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.
Describe the toning often seen on commemorative coins which were sold in cardboard holders with a round tab. Coins toned in these holders have a circle in the center – and referred to having tab toning.
Any coins with circles of color, similar to an archery target, with deeper colors on the periphery often fading to white or cream color at the center.
The type of grading which only relies on certain "technical merits" of a coin such as strike and marks. As opposed to aesthetic merits such as luster, toning and overall eye-appeal. For example, a coin may be "technically" awesome but receive a more modest certified grade because the toning is just too dark and unattractive.
Refers to the first design submitted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the personal request of then President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.
A coin merchant uses leads and sells coins over the telephone. Leads are created when a buyer show an interest in a coin, by filling in an online request to get more information on coin investment or information on a particular coin that is on display.
Jargon for an eagle or ten-dollar gold coin
Common name for an Indian Head eagle
Common name for a Liberty Head eagle
A small, direct light source used by many graders or numismatists to help investigate, examine and grade coins.
The Germanic spelling of the Europe silver-dollar size coins. Our word “Dollar” is derived from Thaler.
Monthly publication of the American Numismatic Association(ANA).
Common name for the Indian Head three-dollar Gold coin.
Three Cent Nickel
The 75% copper and 25% nickel three-cent coins (1865-1889) with Liberty Head motif on.
Three Cent Silver
The USA three-cent coin with a star motif struck in silver alloy.
A term used to describe a coin that has been adjusted in an explicit way to cover up any marks, hairlines, or other instabilities. The natural oils in the skin were used to when rubbing with your thumb gently over the disturbances. The skin oils helped to disguise small problems.
Colour, often vibrant, acquired by coins stored in original Mint paper. Some of this paper contained sulphur and this created some toning on the coins over long periods of storage.
A substitute for a coin, normally for use on general equipment such as vending machines, gaming, casinos, etc. These have been issued in the past and are still currently issued in huge quantities.
Refers to the color seen on coins. These can be hues, shades and pattern variations. Toning results from how, where and how long under certain conditions coins are stored. Almost any coin will start toning and this can aid value to it.
Term used in reference to the engraving of a coin, usually outside the Mint, in an effort to artificially enhance a coin's appearance and value
Usually a small and fine line, that can be found on any coin. On genuine coins, such lines result when Mint workmen touch up dies to remove fragments of an overdate or other unwanted area. On counterfeits, they often appear in areas where the die was inconsistent.
Synonym to “Pop-Top”. Refers to a coin of the finest grade or at the TOP of the POPulation report.
A U.S. silver coin (1873 to 1885) was slightly heavier than the regular silver dollar. These dollars was intended to facilitate trade in the Far East-hence its name. Trade dollars were made with this a bit higher silver content than the standard silver dollars in an effort to gain acceptance for them in being used for commerce.
The die is created by sacrificing a coin for a model.
Short for transitional issue.
A coin struck after a series ends, and when a new series starts. One side could still have same design , as well as the new design on it and then phased out over time.
Known to have come from a buried/hidden source such as a shipwreck.
Term used for a three-cent piece.
Synonymous with Draped Bust.
Common term for Double Eagle or the Twenty Dollar gold coin.
Common name for Liberty Head Double eagle or the Twenty-dollar gold coin.
Two and a Half
Common name for a Quarter (¼) eagle or two-and-one-half dollar gold coin.
A variation in design, size, or metallic content of a specific coin design.
A representative coin, usually a common date, from a particular issue of a specific design, size, or metallic content.
Term for any coin from the first Type within a Series.
Type One Buffalo(Bison)
A 1913, Indian Head five-cent coin with the reverse buffalo (Bison) on a raised mound.