Glossary of Numismatic Terms & Acronyms - Coin Collector's University - ACSB.com

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An Introduction & Guide to Coin Collecting

Glossary of Numismatic Terms & Acronyms
Index

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Numismatic Terms & Acronyms

(in Alphabetical Order)

Numismatic Terms Click on any star to return here Numismatic Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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Return to Numismatic Terms Directory ACG
Grading service. ACcu-Grade. Controversial at present, because the assigned grades seem to be inflated relative to standard services like PCGS and NGC.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory adjustment marks
Marks caused by filing a planchet before striking to reduce its weight to the standard, as was sometimes done for early U.S. coinage.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory AG (AG3)
About Good. Grade.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory album
A book-like holder with slots for storing coins.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory altered
Intentionally modified after the minting process.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory ANA
American Numismatic Association. Collector and dealer organization.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory ANACS
Grading service. The initials originally stood for "American Numismatic Association Certification Service". It has since been sold to a company independent of the ANA.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory ancient
A coin produced prior to about 500 A.D.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory artificial toning
Coloration added to a coin by treatment with chemicals or other "doctoring".
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory assayed
To evaluate, appraise, examine & judge carefully in order to fix a value.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory ASE (SAE or SE)
American Silver Eagle. A one ounce silver bullion coin, issued by the United States government from 1986-date.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory attribute
n. A characteristic of a coin.
v. To identify a coin by determining the country of origin, denomination, series, date, mintmark and/or variety.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory AU (AU50, AU53, AU55, AU58)
About Uncirculated. Grade.
Return to Acronyms Directory auction
A public or private sale in which items are sold to the highest bidder.
Return to Acronyms Directory auction house (traditional auction house)
A place where public and/or private auctions are held.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory authentic
An original, non-counterfeit coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory authentication
Determination by an expert on whether or not a coin is authentic.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory bag marks
Small scratches and nicks resulting from movement of coins in the same bag (also known as contact marks or keg marks).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory bank note
Paper money issued by a bank.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory bar
A non-numismatic form of precious metal bullion. Bars come in many sizes.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory bas relief
Design elements are raised within depressions in the field
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory B# (B1-B10?)
Browning number (1925). Die variety - Bust Quarters, 1796-1838.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory B# (B1-B23?)
Bolender number (1950, 1998). Die variety - Silver Dollars, 1794-1803.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory BB# (BB1-BBn?)
Bowers and Borckardt number (1993). Die variety - Silver Dollars, 1794-1804 and later.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory BG# (BG101-BG1313)
Breen and Gillio number (1983). Die variety - California private gold, 1852-1882.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory bid
n. The amount or price offered for an item or the amount an item is expected to sell for at auction.
v. To offer an amount or price for an item.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory billon
An alloy of silver and another metal, usually copper, which is less than 50% silver.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory bi-metallic
A coin or coin-like object combining parts composed of two different metal alloys.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory bit
Pieces of eight were physically cut into eighths; each piece is one bit.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory blank
A piece of metal being prepared for coinage before the rims have been raised by passing through the upsetting mill.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory BN
Brown. Color grade for uncirculated copper coins.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory bourse
A location where dealers buy and sell coins with each other and the public, such as at a coin show.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory broadstrike/broadstruck
A coin struck without a firmly seated collar, resulting in "spreading" outwards, but still showing all design details.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory brockage
A mirror image of the design from one side of a coin impressed on the opposite side - occasionally, a newly struck coin "sticks" to a die, causing the next coin struck to have a First Strike Mirror Brockage of the coin stuck to the die; by the second strike the mirror is distorted, and later strikes are termed Struck Through A Capped Die.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory BU
Brilliant Uncirculated. A grade with a numerical value equal to about MS60-62.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory bullion
A coin or other object composed primarily of a precious metal, with little or no value beyond that of the metal.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory Bureau of Engraving and Printing
An agency of the U.S. Treasury Department responsible for production of currency.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory business strike or business issue
A coin struck and intended for circulation.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory BV
Bullion Value. The value of the coin is closely related to its metallic content (usually silver or gold).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory C
Charlotte (North Carolina). Mintmark, 1838-61, gold coins only.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory C# (C1-C23?)
