Keeping up with the terms and jargon can be sometimes frightening. We hope that the following Coin Collecting Glossary on the most frequently used terms, acronyms and definitions will be beneficial to you. If we missed a word or phrase, please contact us and let us know. We would like to grow and expand this list with your help.
Mintmark used to signify coins struck at the Charlotte, North Carolina branch Mint.
Slight hairlines or friction seen on coins those were stored in wooden boxes. Today coins are housed in capsules, before they are places in these wooden boxes.
The term applied to coins, usually to describe proof and proof-like coins.
Any coins and numismatic items of the Canada.
Silver coins of Canada are about 80 percent pure Silver.
Alternate form of 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.
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.
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 luster rotates around like the spokes of a wagon wheel.
Made by pouring molten metal directly into a mold. This method is not being used anymore.
Planchets made by a mold method, rather than being cut from strips of metal.
A replication of a genuine coin usually created by making molds of the obverse and reverse, then casting base metal in the molds. A seam is usually visible on the edge unless it has been ground away.
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.
Term applied to coins struck at the Carson City, Nevada branch Mint.
Certified Coin Dealer Newsletter.
Certified Coin Exchange.
Coin Dealer Newsletter.
Refers to the any number of coins certified and graded in a specific grade by grading services.
Certified Coin Dealer Newsletter
Official name for the Bluesheet that lists bids/market prices for third-party certified coins.
Certified Coin Exchange.
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.
Practice which forgers use to re-create a mint mark on a coin. It involves heating particular surface and affecting the metal to re-create the mint mark.
To mislead, recognize and buy of 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.
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.
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.
The images of the dies seen on coins struck from clashed dies.
Dies that have been damaged by striking each other without a planchet between them.
A depiction of Miss Liberty that looked like Roman or Greek athlete wearing a ribbon around the hair.
Removal of the original surface by means of any form of cleaning.
Coin struck from a clipped planchet.
Planchet with a irregularly cut or shape. A clip can be curved or straight.
A die has grease or contains a contaminant in the recessed areas. Coins struck from lacks enough detail or it’s completely missing.
The edge device, sometimes called a collar die, that surrounds the lower die. The close collar imparts reeding or a smooth, plain edge.
Alternate form of close collar
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.
A systematic grouping of coins assembled for a hobby, fun or profit.
An individual or person who accumulates coins in a systematic manner.
Coin Dealer Newsletter
Weekly periodical commonly called the Greysheet, listing bid and ask prices for many United States coins.
Term applied to the area resulting when coins rub against each other in bags or rolls.
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 leaves the mint press such as rim nicks, rim bumps, blemishes or scratches with lower the coin value. 3x-5x magnification are used to inspect and study coins.
A show composed of coin dealers displaying their wares for sale and trade. These shows are normally hosted by the mint.
The Vertical axis on the obverse design is opposite (180 degrees) to that of the reverse.
Internet site established in 1994 for the trading of numismatic items.
Coin Universe 3000
An index of 3000 prices of the most important United States rare coins in the most collectible 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.
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 onsidered the “third” die. Today this are 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 honor some a place, event or person.
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.
A synonym for regular strike or business strike.
Refers to the numismatic issues of a series of coins.
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.
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.
The listing of the finest known examples of a particular date coin listed according to their condition.
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.
The process of determining the condition of a coin by using various graders.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Dies made at a later date, usually showing slight differences from the originals.
Alternate name for Braided Hair design by Christian Gobrecht (also called Liberty Head design).
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 aluminum, 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, artifacts 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
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-collectibles, due to its extremely bad condition. These coins will not grade as Poor-1, due to environmental damage, excesive handling or post-striking damage.
Any alloy of copper and nickel. Now usually used in reference to the modern “sandwich” issues. The copper-nickel cents, three-cent nickel issues, and nickel issues are also cupro-nickel.
Refers to improving a coins appearance by cleaning and stabilizing its surface by means of the use of non-abrasive methods.
Money in any form when in actual use as a medium of exchange.