin drawer, or even by
a good intending collector who tries to "clean" the coin.
- frosted proof
- - a proof coin that has a mirror like surface in the background
with a frosted (or dull) surface on the design. Proofs prior to 1937 and again beginning in the
1970's have frosted designs. Sometimes occurs in other years although not as often. Some frosted
proof coins will bring a premium price.
- Gem BU
- - A beauty of a coin ! Means GEM quality Brilliant Uncirculated coin. Indicates that this
uncirculated coin shows mint brilliance and is extremely attractive for the type of coin. Some might
say it sparkles like a "GEM".
- - heavy marks on a coin where the metal was gouged out from coming
in contact with something.
Typically worse than "contact marks" or "bag marks".
- - a rating or clarification that indicates how much wear a circulated coin
has. Grades can also indicate the degree of perfection for uncirculated coins. Two popular
grading guides are Photograde and the ANA Grading Guide. Both use a scale system from 1 to 70
measuring coins from About Good -3 to Mint State Uncirculated- 70.
- grading standards
- - a set of criteria indicating how much wear a coin shows.
- - metric weight often used to weigh precious
metals. About 31.10 grams are in a troy ounce.
- - very light lines or scratches on the surface of a coin. Sometimes caused by
light cleaning or polishing.
- hammer die
- - top die. The hammer die is the top die that is placed on top of the coin
blank and struck. Years ago this was done with a hammer. See
"anvil die" and "die".
- - the obverse or front of most coins. Usually with a portrait of someone
but not always.
- - the part of a coin's design that is pressed into the surface. Opposite of relief.
Example: the $2 1/2 and $5 Indian US gold coins are of incuse design. Rather than the design
being raised up off of the surface of the coin, it is pressed into the metal. See "reeded edge" and
- - see "bars"
- - the words stamped (written) on a coin
- intrinsic value
- - the value of the precious metal that a coin is made of. Often called
- junk silver
- - silver coins of circulated quality. Often used to describe bags
or common US silver coins that were pulled out of circulation when silver was disappearing.
Does not mean the coins are damaged. Junk silver rolls or bags usually will not contain scarce dates,
low mintages, or high quality coins.
- key date
- - a scarce date that is often hard to find to complete a collection.
Usually more difficult to find, of lower mintage, or more expensive.
- legal tender
- - coins, paper money, or other currency issued by a government and
used as money. The legal tender value of a coin is the value placed on it by the government.
It may be different than the intrinsic value (bullion value) or collector value.
- - the main lettering on a coin. For instance the phrase "United
States of America"
- lettered edge
- - The edge of a coin that has lettering on the outside
of it. Usually it is raised, but sometimes incused. Most coins today have a plain edge or
"reeded" edge. Having something inscribed or a design on the edge of a coin
was prevalent when coins were made of precious metal. Supposedly it made it easier to detect
when a coin that had some of its precious metal shaved off the edge. You'll find most all of the
older gold and silver US coins will have either lettered or reeded edges.
Bust Today's dime and quarter are examples of a reeded edge. See reeded edge.
- matte proof
- - matte proof coins are special proofs that have a grainy "sandblasted" look on the surface.
Matte proof coins were sometimes made in the early part of the 1900's. Normal proof coins have
a mirror like brilliant surface.
- - an object made of metal that resembles a coin. Often medals are made or given
to recognize a person, place, or occasion. Medals have no stated value and are not intended to
circulate as money. Sometimes a medal may have intrinsic value (bullion value).
- medium of exchange
- - something accepted by people as having a certain value that is used to exchange
or trade. Often coins and paper money are used as mediums of exchange, but it can be anything.
- mercury dime
- - nick name for the US 10 cent pieces made between
1916 and 1945. Although originally called the Winged Liberty Head dime the name "mercury" dime
caught on with the public when it was compared to the Roman god "mercury".
- milled edge
- - coin production process that produces the edge of the coin.
- - place where coins are produced (manufactured). The U.S. Mint produces most coins
for the U.S. government in Philadelphia and Denver. Mint facilities in San
Francisco and West Point are used to
produce some of the Proof and commemorative coins.
- mint luster
- - a frosty, satiny, unique shine found on uncirculated coins
- mint mark
- - a small letter on a coin that identifies which of the U.S. Mints
the coin was produced at.