Cohen number (1982). Die variety - Half Cents, 1793-1857.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory Canadian
Post confederation Canadian numismatics.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory cameo
A coin, usually struck as a Proof, with a frosted or satiny central device surrounded by a mirrorlike field.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory cartwheel
The pattern of light reflected by flow lines of mint state coins, resembling spokes of a wheel;
Name given to the British pennies and twopences of 1797 due to their unusually broad rims.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory CC
Carson City (Nevada). Mintmark, 1870-93, gold and silver coins only.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory certified coin
A coin authenticated and graded by a professional service.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory cherrypick
To find and purchase a coin worth a premium over the seller's asking price (generally a rare die variety priced appropriately for a more common variety).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory chop mark
A symbol (added to money by someone other than the government which issued it) to indicate authenticity.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory circulated
Denotes money that is no longer in mint state, generally as a result of normal handling and exchange.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory clad
Composed of more than one layer, such as the copper-nickel over copper composition of U.S. dimes, quarters, and halves minted presently.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory clash mark(s)
Outlines and/or traces of designs from the opposite side of a coin resulting from die clash.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory cleaning
Any process that removes foreign substances, corrosion or toning, e.g. application of solvents, dipping, and rubbing with abrasive materials or substances.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory cleaned coin
While any coin subjected to a cleaning process could technically be considered cleaned, this term most commonly refers to those which have been abrasively cleaned (a coin which has been abrasively cleaned generally has a lower numismatic value than an otherwise comparable uncleaned specimen).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory clip
A coin, planchet or blank missing a portion of metal from its periphery, caused by an error during blank production; types of clips include curved (most common), ragged, straight, eliptical, bowtie, disk and assay.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory clipping
Deliberate shearing or shaving from the edge of gold and silver coins. Patterns and mottos are included on edges of many coins to discourage the practice.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory CMM# (CMM1-CMM13?)
Cohen, Munson, Munde number (1971). Die variety - Half Cents, 1793-1857.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory coin
A piece of metal with a distinctive stamp and of a fixed value and weight issued by a government and used as money or "legal tender".
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory coin envelopes
A special envelope made from paper which has little or no harmful chemicals that may affect a coin's appearance, condition or value.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory coin show
An event where numismatic items are bought, sold, traded and often exhibited.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory collar
A device present in a coining press to restrict the outward flow of metal during striking and to put the design, if any, on the edge of the coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory collection
The numismatic holdings of an individual (or group, organization, estate, etc.) in total or of a particular type.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory colonial
A coin issued by any colony; frequently refers to those produced by European colonies in the Americas in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory commemorative
A coin with a design commemorating a person, place or event
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory condition census
A list of the finest known specimens of a particular variety of coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory consign
To hand merchandise over to someone you entrust to sell for you.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory contact marks
Small surface scratches or nicks resulting from movement of coins in the same bag or bin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory counterfeit
An imitation of a coin or note made to circulate as if actually money;
An altered or non-genuine coin made to deceive collectors, usually a more valuable date or variety.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory CSDG
California Small Denomination Gold.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory cud
A raised lump of metal on a coin caused by a piece of a die having broken off.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory cull
A coin that is extremely worn and/or damaged.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory cupro-nickel (or copper-nickel)
Composed of an alloy of copper and nickel, as for example U.S. 5 cent coins (other than half dimes) and Canadian 5 cent coins produced since 1982.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory currency
Paper money.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory CW
Coin World. Publication.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory D
Dahlonega (Georgia). Mintmark, 1838-61, gold coins only.
