Keeping up with the Terms, Abbreviations and Jargon

can be sometimes frightening - We made is easier to understand

We hope that the following Coin Collecting Glossary on the most frequently used terms, acronyms, and definitions will be beneficial to you.

Coin Term Glossary

























Mintmark used to signify coins struck at the Charlotte, North Carolina branch Mint.



Cabinet Friction

Slight hairlines or friction seen on coins were stored in wooden boxes. Today coins are housed in capsules before they are placed in these wooden boxes.




The term applied to coins, usually to describe proof and proof-like coins.


Any coins and numismatic items of Canada.

Canadian silver

Silver coins of Canada are about 80% pure Silver.

Cap Bust

The alternate form of Capped Bust.

Capped Bust


A term describing any of the various incarnations of the head of Miss Liberty represented on early U.S. coins by a bust with a floppy cap. This design is credited to John Reich.

Capped Die


The term applied to an error in which a coin gets jammed in the coining press and remains for successive strikes, eventually forming a “cap” either on the upper or lower die. These are sometimes spectacular with the “cap” often many times taller than a normal coin.

Carbon Spot

A spot seen mainly on copper and gold coins, though also occasionally found on U.S. nickel coins (which are 75% copper) and silver coins (which are 10% copper). Carbon spots are brown to black spots of oxidation that range from minor to severe – Some coins could be so damaged by carbon sport that they are not gradable.

Carson City Mint

Located in Nevada, this mint produced gold and silver coins from 1870-1893. This mint uses the “CC” mintmark on all their coins.


Seen on some coins when they are rotated in a good light source. The lustre rotates around like the spokes of a wagon wheel.


Made by pouring molten metal directly into a mould. This method is not being used anymore.

Cast Blanks

Planchets made by a moulding method, rather than being cut from strips of metal.

Cast Counterfeit


A replication of a genuine coin usually created by making moulds of the obverse and reverse, then casting base metal in the moulds. A seam is usually visible on the edge unless it has been ground away.

Castaing Machine

A device invented by French engineer Jean Castaing, which added the edge lettering and devices to early U.S. coins before they were struck. This machine was used until close collar dies were introduced which applied the edge device in the striking process.


A printed listing of coins for sale either by auction or private treaty. As a verb, to write the description of the numismatic items offered.


Coarse Beard – see Coarse Beard.


Mintmark used to signify coins struck at the Carson City, Nevada branch Mint.


The term applied to coins struck at the Carson City, Nevada branch Mint.


Certified Coin Dealer Newsletter.


Certified Coin Exchange.


Coin Dealer Newsletter.


Refers to any number of coins certified and graded in a specific grade by grading services.

Certified Coin Dealer Newsletter

The official name for the Bluesheet that lists bids/market prices for third-party certified coins.


Certified Coin Exchange.



Charlotte Mint

Located in North Carolina, the branch Mint at Charlotte operated from 1838-1861. The Charlotte mint struck only gold coins. The coins bear the “C” mintmark.


A practice which forgers use to re-create a mint mark on a coin. It involves heating a particular surface and affecting the metal to re-create the mintmark.


To mislead, recognize and buy rare/scarce coins, as a common coin from an unsuspecting/inexperienced seller.


An adjectival description applied to coin's grade, e.g., choice Uncirculated, choice Very Fine, etc. Used to describe an especially attractive example of a particular grade.

Choice UNC

Choice Uncirculated.

Choice Uncirculated

An Uncirculated coin grading MS-63 or MS-64.


Coins that have been handled and shows wear, ranging from slight rubbing to heavy wear.


A term applied to coins that have been used for trade/commerce.

Circulation strike

An alternate term for Business Strike or Regular Strike. A coin meant for commerce.


A term used to describe any modern coins that have layers of copper and nickel. The copper core is surrounded by a copper-nickel alloy, to make it look more durable.

Clash Marks

The images of the dies seen on coins struck from clashed dies.

Clashed Dies

Dies that have been damaged by striking each other without a planchet between them.

Classic Head

A depiction of Miss Liberty that looked like Roman or Greek athlete wearing a ribbon around the hair.


Removal of the original surface using any form of cleaning.


A coin struck from a clipped planchet.


Planchet with an irregularly cut or shape. A clip can be curved or straight.

Clogged Die

A die has grease or contains a contaminant in the recessed areas. Coins struck from lack enough detail or it’s completely missing.

Close Dollar

The edge device, sometimes called a collar die, that surrounds the lower die. The close collar imparts reeding or a smooth, plain edge.

Closed Collar

An alternate form of a close collar

Coarse Beard

Refers to the coarse beard on the Obverse of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek(ZAR), 1874 coins.


The use of any metal and formed in the shape of a disc(This artefact have a consistent weight, design, thickness, diameter, metal index) and authorized by the government for means of payment.

Coin Collection

A systematic grouping of coins assembled for a hobby, fun or profit.

Coin Collector

An individual or person who accumulates coins in a systematic manner. It also refers to a numismatist (a person who devotes time to study coins).

Coin Dealer Newsletter

Weekly periodical commonly called the Greysheet, listing bid and ask prices for many United States coins.

Coin Friction

A term applied to the area resulting when coins rub against each other in bags or rolls.