- mint set
- - a complete set of coins produced by a particular mint (contains one of each denomination).
sets usually contain "uncirculated" non-proof
coins. Beginning in 1999 the US government issued mint sets also contain both P and D
mint marked State Quarters.
Click here for US Mint Set production numbers.
- mint state
- - uncirculated
- - the number of coins produced (the quantity made for that country, date, mintmark, and type of coin)
- - a saying, phrase, or principle sometimes found on a coin. Example:
"In God We Trust", and "E Pluribus Unum"-meaning: Out of many, are one
"MS" is an abbreviation
for "mint state". The numbers that follow (in this example 69) indicate
the quality of the coin. The quality numbers run from 1 to 70, with a 70
being an absolutely prefect coin. For more information read -
the difference between a proof
and uncirculated coin?
- - a clear trademark polyester material used to store coins
- - see Numismatic Guarantee
- - nick name for the US five cent piece. Although only
25% of the five cent piece is made of the metal nickel it gives the appearance that it is
solid nickel. The nick name "nickel" came about due to its appearance of being made of
the metal nickel. It is actually made of a mixture of copper(75%) and nickel(25%).
- Numismatic Guarantee Corporation
NGC is an independent third party coin grading and
- - a coin collector. Often used to indicate someone
who is a serious coin hobbiest or one who studies an area of coin collecting.
- - the hobby of coin collecting.
- - when something unusual happens to a coin it is sometimes called an
oddity. Can be an "error" that was made at the mint, or something that was done to a coin after the
minting of the coin.
- - a coin design or series that is no longer being produced.
- - the front side of a coin. Usually the obverse side of a coin
has the main design, date and sometimes mintmark. The back of the coin is called the reverse.
In the 1800's obverse and reverse meant the opposite of what they mean today.
- off center
- - describes the way a coin was struck by the printing dies. If the coin was
not placed properly and the dies strike it off center then parts of the design will be
missing from the coin. Sometimes an off-center coin will have part of the blank
- original roll
- - a group of coins that were wrapped in paper wrappers
at the time of their production. In early days coins were shipped to banks in cloth bags or
kegs. Sometimes later they were shipped in rolls. Silver coins stored in rolls will often
have toning on and near the edges but not in the center. Some coins stored in rolls
will have fewer marks than those stored or transported in bags or kegs. The number of coins
in a roll may vary by denomination and time of issuance. Typically there are 50 cents in a roll,
40 nickels, 50 dimes, 40 quarters, 20 halves, 20 silver and Eisenhower dollars, and sometimes
25 SBA or Sacajewea dollars.
- over strike
- - a coin that instead of being struck on a blank
planchlet was accidentally
struck on a previously struck coin.
- - see Professional Coin
- - a coin that was struck as an experiment or as a trial piece. Usually, a new
design or made of experimental metal alloys. U.S. Pattern coins from recent years are illegal to own because they
are still considered government property. However, older patterns were released to dignitaries, etc and
are legally available to buy or sell in the numistmatic market place.
- - a blank round piece of metal from which the coin is struck.
Sometimes called a flan.
- precious metal
- - metals of value. Typically gold, silver, platinum.
However, can include palladium and rhodium.
- Professional Coin Grading Service
PCGS is an independent third party coin grading and
- - a coin produced from polished dies and/or
planchlets. Most often each proof coin is
struck twice/or more which gives the coin a very sharp degree of detail and mirror like surface. Proof coins
are usually made for numistmatic purposes, presentations, or souvenirs. Proofs are usually not made to circulated
in commerce. Mishandling can lower the value and grade of a proof coin. Proofs are sold by the mint
during their year of production at a premium to cover their special manufacturing costs. Sometimes sold
only in sets.
- proof set
- - a group of the different denominations of the proof coins made for one year.
Sometimes packaged as a set by the mint. Example: One of each proof: cent, nickel, dime, quarter, and half.
Is your coin Proof or Uncirculated ? -
What's the difference?
- - means the coin has not been slabbed or certified
- Red Book
- -The Official RED BOOK of US COINS. A price
guide book on US coins and their values by R.S. Yeoman. Perhaps the
most popular book for listing US coin retail values, grades, and mintages.
