GLOSSARY

 

5FS

 

An abbreviation for Five Full Steps designation on for instance - Jefferson Nickles

 

6FS

 

An abbreviation for Six Full Steps designation on for instance - Jefferson Nickles

 

Abrasions

 

Marks or small scratches on the surface of a coin, not to be confused with hairlines or bag marks.

 

Alloy

 

A mixture of two or more metals Example "Cpin Silver"  (90 % Silver 10% copper)

 

Altered

 

A change in a numismatic item that is often done to deceive an individual and increase the value of the item.

 

American Gold Eagle

 

Bullion coins released by the U.S. mint in one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce and tenth ounce. These coins are traded at current bullion prices.

 

ANA

 

American Numismatic Association, the national organization for coin collectors

 

Ancient Coin

 

A coin usually identified as being issued before A.D. 500.

 

ANACS

 

The American Numismatic Association Certification Service. A third party grading service.

 

Assay

 

A test of items containing metals which determines their metal type, composition and purity. Some precious metals come with assays that identify the metal composition, weight and purity. In the case of scrap metal, it is the test that is performed on the material to determine the purity. These tests may be performed using an acid or an electronic device, but the purpose is the same, to determine the element content of the material.

 

Gold is measured in karats of fineness related to percentage of pure gold content:

  • 9 KT =  .375 percent Pure Gold

  • 10 KT = .419 percent Pure Gold

  • 14 KT = .585 percent Pure Gold

  • 16 KT = .633 percent Pure Gold

  • 18 KT = .750 percent Pure Gold

  • 21.6 KT = .900 percent Pure Gold

  • 22 KT = .916 Percent Pure Gold

  • 24 KT = .9999 percent Pure God

 

Most Gold is an alloy or mix of metals, primarily used to harden to increase durability of the material or to alter it's color such as Platinum is used to change the normally Yellow Gold to White Gold, Copper is added to change the color  to a Rose Gold, and silver and copper are sometimes added to harden the metal.

 

Silver is measured in percentages these are primarily:

  • Fine silver or .999

  • Britannia or .950

  • Sterling or .925

  • Coin or .900

  • German or .833

  • Nordic or 830

  • European or .800

  • Mexican Coin or "Ley .720"

  • Debased Silver or below .700

 

Platinum is measured in either pure =999 or 90 Percent .900

 

 

Attribution

 

The designation of a coin’s variety according to standard reference books

 

Authentication

 

The determination of a coin’s genuineness

 

Bag Mark

 

Minor abrasions on an uncirculated coin, acquired when coming into contact with others in a mint sewn bag.

 

Bank Note

 

Paper currency issued by a bank.

 

Bar

 

Any precious metal shaped in the form of a rectangle weighing anywhere from 1gram to several thousand ounces.

 

Base metal

 

A non-precious metal, such as copper, nickel or zinc

 

BEP

 

This is a three letter ackronym for the United Sates Bureau of Engraving and Printing

 

Blank

 

An unstruck coin disc, the same as “planchet”

 

Block

 

A series of related notes indicated by the same prefix and suffix letters in the serial number.

 

Blue Book

 

Handbook of United States Coins. An annual price guide for collectors depicting average price paid by retailers

 

Border

 

The outer edge of the design on either the face or the back of a note where the design ends and the plain currency paper outer margin begins. 

 

Bourse

 

A popular term for the sales floor of a coin show. An area within a coin show where dealers set up tables todisplay and sell numismatic collectibles.

 

BN

 

An abbreviation for Brown designation most often associated with Copper Coins

 

Brass

 

An alloy of copper and zinc

 

Bronze

 

An alloy of copper and tin

 

Broken Bank Note

 

Paper money issued by a bank that went out of business or failed and often applies to any obsolete bank note.

 

Brown Back

 

A Brown Back note is a Second Charter, First Issue national bank note. The note has brown ink on the back.

 

Bullion

 

Refined precious metal in non-coin form

 

Bullion Coin

 

Coins made of precious metal and sold at current bullion prices.

 

CA

 

An abbreviation for Cameo designation

 

Certification

 

The process of having a coin authenticated, graded and encapsulated

 

Check Number

 

A small number found at the lower right on the reverse of a note. The number identifies the printing plate from which the note came from.