Coin Grading

Coin grading is in the eye of the beholder and the grade should always be universal and common to every grader and coin. Any artefacts after the coin leave the mint press such as rim nicks, rim bumps, blemishes or scratches with lower the coin value. 3x-5x magnification is used to inspect and study coins.

Coin Show

A show composed of coin dealers displaying their wares for sale and trade. These shows are normally hosted by the mint.

Coin Struck

The Vertical axis on the obverse design is opposite (180 degrees) to that of the reverse.

Coin Universe

Internet site established in 1994 for the trading of numismatic items.

Coin Universe 3000

An index of 3000 prices of the most important the United States rare coins in the most collectable grades.

Coin Universe Daily Price Guide

A price guide available on the internet listing approximate selling prices for PCGS graded coins of nearly every United States issue in multiple grades. These prices are compiled from electronic networks, auctions, price lists, coin shows, and so on.

Coin Universe Hall of Fame

A listing of famous numismatists, past and present, available on the internet through the Coin Universe portal.

Coin World

Weekly numismatic periodical established in 1960.


The metallic money of a specific country.


A metal piece that either positions a planchet beneath the dies and/or restrains the expanding metal of a coin during striking. Collars are considered the “third” die. Today this is used to impart the edge markings to a coin. Collars can a simple hole in a flat piece of metal or a set of segments that pull away from the coin after it is struck.


Short for “coin collection.”


An individual or person who collects a group of coins or other numismatic items of value.




Coins issued to honour some a place, event or person.

Commercial grade


A grade that is usually one level higher than the market grade; refers to a coin that is pushed a grade, such as an EF/AU coin (corresponding to 45+) sold as AU-50.

Commercial strike

A synonym for regular strike or business strike.


This refers to the numismatic issues of a series of coins.

Common Date

A particular issue within a series that is readily available. No exact number can be used to determine which coins are common dates as this is relative to the mintage of the series.

Complete Set

A term for all possible coins within a series, all types, or all coins from a particular country Mint.


The state of preservation of a particular numismatic issue.

Condition Census

The listing of the finest known examples of a particular date coin listed according to their condition.

Condition Rarity

A term to indicate a common coin that is rare when found in high grades. Also, the rarity level at a particular grade and higher.

Consensus Grading

The process of determining the condition of a coin by using various graders.

Contact Marks

Marks on a coin that are incurred through contact with another coin or a foreign object. These are generally small, compared to other types of marks such as gouges.

Contemporary Counterfeit

A coin, usually base metal, struck from crudely engraved dies and made to pass for face value at the time of its creation. Sometimes such counterfeits are collected along with the genuine coins, especially in the case of American Colonial issues.

Continental Dollars

1776 dated “dollars” struck in pewter (scarce), brass (rare), copper (extremely rare) and silver (extremely rare). Although likely struck sometime later than 1776, these saw extensive circulation. The design was inspired by certain Benjamin Franklin sketches. Some of these were possibly struck as pattern “cents” instead of “dollars.”

Copper Spot

A spot(small red/orange areas) or stain commonly seen on gold coinage, indicating an area of copper concentration that has oxidized or impurities in their alloy. Copper spots or stains various from tiny dots to large blotches.


Jargon for half cents, large cents, and pre-Federal copper issues.


Any reproduction, fraudulent or otherwise, of a coin.

Copy Dies

Dies made at a later date, usually showing slight differences from the originals.

Coronet Head

An alternate name for Braided Hair design by Christian Gobrecht (also called Liberty Head design).



The damage that results when reactive chemicals act upon metal. When toning ceases to be a protective coating and instead begins to damage a coin, corrosion is the cause. Usually confined to copper, nickel and silver regular issues, although patterns in aluminium, white metal, tin, etc., also are subject to this harmful process.


The price paid for a numismatic item.


A fake coin that is not genuine. The term also applied to issues with added mint marks, altered dates, artefacts after the coin was struck, etc.



A stamp or impression placed on a coin after it has left the Mint of origin. Counterstamp leaves a permanent impression on the coin and may increase
or improve its value. it is sometimes used as an advertising gimmick.

Counting Machine Mark

A dense patch of lines caused by the rubber wheel of a counting machine where the wheel was set with insufficient spacing for the selected coin. Many coins have been subjected to counting machines – among these are Mercury dimes, Buffalo nickels, Walking Liberty half dollars, Morgan and Peace dollars, and Saint-Gaudens double eagles.


A word that is used to describe a coin that graded the same at two different grading services.


British name for a five-shillings coin and also refers to the Silver Five Shillings(1892 only) produced as part of the President Kruger series.




Coin Universe 3000



An area of a coin struck by a die that has a complete break across part of its surface. A cud may be either a retained cud, where the faulty piece of the die is still in place or a full cud, where the piece of the die has fallen away. Retained cuds usually have dentil detail if on the edge, while full cuds do not.


A term for a coin excessively worn or damaged. These coins are a non-collectables, due to its extremely bad condition. These coins will not grade as Poor-1, due to environmental damage, excessive handling or post-striking damage.


Any alloy of copper and nickel. Now usually used about the modern “sandwich” issues. The copper-nickel cents, three-cent nickel issues, and nickel issues are also cupro-nickel.


This refers to improving the appearance of a coin by cleaning and stabilizing its surface using the use of non-abrasive methods.


Money in any form when in actual use as a medium of exchange.

If we missed a word or phrase, please let us know. We would like to grow and expand this list with your help.

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