Glossary of Coin Terms
The following glossary of terms follows for popular and not so popular words and acronyms for coins and numismatics:
Marks on a coin where another object has displaced metal in an abrasive manner.
File marks on coins where excess metal was removed from overweight planchets.
AGW (Actual Gold Weight)
The amount of pure gold in a coin, not including any other metals.
Usually rubbing on the high points of a coin created from pages slid against each other in an album.
album slide marks
Usually parallel lines created by the plastic slide of an album.
A combination of two or more metals.
Coin that has been changed in some manner to simulate a more valuable issue.
Coins struck circa 600 B.C. to circa 450 A.D.
Process of heating a planchet to soften the metal before striking to help prevent cracking.
The lower die on a minting machine.
Coloring added to the surface of a coin by the use of chemicals or heat.
To determine the purity of an alloy.
The elements, like luster and strike, that make up a coin's grade.
Determination of the genuineness of an item.
The cloth sacks in which coin are stored and transported.
A mark on a coin made from another coin; Not necessarily the result of being in a bag.
Coloring acquired from the storage bag of coins.
Rolls of coins wrapped at a Federal Reserve Bank from original Mint bags.
The process of polishing a die to impart a mirrored surface. Can also be used to remove marks from a die.
a coin comprised of two different metals, bonded together.
Flat disk of metal before it is struck by the dies and made into a coin.
A term applied to an element of a coin worn into another element.
Term synonymous with a coin show.
The area where a coin show occurs.
A subsidiary mint affiliated with the main mint of a country. In the U.S., any government mint other than the Philadelphia Mint.
A coin with full luster, which may contain extremely light toning at most.
A generic term applied to any coin that has not been in circulation.
A mint error where a sharp incused image has been left on the next coin fed into the chamber.
An alloy of mostly copper, with some tin and zinc.
Term for a copper coin that no longer shows the red color of copper.
Short for Brilliant Uncirculated.
a portrait on a coin, usually including the head, neck and upper shoulders.
A die that has warped in some way, producing coins that are slightly bent.
A die that has a small indentation formed in it, producing coins with a bulged area.
Term for a precious metal coin, ingot, etc. that trade near their intrinsic metal value.
A legal tender coin that trades near it's melt value.
Term where planchets were burnished at the mint prior to striking.
Process of polishing or rubbing of a coin to create a shiny appearance.
Lines resulting from burnishing.
Term for a coin that has been over-dipped to creating surfaces that are dull.
A regular issue coin meant to go into circulation.
Mintmark used to signify coins struck at the Charlotte, North Carolina branch Mint.
Slight wear on a coin that was stored in a wooden cabinet.
Coins showing frosted devices and lettering that contrast highly with the fields.
An error where a coin gets jammed in the press for successive strikes, eventually forming a "cap".
Spot of oxidation seen on a coin.
Carson City Mint
Located in Nevada, this mint produced gold and silver coins from 1870-1893.
The effect seen on some coins when they are rotated giving the viewer an impression the luster is rotating around like a wheel.
Planchets made by a mold method.
A replication of a coin created by making molds of the obverse and reverse, then casting base metal in those molds.
Mintmark used to signify coins struck at the Carson City, Nevada branch Mint.
A compilation of the known specimens of a particular coin.
A denomination valued at one-hundredth of a dollar, sometimes referred to as a"penny"
An abbreviation for "Choice."
B branch Mint at Charlotte, North Carolina that operated from 1838-1861 and was closed due to the Civil War.
A method used by forgers to create a mint mark on a coin by heating the surface and manipulating the metal to form the mint mark.
A term to describe an especially attractive example of a particular grade.
A term applied to a coin that shows wear consistent with use in commerce.
Coins used by the general public for commerce.
A coin meant for commerce, also known as business strike.
A term used to describe "sandwich" coins that have layers of copper and nickel.
Coins showing signs of a clashed die where the obverse will have images from the reverse and vice versa.
Dies damaged by striking each other without a planchet between them, usually creating an obverse image to the reverse die and vice versa.
The term describing the period from 1792 until 1964 of U.S. coins.
Term to describe a coin whose original surface has been removed.
A coin struck from a clipped planchet.
A term for an irregularly cut planchet.
A die that has some contaminant lodged in the recessed areas creating coins with diminished detail.
The edge device, also known as a collar die, that surrounds the lower die.
Metal formed into standard designs enabling it to be circulated as money with government backing.
Term for an area resulting from coins rubbing together which displaces small amounts of metal.
A place where dealers sell and trade coins.
The metallic money of a country.
A metal piece that restrains the expanding metal of a coin during striking.
Coins issued to honor some person, place, or event.
A synonym for regular strike, circulation strike or business strike.
An issue that is readily available.
A date of an issue that is readily available.
A term for all possible coins within a series.