Denver (Colorado). Mintmark, 1906-present.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory damage
Physical change to a numismatic item, such as a scratch, nick, ding, cleaning, hole, pitting the effects of chemicals or environment, etc.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory date
The year(s) shown on a coin, usually the same as the year it was minted.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory DC (also DCAM)
Deep Cameo. High grade proof.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory DCAM
Deep Cameo. High grade proof.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory DDO
Doubled Die Obverse. Type of die variety.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory DDR
Doubled Die Reverse. Type of die variety.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory dealer
A person or company that regularly buys and sells numismatic collectibles.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory dealer buy price
The price at which most dealers are currently buying a particular coin. The price a dealer buys a coin for.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory deep mirror prooflike (DMPL)
Having highly reflective mirrorlike fields, similar to a coin struck as a Proof.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory delamination
Metal missing or retained but peeling from the surface due to incomplete bonding or impurities in the planchet.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory denarius
An ancient Roman silver coin weighing about 3 grams, roughly the same size as a U.S. dime but thicker.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory denomination
The face value of a coin. It's monetary worth as legal tender.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory denticles
Tooth like raise features just inside the rim of some coins (also known as dentils).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory design
The devices, lettering, etc. appearing on a coin and their arrangement with respect to each other.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory designer
The creator of a coin's design.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory device
A major design element, such as the bust of a person.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory die
A usually cylindrical piece of steel bearing at one end the incuse design of one side of a coin (except for coins with incuse detail, where the die details are in relief).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory die chip
A small fragment broken off from a die; metal flowing into the resulting hole during striking results in a small raised lump on the surface of the coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory die clash
Upper and lower dies coming together in a coin press without a planchet between them; design details may be partially impressed in the opposite dies and subsequently as mirror images on coins struck from the clashed dies.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory die crack
A narrow fissure in the surface of a die; coins struck with such a die have a narrow raised line corresponding to the crack.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory die erosion
Wear on a die from use in the minting process.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory die flow lines
(see "flow lines")
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory die state
The condition of a die at a particular point in its life.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory die polish
Small raised lines in the field of a coin resulting from polishing of a die to remove chips, clash marks, etc.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory dipping
Cleaning by immersion in a liquid capable of removing molecules from the surface, such as a solution containing thiourea.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory disme
The original spelling of dime, 1/10 of a dollar.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory DMPL
Deep Mirror Proof Like. Business strike, with deep mirrored planchet.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory double denomination
A rare error in which a previously struck coin is restruck by the die pair of another denomination.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory double die
A dubious term sometimes intended to mean a doubled die coin and sometimes indicating machine doubling (because there is often a substantial difference in value between the two, a savvy buyer will be sure to determine which case is true for any coin described as such).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory doubled die
A die with doubled device details, letters and/or numerals resulting from any of several possible differences between the multiple hub impressions during its manufacture; a coin struck from such a die.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory double eagle
A U.S. gold coin with a face value of $20, first minted in 1849 and last officially minted in 1932.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory drachma
An ancient Greek silver coin weighing about 3 grams, roughly the same size as U.S. dime but thicker.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory EAC
Early American Coppers, Inc. Collector and dealer organization.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory eagle
A U.S. gold coin with a face value of $10, first minted in 1795 and last minted in 1933; also, the current U.S. $50 face value gold bullion coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory edge
The "third side" of a coin, encompassing the perimeter.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory EF (EF40, EF45)
Extremely Fine. Grade.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory E Pluribus Unum
"Out of many, one"; the motto on many U.S. coins.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory error
Any unintentional deviation in the minting process resulting in one or more coins with a different appearance than intended.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory exergue
The lower part of a coin or medal, usually divided from the field by a line and often containing the date, mintmark or engraver's initial(s).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory exonumia
Tokens, medals and other non-monetary coin-like objects.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory eye appeal
Overall attractiveness (beauty is in the eye of the beholder).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory F (F12, F15)
Fine. Grade.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory face value
The ordinary monetary worth of a coin or note at the time of issue.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory fair market value
The American Heritage Dictionary descibes it as "the price, as of a commodity or service, at which both buyers and sellers agree to do business". To many people "fair market value" has come to mean the most commonly accepted price at which the majority of buyers and sellers agree to do business.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory field
The flat background on a coin, medal or token.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory fishscale
Canadian five cents silver coin or United States three cent silver coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory flan
British term for a planchet.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory flip
A clear, soft plastic holder normally used for a single coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory flow lines
Microscopic lines in the surface of a coin resulting from the outward flow of metal during striking.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory fiat money
Money that is not backed by specie and is legal tender by decree.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory fractional currency
Paper money with a face value of less than one dollar.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory FS# (FS1-FS?)
