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 on gold coins of the Dahlonega, Georgia, Mint from 1838 to 1861 and on coins of all denominations struck at the Denver, Colorado, Mint from 1906 to the present.
Term used for the gold coinage struck at the branch Mint in Dahlonega, Georgia, from 1838 to 1861, and for the coinage struck at the branch Mint in Denver, Colorado, from 1906 to the present.
The numerals on a coin representing the year in which it was struck.
A collection of coins all marked with the same year.
Short for Deep Cameo.
Doubled Die Obverse.
Someone whose occupation is buying, selling, and trading numismatic material.
Refers to underweight coins or coins whose precious metal content is inferior to legal standards.
The term applied to coins, usually Proofs and prooflike coins, that have deeply frosted devices and lettering that contrast with the fields - often called “black and white” cameos.
Deep Mirror Prooflike
Any coin that has deeply reflective mirror-like fields.
Removed from circulation or declared not to be legal tender.
Face value of a coin. The value assigned by a government to a specific coin.
The tooth-like devices around the rim seen on many coins. Originally these are somewhat irregular, later much more uniform - the result of better preparatory and striking machinery.
Short for denticles.
The Denver Mint was established in 1906. It had formerly been an Assay Office since 1863. Today, this Mint manufactures coins of all denominations for general circulation, medals, coin dies, stores gold and silver bullion, manufactures uncirculated coin sets and commemorative coins. This mint uses the “D” mintmark.
A particular motif on a coin or other numismatic item. The Seated Liberty, Barber, Morgan, etc. are examples of designs.
A specific motif placed upon coinage which may be used for several denominations and subtypes, e.g., the Liberty Seated design type used for silver coins from half dimes through dollars and various subtypes therein.
The individual responsible for a particular motif used for a numismatic series.
Any specific design element. Often refers to the principal design element.
A steel rod with a raised device on the end used to punch the element into a working die. This technique was used before hubbed dies became the norm.
A steel rod that is engraved, punched, or hubbed with devices, lettering, the date, and other emblems.
Term to indicate the relative position of the obverse and reverse dies. When the dies are out of alignment, several things can happen: If the dies are out of parallel, weakness may be noted in a quadrant of the coin's obverse and the corresponding part of the reverse; and if the dies are spaced improperly, the resultant coins may have overall weakness; if the dies are spaced too close together, the resultant coin may be well struck but the dies wear more quickly.
Raised irregular areas on a coin, the result of metal from the planchet being forced through a portion of the die which has broken and fallen out during the minting process. Dies are made of steel and they crack from use and have to be checked often. When the die breaks apart, the resultant break will result in a full, or retained, cud depending whether the broken piece falls from the die or not.
Raised, irregular lines on a coin, the result of a die having cracked and metal being forced through those cracks at the time of striking
These are the raised lines on the coins that result from the polish lines on the die, which are incuse, resulting in the raised lines on the coins.
An area of raised lines or highly reflective area of a coin, most often in the fields, that resulted from striking from dies that had been recently polished.
Rust that has accumulated on a die that was not stored properly.
There are two definitions for this term. One, many numismatists use it as a synonym for "die state." Two, some numismatists use the term "die stage" to refer to the specific status of a certain die state.
A readily identified point in the life of a coinage die. Often dies clash and are polished, crack, break, etc., resulting in different stages of the die. These are called die states. Some coins have barely distinguishable die states, while others go through multiple distinctive ones.
Raised lines on coins that were struck with polished dies. As more coins are struck with such dies, the striations become fainter until most disappear.
A test striking of a particular die in a different metal.
A coin that can be linked to a given set of dies because of characteristics possessed by those dies and mparted to the coin at the time it was struck.
Deterioration in a die caused by excessive use. This may evidence itself on coins produced with that die in a few indistinct letters or numerals or, in extreme cases, a loss of detail throughout the entire coin.
The denomination, one tenth of a dollar, issued since 1796 by the United States.
Jargon term for a small to medium size mark.
A term applied to a coin that has been placed in a commercial cleaning liquid, it can be a mild acid wash that removes the toning from most coins. Some dip solutions employ other chemicals, such as bases, to accomplish a similar result. Dipping coins will remove tarnish, natural toning or dirt from a coin.
Any of the commercial "dips" available on the market, usually acid-based.
The original spelling of dime, the s silent and thought to have been pronounced to rhyme with steam. (This variation was used in Mint documents until the 1830s and was officially changed by the Coinage Act of 1837.)
Deep Mirror Prooflike
Did Not Cross (Grading fees still apply)
Term used for a numismatic item that has been enhanced by chemical or other means. Usually, this is used in a deprecating way.
Literally two eagles, or Twenty dollars.
Double Edge Lettering-Inverted
Is normally a coin sent through the edge lettering device a second time with one set of lettering upside down. It also includes doubling of any design element due to slippage of the edge lettering device, such as a P mintmark over the 9 of the date.
Double Edge Lettering-Overlap
Is normally a coin sent through the edge lettering device a second time with the lettering in the same direction. It also includes doubling of many design element due to slippage of the edge lettering device, such as a "P" mintmark over the 9 of the date.
A die that has been struck more than once by a hub in misaligned positions, resulting in doubling of design elements. When this doubled die is used and area or the entire devices of one side of the coin appears doubled.
Jargon for the rare 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln Cent variety.
A condition that results when a coin is not ejected from the dies and is struck a second time. Such a coin is said to be double-struck. Triple-struck coins and other multiple strikings also are known. Proofs are usually double-struck on purpose in order to sharpen their details; this is sometimes only visible under magnification.
Daily Price Guide
The design attributed to Mint engraver Robert Scot that features Miss Liberty with a drape across her bust. Scot presumably copied the design after a portrait by Gilbert Stuart.
An area on a coin, often rather long, that has a discolored, streaky look. This is the result of impurities or foreign matter in the dies. One theory is that burnt wood was rolled into the strips from which the planchets were cut, resulting in these black streaks.
Term for a numismatic item that is lack luster. This may be the result of cleaning, oxidation, or other environmental conditions.