The state of preservation for a particular coin.
A term to indicate a common coin that is rarely found in high grades.
Generally small marks on a coin that are incurred through contact with another coin or a foreign object.
A spot, usually on gold coinage, indicating an area of copper concentration that has oxidized.
An alloy composed of copper and nickel.
Any reproduction of a coin.
Damage that results when reactive elements act upon metal.
A coin that is not genuine.
An impression placed on a coin after it has left the Mint of origin.
counting machine mark
A dense patch of lines caused by the rubber wheel of a counting.
An area of a coin struck by a die that has a complete break across part of its surface.
A coin that is usually non-collectible due to its extremely bad condition.
An alloy of copper and nickel.
Mintmark used on coins from the Dahlonega, Georgia, Mint from 1838 to 1861 and on coins struck at the Denver, Colorado, Mint from 1906 to the present.
Term used for coinage struck at the branch Mint in Dahlonega, Georgia, from 1838 to 1861, and coinage struck at the branch Mint in Denver, Colorado, from 1906 to the present.
Branch mint located in Dahlonega, Georgia, used from 1838-1861. The Dahlonega Mint struck only gold coins and utlized the "D" mintmark.
The numerals on a coin representing the year in which it was struck.
Someone who buys, sells or trades coins.
Coins that have deeply frosted devices and lettering that contrast with the fields.
deep mirror prooflike
A coin that has deeply reflective mirror-like fields.
The face value assigned by a government to a specific coin.
The tooth-like devices around the rim visible on many coins.
Short for denticles.
Branch mint started in 1906 in Denver, Colorado. This mint uses the "D" mintmark.
A particular motif on a coin.
A specific motif on coins which may be used for several denominations or subtypes.
The individual responsible for a particular motif used for a coin
Any specific design element.
A steel rod engraved, punched, or hubbed with devices, to create a coin.
Term to indicate the relative position of the obverse and reverse dies to each-other.
An uncommon area of a coin that is the result of a broken die.
A raised, irregular line on a coin that is the result of a hairline break in the die.
These are the raised lines on the coins resulting from the polish lines on the die.
Rust ccumulated on a die improperly stored.
A specific point in the life of a coinage die.
Raised lines on coins that were struck with polished dies.
A test striking of a die.
A coin that can be linked to a given set of dies whose characteristics were imparted to the coins it struck.
Deterioration in a die caused by excessive use, resulting in coins of less detail than desired.
The denomination, one tenth of a dollar, issued since 1796 by the United States.
Term for a small sized mark.
Term applied to a coin that has been placed in a mild acid wash that removes the toning from most coins.
Acid based solution used to remove toning from coins.
The original spelling of dime.
Term used for acoin that has been enhanced by some means.
The denomination, consisting of one hundred cents.
Literally two eagles, or twenty dollars.
Double Edge Lettering-Inverted
A coin sent through the edge lettering device twice, with one set of lettering upside down.
Double Edge Lettering-Overlap
A coin sent through the edge lettering device twice with both sets of lettering in the same direction.
A die that has been struck more than once resulting in the doubling of design elements.
A condition that results when a coin is not ejected from the dies and is struck a second time.
A discoloration of a coin resulting from impurities in the die.
Term for a coin that lacks luster.
A gold coin with a face value of ten dollars.
One of the first coins struck from a set of dies.
The area which borders the coin's surface. Sometimes referred to as the third side.
A group of letters or emblems on the edge of a coin.
The various devices seen on a coin.
The person responsible for the design of a coin.
A term applied to toning that results from storage in paper envelopes which contain reactive chemicals.
Damage seen on a coin that has been exposed to the elements
A coin that varies from the norm unintentionally.
The lower section of a coin or medal, usually divided from the field by a line and often containing the date, mintmark or engraver's initials.
A grade of coin with nearly full detail and only the high points worn.
The element of a coin's grade that draws the viewer's attention. The overall appearance of a coin.
The stated value on a coin backed by a government.
A grade consistent with heavy wear. Devices are usually partially visible.
A counterfeit or altered coin.
The portion of a coin where there is no design element.
Grade where most of a coin's detail is worn away. Some detail is , but not sharp.
The best-known condition of a coin.
A poor type of luster seen on coins struck from worn dies.
A plastic sleeve in which coins are stored.
Discoloration on the highest points of a coin resulting from contact with a flip.
The lines resulting from the metal flowing outward from the center of a planchet as it is struck.
Area of a coin to which a viewer's eye is drawn.
Slight wear on a coin's high points or in the fields.
An intense lustre (not mirror-like) caused by striking a coin with sandblasted dies.
Raised elements on coins struck with dies that have received a frosted treatment in their recessed areas.
The crystalline appearance of coins struck with dies that have frost in their recessed areas.
A coin that displays the full detail intended by the designer.