Fivaz and Stanton number (19xx). Die variety - many series.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory fugio cent
The first coin issued by authority of the United States, produced by contractors in 1787.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory G (G4, G6)
Good. Grade.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory galvano
An epoxy coated plaster relief model of a coin, token or medal created by electrodeposition (much larger than the dies later created from it).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory GMM
Gallery Mint Museum. A current producer of replicas of early US coins.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory grade/grading
One of several terms summarizing the overall condition of a coin or other numismatic item; the process of evaluation leading to assignment of a grade.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory Greysheet
the Coin Dealer Newsletter, a price guide for U.S. coins intended for dealer-to-dealer sight seen transactions.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory hairlines
Light scratches in the surface of a coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory half cent.
A U.S. coin with a face value of 1/200th of a dollar first minted in 1793 and last minted in 1857
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory half dime
A U.S. coin with a face value of 5 cents issued with dates between 1794 and 1873; originally called a half disme.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory half eagle
A U.S. gold coin with a face value of $5 first minted in 1795 and last minted in 1929.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory hobo nickel
A coin (usually a U.S. Buffalo nickel) physically altered to produce a substantially different image.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory holed
Having a hole drilled through it, usually as a result of being used for jewelry.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory holder
Any device designed for storage and sometimes display of numismatic items.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory hub
A steel bar used to make dies having the same raised design on one end as one side of the coins ultimately produced.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory ICGS
Grading service. Independent Coin Grading Service.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory impaired proof
A proof coin with wear or damage resulting from circulation or other handling.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory incuse
The opposite of relief -- design elements are impressed into the surface.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory J# (J1-J1778?)
Judd number (1959-77). Pattern or experimental coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory JR# (JR1-JR13?)
John Reich number (Davis, et al, 1984). Die variety - Bust Dimes, 1794-1837.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory key date
The rarest (or one of the most rare) and therefore most expensive members of a coin series, e.g. the 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent or 1916-D Mercury dime.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory KM# (KM1-KM?)
Krause and Mishler number. From Standard Catalog of World Coins. Type of world coin. Includes California, Mormon, Colorado, Hawaii.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory Krause
A numismatic publishing company (Krause Publications); this company's Standard Catalog of World Coins.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory lamination flaw
(see "delamination")
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory large cent
A U.S. coin with a value of 1 cent, minted from 1793 to 1857, composed primarily of copper and larger in diameter than the current U.S. quarter or A similar Canadian coin issued between 1858-1920.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory legal tender
Money that may be legally offered in payment of an obligation and that a creditor must accept (source: Webster's New World Dictionary).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory legend
Lettering on a coin other than the denomination or nation which issued it
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory loonie
Popular name for the Canadian loon dollar coin first issued in 1987.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory loupe
A type of magnifying glass used by numismatists and jewelers.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory love token
A coin (or sometimes a token) which has been altered by someone as a rememberance or in a tribute to another person. Most commonly a love token will have a loved one's name or intitials engraved into it. Some love tokens have been painstakingly engraved with elaborate scrollwork.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory luster
The brilliance of a coin, resulting from reflection of light off die flow lines.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory machine doubling
Doubling of details resulting from loose dies during striking (generally considered to have no numismatic value).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory mail bid
An auction format in which bids are submitted by mail; the highest offer for each lot received by the closing date wins the lot (several other rules usually apply).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory matte proof
A proof coin with a granular (rather than mirrorlike) surface produced by dies treated to obtain a minutely etched surfaces (usually in the raised portion of the coin's design).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory medal
A coin-like object struck to honor one or more persons or events depicted or mentioned in its design; an object awarded to persons in recognition of service or other accomplishment.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory melt/melt value
The worth of precious metal in a coin, determined by multiplying the amount of the metal it contains by the spot price of the metal.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory mint
A facility for manufacturing coins.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory mintage
The quantity of a denomination of coins produced at a mint during a period of time (usually one year).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory mint bloom
The original surface of a newly minted coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory mintmark
A letter or symbol designating the mint which produced the item bearing it.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory mint set
A specially packaged group of uncirculated coins from one or more mints of the same nation containing at least one coin for most or all of the denominations issued during a particular year.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory mint state
In the same condition as when delivered from the mint (natural toning excepted); uncirculated.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory misplaced date
One or more digits of a date punched away from the intended location, such as in the denticles or in the central design.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory motto
A phrase imprinted on a coin, for most U.S. coins "E PLURIBUS UNUM".