 

Civil War Token

 

Token like coins issued during the Civil War due to the shortage of small change. There were two types issued patriotic and store cards.

 

Clad

 

A laminated or sandwiched coin metal most often associated with the copper and nickle coins produced by the US after 1964

 

Collar

 

A retaining ring which imparts a coin’s edge, whether plain or reeded

 

Colonial

 

This term refers to coins or paper money issued by the thirteen colony states.

 

Commemorative

 

A coin honoring an event, place or individual, usually of limited mintage

 

Compound Interest Note

 

A type of U.S. paper money issued in1863 and 1864.

 

Condition census

 

A roster of the five or six finest known specimens of a particular coin

 

Contact marks

 

Small nicks imparted by contact with other coins (Also may be considered an abrasion or blemish)

 

Continental Currency

 

Banknotes issued from 1775-1779 to finance the Revolutionary War.

 

Copper Nickel

 

Coinage composed of copper and nickel.

 

Counterfeit

 

A non-genuine coin, whether made to circulate as money or to deceive collectors. These are illegal in the US and should be removed from circulation when ever encountered and turned over to the Secret Service

 

Coronet

 

A crown or tiara frequently seen on the Liberty portrait of 19th Century US coins

 

Currency

 

Circulating money, used numismatically to denote a non-proof coin most often associated with paper monet or notes

 

DBA

 

This is a three letter ackronym for th term "Doing Business As"

 

Demand Note

 

The first paper money issued by the Federal Government in 1861.

 

Denomination

 

The face value of a coin, such as one cent, ten cents, etc.

 

Denticles

 

The toothlike projections seen on the borders of older US coins

 

Device

 

A raised design element on a coin, such as a portrait or lettering

 

Die

 

A cylindrical shaft of steel that imparts one side of a coin’s design (two are required)

 

Dipping

 

The act of removing dirt, tarnish or changing the coloration of a coin by chemical means.

 

District Number

 

Designates the Federal Reserve Bank that issued the note. The number appears four times on the face of the note.

 

Double Die

 

A die which, has a multiple image, created during the diemaking process. Coins will show double letters or numbers.

 

Double eagle

 

A United States $20 gold coin, issued from 1850 to 1933

 

DPL

 

An abbreviation for Deep Prooflike designation

 

Eagle

 

A US $10 gold coin, issued from 1795 to 1933

 

Edge

 

The third side of a coin, it can be plain, reeded, lettered or starred

 

Educational Note

 

A 1896 series silver certificate large size notes issued in $1, $2 and $5 denominations. Considered td by some to be the most beautiful of all US Notes. 

 

Encapsulated coin

 

A coin which has been sealed inside a plastic holder

 

Error

 

Any numismatic item including coins, paper money and tokens that have some type of defect or mistake during its manufacture.

 

Exonumia

 

A broad category of non-money, non-legal tender numismatic items, including tokens, medals and badges.

 

Face

 

The front of a piece of of a coin or note.

 

Face Value

 

A legal tender value assigned to a bullion coin by its issuing country or government\ a dime equals 10 cents 10 dimes equal 1 dollar of face value, while the silver content may be quoted in multiples of Face Value (15 times face etc.)

 

FB

 

An abbreviation for Full Split Bands designation associated with the Liberty head or Mercury Dimes

 

FBL

 

An abbreviation for Full Bell Lines designation almost always associated with the Franklin Half Dollar

 

Federal Reserve Bank Note

 

A series of U. S. paper money authorized by the Federal Reserve Acts of 1913, 1918 and 1933. The obligation to pay was the individual issuing bank and not the Federal Government or other Federal Reserve Banks.

 

Federal Reserve Note

 

The only form of paper money (Currently)being printed in the United States

 

Field

 

The flat surface area of a coin between the various devices (head, legend or other designs)

 

FH

 

An abbreviation for Full Head designation

 

Fineness

 

The percentage or decimal proportion of precious metal in a coin. It represents the purity of precious metal, either in monetary orbullion form.