Slang term for a superb coin.
Precious metal that is bright yellow in color. It is dense, soft, shiny and malleable.
Grade usually with little detail but outlined major devices.
The condition of a coin.
The process of identifying the condition of a coin.
Fine cleaning lines found mainly in the fields of coins.
Rolls issued with one half the number of coins in a roll that would be considered normal today.
The upper die which is usually the obverse.
A cloudy film on a coin, whether original or added.
Any coin at the upper end of a particular grade.
Toning acquired by a coin as a result of storage in any holder.
The steel device from which a die is produced.
A Proof coin that that is no longer in a proof state, such as a circulated Proof.
A coin that is missing detail due to a problem during the striking process.
indian Head cent
U.S. cents struck from 1859 until 1909 with an Indian head design.
The value of the metal(s) contained in a coin.
The most important coin in a particular series.
A piece of metal that has nearly become detached from a coin.
Coins issued by a government which can be used to pay debts and for commerce.
A phrase appearing on a coin..
A coin edge that displays an inscription or other design elements other than plain or reeded.
The symbolic figure used in many coin designs.
The band of light seen on photographs of coins.
The Victor D. Brenner designed cent first struck in 1909.
Slang for Lincoln Head cent.
A repeating depression on a coin caused by a thread that adhered to a die during striking.
A small magnifying glass used to examine coins.
The glossy brilliance of a coins reflecting the light off the flow lines.
Coins that still have original mint bloom.
Imperfections acquired after striking.
The main die produced from the master hub which is used to create many working hubs.
The original hub created by the portrait lathe which is used to create master dies.
Term for the intrinsic value of the metals composing a particular numismatic item.
Slang for the Winged Liberty Head dime issued from 1916 until 1945.
metal stress lines
Radial lines resulting from the metal flowing outward from the center of the planchet during the minting process.
A mark resulting from the reeded edge of one coin hitting the surface of another.
A coining facility.
A set of uncirculated coins from a year comprising coins from each Mint that produced them.
A grade of a business strike coin that has never been in circulation. It may have many marks, or none at all.
The number of coins of a particular date struck at a given mint during a particular year.
The tiny letter(s) used to denote the mint at which a particular coin was struck.
Error coins that have striking irregularities.
A Proof coin that has been circulated, cleaned, or otherwise treated to reduce its condition.
missing edge lettering
A coin which does not display any of the intended design on the edge of the coin
The common term used for the Liberty Head silver dollar struck from 1878 until 1904 and again in 1921.
An inscription or phrase on a coin.
Error where the obverse die is of one coin and the reverse die is of another coin.
A coin that has been damaged to the point where it no longer can be graded.
A coin that never has been in circulation.
New Orleans Mint
Branch mint operated in New Orleans, Louisiana from 1838 until 1861 and again from 1879 to 1909. This mint uses the "O" mintmark.
Popular term for a five-cent piece struck in cupro-nickel alloy.
The science of money.
One who studies or collects money.
Mintmark for coins struck at the New Orleans, Louisiana branch Mint.
Coinage of the branch Mint in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The front, or heads side, of a coin.
A coin struck on a blank that was not properly centered over the anvil.
The dimple-textured fields seen on many gold proof coins.
A coin that never has been dipped or cleaned, or a coin struck from original dies in the year whose date it bears.
Coins in fixed quantities wrapped in paper and stored at the time of their issuance.
Term for the color acquired naturally by a coin.
A coin struck with a die on which one mintmark is engraved over a another mintmark.
A coin that has become dull from too many dips in an acid solution.
A coin struck from a die with a date that has one year punched over a previousyear.
Mintmark used by the main mint located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Term applied to the coins struck at the main Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
partial edge lettering
A coin that has at least one complete letter or star missing on the edge.
Synonym for toning.
A listing of a coin's current owner plus all known previous owners.
Slang for a one-cent coin.
Coloring around the edge of a coin.
The "mother" Mint, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which opened in 1792. This mint currently uses the "P" mintmark but coins produced prior to 1980 have no mintmark.
A term that means "double thick."
A flat, smooth edge.
The blank disk of metal before it is struck by a coining press which transforms it into a coin.
Various abnormalities found on coin blanks including drift marks, laminations, clips, etc.
An irregular hole in a coin blank.
Fine, incuse lines found on coins, usually the result of polishing blanks to impart mirrorlike surfaces prior to striking.
A term used to describe a coin to which a thin layer of metal has been applied.
Precious metal of extremely high value.
A coin that has had a hole filled with a base metal to replace a more valuable metal.
A die that has been basined to remove clash marks or other die defects.
A coin grade with readable date and mint marks, but little more.
A rough or granular surface.
Short for Proof.
Coins that are the deemed to be the best examples within a particular grade.
A coin specially struck and given to a dignitary or other person.