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory MS (MS60-MS70)
Mint State. (Uncirculated, business strike). Grade.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory mule
A coin struck from two dies not intended to be used together.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory multiple strike
A coin struck more than once as a result of not being properly ejected from the coining press.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory mylars or mylar coin holders
This commonly refers to a holder made from cardboard which has two coin-sized holes cut out in a particular denomination. The holes are covered with a plastic film (mylar). A coin is placed in one cut out aread and the cardboard is folded in half, allowing both sides of the coin to be seen through the plastic film. The cardboard is usually held together by staples or glue (as with pre-glued mylars). Mylar film is used because it has no known chemicals which may cause damage to coins, however, a coin may become toned from chemicals which are found in some staples, gum, or tape.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory N# (N1-N17?)
Newcomb number (1944). Die variety - Large Cents, 1816-1868.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory N# (N1-N105?)
Newman number (1952). Die variety - Fugio Cents, 1787.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory natural toning
Coloration resulting from chemical change on the surface during normal environmental exposure over a prolonged period.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory NC
Not Collectable. A unique or nearly unique coin. Usually one of Sheldon's die varieties of Large Cents. At the time of Sheldon's "Penny Whimsey" (1958), for a coin to be NC, there had to be less than 3 specimens known.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory net price
A term signifying that the seller is unwilling to sell for less than the price marked.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory NGC
Grading service. Numismatic Guarantee Corporation.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory NLG
Numismatic Literary Guild. A prestigious organization of writers of numismatically related articles, books, etc.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory NN
Numismatic News. Publication.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory numismatics
The collection and study of coins, tokens, medals, paper money and other objects exchanged for goods and services or manufactured by similar methods.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory numismatist
A person who collects and/or studies numismatic items.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory O# (O101-O128?)
Overton number (1970). Die variety - Bust Half Dollars, 1794-1836.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory obol
A small silver coin of ancient Greece, originally a day's wages for a rower on a galley or a citizen on jury duty.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory obverse
The front or "heads" side of a coin, often bearing a portrait and date.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory off center
Incorrectly centered during striking, resulting in part of the design missing (off the edge).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory OMM
Over MintMark. Two different mintmarks involved. (versus RPM, which is the same mintmark punched more than once). Type of die variety.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory on-line auctions
An auction held over the Internet, such as on Ebay.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory original/original toning
Having natural surfaces resulting from long exposure to ordinary environmental conditions; uncleaned.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory overdate
A coin struck from a die with at least one digit of the date repunched over a different digit, e.g. 1809/6 or 1942/1.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory overgraded
Designated with a higher grade than merited.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory over mintmark
One mintmark on top of a different mintmark, such as a 'D' over an 'S' (denoted D/S).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory P
Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Mintmark, 1942-45 (5c only), 1979- (all but 1c). Sometimes denotes absence of mintmark.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory paper money.
Paper notes with standardized characteristics issued as money
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory paranumismatica
British term for exonumia.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory patina
A thin layer of naturally oxidized metal on the surface of a coin acquired with age.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory pattern
A coin struck as a test piece for a new design, sometimes without a date.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory PCGS
Professional Coin Grading Service. Grading service.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory PCI
Photo-certified Coin Institute. Grading service.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory PF (PF60-PF70)
Proof. Type of coin production and/or Grade. Contrasts with business strike.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory pick up point
An area where a feature, such as die doubling, is most evident.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory piece of eight
A former Spanish coin with a face value of eight reales; the U.S. dollar was originally valued at and tied to eight reales.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory pitted
Having a rough surface due to loss of metal by corrosion.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory PL
Proof Like. Business strike, with mirrored planchet.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory planchet
A piece of metal prepared for coinage with raised rims but as yet unstruck.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory plugged
Denotes that a holed coin has been filled.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory PNG
Professional Numismatists Guild. Dealer organization.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory porous
Having a granular surface as the result of oxidation, most frequently found with older copper coins.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory PQ
Premium Quality. Sometimes part of the sealed slab grade, such as a MS64 PQ (not quite good enough for MS65). Often it is just a hype adjective like "Choice" or "Select".
