Coin Term Glossary



























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.




"Fine" (the grade) and "12" (the numerical designation of the grade). The design detail is partially in evidence. The coin is still heavily worn. If there is any eye appeal in this grade it comes from the smooth surfaces associated with this grade, as any distracting marks have usually been worn off through circulation.


"Fine" (the grade) and "15" (the numerical designation of the grade). Most of the letters in LIBERTY are visible, about 35-50% of the wing feathers are visible, or whatever applies to the coin in question. In other words, the coin is still in highly collectible shape.

Face Value

This is the stated value on a coin, at which it can be spent or exchanged. The face value is usually different from a coin’s numismatic or precious metal value.


The adjective corresponding to the grade FR-2. In this grade, there is heavy wear with the lettering, devices, and date partially visible.


Jargon for a counterfeit or altered coin.

Fantasy Pieces

A term applied to coins struck at the impulse of Mint officials.

Fat head

Jargon for the Small Size Capped Bust quarter and half eagles.


Full Bands or Fine Beard.


Full Bell Lines


Full Head

Fiat Currency

Coins and paper money that do not have metal value or are not backed up by metal value.

Fibre Coins

This series was struck for schools to teach kids the use of money. All the pieces were struck onto a fibre material coloured (bronze, silver, gold) to resemble the different coin values.


Old numismatic term for a mint-error.


The flat area of a coin between the legend and the design. There is not any design on this portion of the coin. In some cases these are can have a slight curve.


A PCGS grader who, before computers were used for this task, compared his own grade with those of other graders and determined the final grade. The verifier replaced the finalizer after PCGS began inputting the grades by computer.


A grading term indicating moderate to considerable wear. The adjective corresponding to the grades F-12 and 15. In these grades, most of a coin's detail is worn away. Some detail is present in the recessed areas, but it is not sharp.

Fine Beard

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

Finest Known

The best-known condition example of a particular numismatic item.

First Shot

Slang for the opportunity to get the first opportunity to buy items from a particular numismatic deal or from a particular dealer.

First Strike (TM)


Beginning in 2004, PCGS began designating coins delivered by the U.S. Mint in the 30 day period following the initial sales date of a new product as "First Strike". For instance, new American Silver Eagles typically go on sale each January 1st, thus any coins delivered between January 1 and January 31 qualify for the First Strike (TM) designation.

First Type

The first design of a series of coin designs.


Short for a five-dollar gold coin or half eagle.

Five Indian

Slang for the Indian Head half eagles struck from 1908 to 1929.

Five Lib

Slang for the Liberty Head half eagles struck from 1839 until 1908.

Fixed Price List

A dealer listing of items for sale at set prices.

Flat Ddge

Term referring to the particular specimens of High Reliefs that do not have a wire edge.

Flat Luster

A subdued type of luster seen on coins struck from worn dies. Often these coins have a gray or otherwise dull color that makes the fields seem even more lackluster.


The first meaning implies the plastic sleeve(flip) in which coins are stored or the sell of a recently purchased coin.

Flip Rub

Discoloration, often only slight, on the highest points of a coin resulting from contact with a flip.


To sell a new purchase for a small profit, just to rectify the mistake.


Refers to the Silver Two Shilling produced between 1892 and 1897 and is part of the President Kruger Series(Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek, 1892 to 1897)and 1923 to 1936 King George V Series.

Flow Lines

The lines, sometimes visible, resulting from the metal flowing outwardfrom the center of a planchet as it is struck.

Flying Eagle

Flying Eagle Cent.

Focal Area

The area of a coin to which a viewer's eye is drawn.


Fraudulent imitation.


Any numismatic item or product outside your country.

Four-Dollar Gold Piece

Struck as a pattern(1879-1880) and also known as a Stella.


Fixed Price List.


"Fair" (the grade) and "2" (the numerical designation that means Fair). A coin that is worn out. There will be some detail intact, the date will be discernible (if not fully readable) and there is almost always heavy wear into the rims and fields.


Franklin Half Dollar

Franklin Half Dollar

The John Sinnock designed half dollar(1948 to 1963). This coin features the Liberty Bell on the reverse and Ben Franklin on the obverse.


Slight wear on a coin's high points or in the fields, due to handling.


A crystallized-metal effect seen in the recessed areas of a die, thus the raised parts of a coin struck with that die. This is imparted to dies by various techniques, such as sandblasting them or pickling them in acid, then polishing the fields, leaving the recessed areas with frost.

Frosted Devices

Raised elements on coins struck with treated dies that have frost in their lower areas.

Frosty Luster

The crystalline appearance of coins struck with dies that have frost in their recessed areas. Such coins show vibrant luster on their devices and/or surfaces; the amount of crystallization may vary.


Full Steps

Full strike

A numismatic item that displays the full detail intended by the designer.

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