- reeded edge
The edge of a coin that has small reed like lines on it. Today's US dimes and quarters are
examples of reeded edge coins. See "lettered edge" and "incused edge".
- - the part of the design that is raised from the
surface of the coin. Example: Washington's face on a Washington quarter.
- - a coin minted from original dies, however at a later date than originally intended.
- - the back side of the coin. Opposite of obverse.
In the 1800's obverse and reverse meant the opposite of what they mean today.
- reverse cameo
- - a coin where the background is frosted
looking and the design has
- a polished mirror like look to it. Some Australia lunar "Year
of the Horse"
- and other lunar year animal
gold /silver coins have this reverse cameo
- appearance. See "cameo".
- - a machine that sorts out wrong
size/defective blanks (planchlets)
- - the raised edge of a coin created by the upsetting mill. The idea being that if the edge
on both sides of the coin is raised like the design it will help protect the coins design from wear.
- - a group of coins in the same denomination in a paper wrapper package by banks, dealers, or
the US Mint. Sometimes a roll is put into a plastic coin tube. The number of coins in a roll depend on the denomination.
For US Cents there are 50 in a roll, nickels- 40, dimes- 50, quarters- 40, halves- 20, dollars- 25.
- - coin shaped silver pieces. Not official legal tender, however they may
be accurate in bullion weight. Like silver bars only shaped like a coin.
- - collection of coins of one denomination that contains all
the dates and mint marks of that design. For example a Lincoln Cent Wheat back series
would contain one of each date cent minted from 1909 to 1958, including each mint mark
- - the difference between the cost of minting
a coin and what the mint gets for it. Example, it may only cost 6 cents to
manufacture a half dollar. However, the mint gets 50 cents for it.
The result is 44 cents profit, or seigniorage.
- - to display or show a group of coins. Coin shows (or bourses)
occur often in many areas. There dealers may set up tables to display their inventory
in an attempt to sell, buy, or trade coins with the public and / or other dealers.
- silver Clad
- - term referring to US Half Dollars made
from 1965 to 1970. Made with an outer layer of 80% silver and 20% copper bonded to an inner
core of 20.9% silver and .791% copper. Overall 40% silver.
- sight unseen
- - an offer to purchase a coin at a certain price
without seeing the item. Although site unseen bids are common, the coin will still have
to meet the grading criteria from the bidder's perspective. Site unseen bids are most
prevalent when any concern over the grade is resolved by a third party grading service, such
as with slabbed cerified coins.
- slab or slabbed
- - slang for a holder holding a coin that has been encapsulated by a coin
grading service. Usually, the coin will graded, authenticated, and encapsulated in a
sonically sealed holder, often by a 3rd party grading service. See PNG, NCG, ANACS, PCGS.
- - term used to identify a hard plastic
that some coin grading services use to package/protect a coin. Usually a slabbed coin
is graded and certified by the grading service as genuine. Often slabs are rectangular in
shape and sealed to protect the coin from the elements.
- -a term meaning the coin simulates a higher grade
than it really is. Often a slider has been cleaned, treated, or whizzed to give the
appearance of being uncirculated. Worth less than the coin that has not
been cleaned or treated.
- - a process of stamping a design into a coin
Usually metal dies with designs engraved in them are used. If the dies are struck weakly
or just average it may effect the coin's value negatively vs. a well struck coin. Some U.S.
mints were known for making weakly stuck coins during certain years.
- spotting or spot
a mark or marks on a coin of a different color. Often looking like spots of something on
the coin. Usually, it is a form of tarnish or staining. Spotting may have a negative effect on the value
of a coin depending on how severe it is, etc. Most professionals will advise you not to try
to clean a spot (or spotting) off of a coin, as it may create friction or surface damage that may
hurt the coins value even more.
- - the reverse or back side of a coin
- three cent piece
- - common term used for the US coin with the
value of three cents. Two different metals were used for these coins back in the 1800's.
Prior to 1865 the US made three cent pieces out of an alloy of mostly silver.
Hence the name "three cent silver".
The public complained because the 3 cent silvers were small and thin.
By 1865 the US government changed the composition and design of the three cent coins.