Any of the various machines used to produce coins.
A term applied to coins in original condition.
A coin usually struck from a specially prepared coin die on a specially prepared planchet, which results in much sharper detail.
A coin set containing Proof issues from particular year.
Specially prepared dies, often sandblasted or acid-picked, that are used to strike Proof coins.
A coin struck only in Proof with no business-strike coins of the same design produced.
A coin that has mirror-like surfaces.
A roll of coins that is not original but has been rolled from coins that has been "picked-over".
A film left on a coin after storage in flips that contain PVC.
A soft coin flip that contain PVC.
Short for a coin of the quarter dollar denomination.
Term to describe the color on a coin that may not be original.
Term for toning of coins that includes all colors of the rainbow.
A term indicating that a coin within a series is very difficult to find.
Relative unavailability of a coin..
Term for the lines that represent sun rays on coins.
Term used for a copper coin that retains 95 percent or more of its original color.
Term used for a copper coin that has from 5 to 95 percent of its original color remaining
The grooved notches on the edge of some coins.
Marks caused when the reeded edge of one coin hits the surface of another coin.
Coins struck for commerce..
Coins struck with normal methods on ordinarily prepared planchets. Synonymous with business strike.
The height of the devices of a design in relation to the fields.
A reproduction of a particular coin.
A coin struck later than indicated by its date.
A coin that has been dipped or cleaned and then has reacquired its tone.
The back, or tails side, of a coin..
The raised area around the edges of the obverse and reverse of a coin
A mark on the rim of a coin or .
A set number of coins rolled in a coin wrapper.
Minor marks seen on coins stored in rolls.
Term synonymous with rim.
Term to describe the mostly parallel incuse lines seen on some coins after striking.
Term for slight wear.
Mintmark used by the San Francisco, California branch mint.
Term applied to the coins struck at the San Francisco, California branch Mint.
San Francisco Mint
The United States branch Mint in San Francisco, California. It operated from 1854 until 1955, reopening again in 1965. This mint itilizes the "S" mintmark.
Fine luster seen on many business strike coins.
A detracting line that is more severe than a hairline mark.
Any toning that results after a coin is dipped or cleaned.
Term to denote coins that are somewhere between common and rare.
A coin that has some mirror-like surface mixed with satin or frosty luster.
A particular design or motif used over a period of time.
A collection of coins in a series, or a collection of types, or a collection from a particular Mint.
The emblem used on some coins in the shape of a shield.
Rolls of coins that contain double the normal amount of coins in a roll or a paper-wrapped roll that is machine-crimped like the end of a shotgun shell.
A soft, white, lustrous precious metal.
Holder in which a coin is encapsulated.
The process of encapsulating a coin in a sonically sealed holder.
Color that is uneven.
A discolored area on a coin.
Common name for the 1943 U.S. cents.
Sterling silver is a composition of 925 parts pure silver with 75 parts of copper.
Term to indicate the presence of a coin's intended detail or a term signifying the act of minting a coin.
The flat metal from which planchets are cut.
A term used to describe a coin produced from dies..
An error caused by a foreign object between the dies and the planchet.
The condition of the surface of a coin.
The obverse and reverse of a coin.
A procedure in which coins are placed in a bag and shaken vigorously to knock off small pieces of metal which are then melted down and resold. This produces small nicks in the original coins.
A substitute for a coin.
The term for the color seen on many coins, which can occur in many hues.
A line, usually small and fine, resulting from a reworking of the die to remove unwanted elements.
A die created by sacrificing a coin to create a model.
A method of weighing gold and silver. There are 480 grains (or 20 pennyweights) in a troy ounce. There are twelve troy ounces in a troy pound.
A variation in design, size, or content of a specific coin design.
Any coin of a particular design and denomination, usually one of the more common dates of any specific series.
ultra high relief
Alternate name for the Extremely High Relief.
A coin that is represented by only a few examples.
Short for uncirculated.
A coin that has never been in circulation or without wear.
A coin with the same date and design as another coin, with only slight differences.
Grading term encompassing coins with nearly full detail down to coins with less than half detail.
Mintmark used by the West Point, New York branch mint.
Term applied to the coins struck at the West Point, New York branch mint.
A look seen on the surfaces of most close-collar Proof coins where the surface portrays a wavy appearance.
weak edge lettering
A coin where the edge lettering has a portion of a letter/star or inscription missing.
A coin that does not contain the intended detail because of improper striking pressure.
West Point Mint
The West Point Mint was originally opened in 1937 as a bullion depository and starting as a minting facility in 1988. This mint uses the "W" mintmark.
The process of mechanically moving the metal of a coin to simulate luster.
K knife-like projection seen on rims created when metal flows between the collar and the dies.
A die used to strike coins.
A hub used to create the working dies.
A die that has lost its' detail from extended use.