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory PR (PR60-PR70)
Proof. Type of coin production and/or Grade. Contrasts with business strike.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory precious metals
Term usually reserved for gold, silver, platinum, etc.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory premium
A price or value over and above (in addition to) a coins face value.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory prestige set
A set of coins produced by the U.S. Mint containing one or more proof commemorative coins released in the same year, as well as a proof cent, nickel, dime, quarter and half.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory problem coin
Any coin that has been cleaned or damaged or has other undesirable characteristics.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory proof
A coin specially manufactured to have extra sharp detail, mirrorlike fields and sometimes frosted or "cameo" devices, produced for sale to collectors at a premium or for exhibition or presentation.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory prooflike
Having mirrorlike fields, similar to a coin struck as a Proof.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory proof like
A coin specially manufactured by the Royal Canadian Mint with mirror fields.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory proof set
A specially packaged group of coins containing at least one of most or all of the denominations of proof coins struck by a nation in a particular year.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory PVC
Poly Vinyl Chloride. An ingredient of soft plastic "flip" coin holders which will damage coins over time.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory quarter eagle
A U.S. gold coin with a face value of $2.50 first minted in 1796 and last minted in 1929.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory R# (R1-R8)
Rarity scale. R1 most common; R8 least common. The often used Sheldon scale is:
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory rarity
An infrequently encountered or available item; the number of surviving specimens of a particular issue, as may be indicated by a rarity scale index.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory rarity scale
A convention for designating the rarity of a coin, such as Sheldon's system (with values such as R1 for common pieces and R6 for extremely rare specimens) and the Universal Rarity Scale invented by Alan Herbert (with designations such as URS3).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory RB
Red-Brown. Color grade for uncirculated copper coins (BN, RB, or RD).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory RD
Red. Color grade for uncirculated copper coins (BN, RB, or RD).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory real
A former basic monetary unit of Spain and Spanish colonies in the Americas.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory Red Book
The Handbook of U.S. Coins, a retail price guide for U.S. coins published annually, originally written by R.S. Yeoman.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory reeded edge
An edge with raised parallel lines, a.k.a. milled or grained.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory relief
Features rising above the field.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory repunched date
A date with one or more of the digits punched more than once in different locations and/or orientations.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory repunched mintmark (RPM)
A mintmark punched more than once in different locations and/or orientations.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory restrike
A coin struck with authentic dies later than the date it bears.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory retail or retail price
The price at which a coin or item is commonly sold in a retail store. Price of an item sold to "end" user or collector.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory reverse
The back or "tails" side of a coin.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory RIC
Roman Imperial Coinage.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory rim
The outer edge of a coin, often raised to avoid premature wear.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory round
A disc shaped piece of precious metal bullion.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory RPC
Roman Provincial Coinage.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory RPD
RePunched Date. Type of die variety.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory RPM
RePunched Mintmark. Type of die variety.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory RSC
Roman Silver Coinage.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory S
San Francisco (California). Mintmark, 1854-1955, 1968-present.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory S# (S1-S295?)
Sheldon number (1949). Die variety - Large Cents, 1793-1814.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory S# (S1-S9?)
Snow number (1992). Die variety - Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents, 1856-1909.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory SAE (ASE)
Silver American Eagle. A one ounce silver bullion coin, issued 1986-date.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory scrip
A note issued by and redeemable at a merchant or group of merchants.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory SEGS
Sovereign Entities Grading Service. Grading service.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory series
Coins of the same major design and denomination, including every combination of date and mintmark minted, e.g. Morgan dollars.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory Sheldon scale
A numerical grading system ranging from 1 to 70 created by Dr. William H. Sheldon to denote proportional values of large cents minted from 1793 to 1814 and subsequently adaped as a general grading scale.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory shinplaster
Canadian fractional banknotes.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory sight seen
Available for examination to a potential buyer before a purchase decision is made.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory sight unseen
Not available for examination to a potential buyer before a purchase decision is made, as is usually the case with mail order transactions.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory silver certificate
A note (paper money) once redeemable for its face value in silver.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory silver clad
A clad coin with one layer containing silver, such as U.S. halves struck from 1965 to 1970.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory silver eagle
A coin produced by the U.S. mint beginning in 1986 containing one ounce of silver and having a nominal face value of $1 (not released for circulation).