Three cent nickels were made of 75% copper and 25% nickel from 1865 to 1889. From the looks of
the coin you would think it was made out of pure nickel. They
were larger and thicker than the three cent silvers.
Hence the name "three cent nickel".
Something that looks like a coin, but is not legal tender issued by an official government.
For example, parking tokens, video game machine tokens, and casino tokens. Some coin collectors shy away
from collecting tokens. However, there are a few small groups of serious token collectors.
- - Shading of color on coins. Toning can be in many forms
from dark or brown to various shade of other colors. It can cover the whole coin or more often
part of the coin. Toning results when the surface of the coin comes in contact with the air
and environment it is exposed to. Traces of material
in the metals will also play a roll in toning. Some think toning makes a "protective" coating over
the surface of a coin that helps the coin resist corrosion. Toning can be even be
by exposing the coin to certain reactive substances. Some "naturally" occurring toned coins
bring a premium in the collector market due to their unique beauty. Others may bring
less than an un-toned coin when the toning is unattractive. Also see "corrosion".
- troy ounce
- - see web page
http://lynncoins.com/troy_ounce.htm for a complete explanation.
- two bits
- - see "bits"
- two by two
- - nickname for a typical holder for one coin. Measures 2 inches by 2 inches.
Often made of cardboard with a clear mylar material in the center. Cardboard 2x2s are
not the best way to store coins for the long term.
- two cent piece
- - a US coin with the value of two cents. Common
term used for the copper Shield design two-cent coin made from 1864 to 1873.
coins containing the same or a similar characteristic. Often in a type collection or set the
dates do not matter. Rather the collector is interested in obtaining one of each representative
design. For example a collector may want one of each "type" of coin in US circulation today.
Such a type set would consist of a cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half, and dollar.
A collector may decide to collect one representative of each type of coin by size. For example,
a cent type set may include a Lincoln Memorial cent, wheat back cent, indian cent, etc.
- type set
- - collection of coins of one denomination. For example,
a Quarter type set would consist of one of each design of quarter that the mint
has made. (Dates and mint marks usually are not of concern.)
- - a new condition coin that does not have any
sign of wear. Marks on the coin that may come from the manufacturing process do
not keep a coin from being unciruclated. (Example, bag marks.) Even the slightest
amount of wear or cleaning will keep a coin from grading uncirculated.
- upsetting mill
- - machine used in coin production to raise the rim on
both sides of a blank (planchet).
- vest pocket dealer
- - old timer's term meaning a part time coin dealer. Someone who
carries coins to sell/trade in their pockets.
- - minor differences in the design of a coin. Example, 1955
Lincoln cent has a "double die" variety.
- - process where the mint destroys defective or worn coins by running them
through a waffling machine. This canceling process gives the former coin a
waffle like appearance. Coins cancelled in this manner are sold in bulk
for scrap metal and often can not be distinguished as a US coin, except by their
- - nick name for the "Walking Liberty Half dollar".
- walking liberty
- - a half dollar with the Walking Liberty design.
Made between 1916 and 1947. Thought by some to be one of the US most beautiful coin designs.
The current "American Silver Eagles" have the same design on their obverse (front).
- war nickel
- - sometimes called "wartime" nickels. These Jefferson
US five cent coins were made during part of World War II. At the time there was a concern
that metal would be needed in the war effort. Therefore a new mixture of metals was used
in the nickel. 35% silver, 9% manganese, and 56% copper. As of this writing they are worth more
than five cents due to their silver content. These "silver war nickels", as some call them,
will have a large mint mark above the memorial building on the reverse (back).
- white cents
- - see "copper nickel.
- -Whitman Publishing company. Produces many collector's
books, albums, and collecting supplies.
- - a whizzed coin has been buffed or polished to give
it the appearance of the luster found on a mint coin. Often whizzing is done on a high grade
coin to try to sell the
coin at a higher grade than it really is. Sometimes done by using a fine brush attachment
on a high speed drill. Whizzing a coin may hurt the value of it rather than help it because it
actually causes wear to the surface of the coin. See buffing.
- year set
- - coin collection consisting of one of each kind (size and style)
of coin issued by a country for a given year. (Mint marks are usually not of concern
when collecting year sets.)
We hope you have found this list of coin collecting terms helpful.
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