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory slab
A coin certified by a professional grading service as authentic and encapsulated in a sealed hard plastic holder also containing a label bearing the service's opinion of its grade and other information.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory slider
A coin with very slight traces of wear, such that it almost passes for an uncirculated specimen.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory SP
Specimen. Better than business strike, but not quite a proof.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory specie
Precious metal used to back money, usually gold and silver.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory split grade
Different grades for the obverse and reverse sides.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory spot
Short for spot price.
A small area of corrosion or foreign substance
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory spot price
The market price for immediate delivery of a commodity, such as a precious metal.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory spread
The difference between buy and sell prices on the same item(s) of a dealer, broker, etc.
The extent of separation between impressions on a doubled die.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory stella
A U.S. gold coin pattern with a face value of $4 minted in 1879 and 1880.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory striations
Incuse marks caused by rolling bars during planchet production.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory strike
The process of impressing the design from a die into a planchet to make a coin, token or medal;
The completeness of detail (as in weak strike, full strike, etc.) created during this process.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory strike doubling
See machine doubling.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory tetradrachma
An ancient Greek silver coin weighing about 13 to 17 grams, roughly the same size as a U.S. quarter but three times thicker.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory thumbing
The rubbing of skin oil onto a coin in an attempt to hide contact marks.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory token
A coin-like object redeemable for a particular product or service, such as transportation on a bus or subway; an unofficial coin issued by a business or town to be used as small change, e.g., in 17th-19th century Britain, and in France in the 20th century.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory toning
Color acquired from chemical change on the surface.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory trade dollar
A U.S. coin with a face value of $1 minted from 1873 through 1885 specifically for commerce in the Orient;
A U.K. coin with a face value of $1 minted from 1895 through 1935 specifically for commerce in the Orient.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory trime
A U.S. coin with a face value of 3 cents minted in predominantly silver alloys from 1851-1873.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory tube
A plastic container designed for storing a roll or other quantity of coins of the same size.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory type coin
Any coin of a particular design and denomination, usually one of the more common dates.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory type set
A collection of coins of various designs; rather than try to complete the series, the goal of the type collector is to obtain at least one example of several different types.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory UC (UCAM)
Ultra Cameo. High grade proof.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory UNC (Unc., MS60?)
Uncirculated. Grade.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory uncirculated
Never circulated; without any wear.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory V# (V1-V10?)
Valentine number (1975). Die variety - Half Dimes, 1794-1873.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory VAM
Any variety of U.S. silver dollar described in the book Morgan and Peace Dollars by Van Allen and Mallis.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory variety
Any coin struck from a die pair that differs from others with the same date and mintmark, such as one exhibiting die doubling, different style letters or numerals, or a repunched mintmark.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory VAM# (VAM1-VAM230?)
Van Allen and Mallis number (1976). Die variety - Morgan Dollars, 1878-1921.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory VF (VF20, VF30, perhaps VF35)
Very Fine. Grade.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory VG (VG8, VG10)
Very Good. Grade.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory W
West Point (New York). Mintmark, 1984-present.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory want list
A tabulation of collectibles sought by a collector, often including limits on condition and/or price.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory water mark
A design put into paper at the manufacuring stage by pressing it while wet between rollers bearing the design.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory wear
Metal lost during handling and contact with other objects.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory whizzing
Alteration by mechanical polishing to produce a shiny surface.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory world coins
Coins issued by various nations, as in a collection comprised of coins thereof.
Return to Numismatic Terms Directory XF (XF40, XF45)
eXtremely Fine. Grade.

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Coin Collector's University attempts to address the most commonly asked questions about coin collecting. It is intended only as a general guide to the hobby. The information found in this website should not be misconstrued as an actual course in Numismatics and is in no way intended for use as investment advice. Inclusion or mention of a product, dealer or company in this FAQ does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation.

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