 

Flip

 

A flexible, transparent, plastic envelope having one pocket for a coin and one for its label

 

Fractional Currency

 

Usually refers to the United States paper money issued from 1862 to 1876 in denominations from three to fifty cents.

 

Frosted

 

Describes a coin’s surface which is textured rather than smooth or glassy

 

FT

 

An abbreviation for Full Torch designation Most oftern associated with the Roosevelt Dime

 

Gold Certificate

 

A form of U. S paper money once redeemable in gold coin.

 

Gold Plate

 

Plated Items are usally a lesser valued base metal which is dopped in a solution of gold that allows the peice to have a very thin coating of gold around the outside surfaces. These can be extreamly thin ans are sometime plated multipule time to build up the thickness of the gold. 

 

The amount of gold are so small it is not worth while to extract the gold due to the cost of the materials (Acids etc) and Labor (take hours to process) except in very large quanities, (100's of pounds)

 

Grade

 

The numerical value assigned to a coin’s condition on a scale of 1 to 70

 

Grading Service

 

A business that grades and authenticates numismatic items and places them in some type of sealed plastic packaging.

 

Greenback

 

Issued in 1861 and was the first note to have a green reverse or back.

 

Hairlines

 

Fine scratches on a coin’s surface which may affect its grade, usalley associated with cleaning or wiping or rubbing the surface of the coin

 

Half cent

 

A US copper coin of that value, issued from 1793 to 1857

 

Half dime

 

A US silver five-cent coin, issued from 1794 to 1873

 

Half eagle

 

A US $5 gold coin, issued from 1795 to 1929

 

Hard Times Token

 

An unofficial large cent sized copper token struck in a wide variety of types during 1833-1843, serving as a de facto currency. May bear political legends or advertising.

 

Hoard

 

A group of coins secretly hidden in the past and accidentally found or discovered.

 

Horseblanket

 

A popular nickname for U.S. Large size notes.

 

Hub

 

A steel cylinder bearing one side of a coin’s design and used to produce dies

 

Intrinsic value

 

The value of a coin’s metal, irrespective of its face or collector value

 

Junk Silver

 

This refers to old circulating coinage which contains 90%, 40% or 35% silver. Though the name suggests that the coins are “Junk”, they are actually often a viable option for many investors due to their high purity and are also quite collectible. Generally speaking coins with the "Junk" status are those coins where the intrinsic values of the material they are made of exceed their respective numismatic value. Most junk coins were minted by the United States Mint, prior to 1965 and possess a silver purity level of 90%. They are often sold in rolls based on face value.

 

Key date

 

Indicating the rarest date and mintmark of a coin series. Some coin series have multiple key date coins also known as Semi-Kets

 

Krugerrand

 

A gold bullion coin of South Africa. Comes in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz and 1 oz

 

LLC

 

This is a three letter ackronym for Limited Liability Corporation

 

Large Cent

 

A U. S. cent issued from 1793 to 1857. Larger than a quarter and smaller than a half-dollar.

 

Large Date

 

A variety of coin on which the date is larger than other varieties of the same year.

 

Legal tender

 

A coin or currency declared by a government to be acceptable in the payment of all debts

 

Legend

 

An inscription which appears on a coin, such as LIBERTY

 

Lettered edge

 

The edge of a coin on which either raised or sunken letters appear

 

Love Token

 

A coin that has been altered by smoothing one or both surfaces and engraving initials or messages.

 

Luster

 

The reflected light from a coin as determined by its surface texture and quality

 

Matte

 

The purposely dulled surface of a coin, this style was used on certain US proof coins

 

Medal

 

An object made of metal that resembles a coin. Often identifies a person, place or event.

 

Medieval Coin

 

A coin struck from about A.D. 500 to 1500.

 

Military Currency

 

Notes officially issued solely for the use of its armed forces by a country’s military.

 

Military Payment Certificate

 

Also called MPC. Military notes issued solely for use by its military and only in establishments of the U.S. armed forces.

 

Minor coin

 

A base-metal coin of small value, such as a cent or nickel

 

Mint

 

When talking about coins, a mint is the place where a country’s currency is produced under the control of its government. With precious metals and collectables there are also “private mints” which are not government run. Private mints produce bullion rounds, bars or medallions.

 

"Warning: Be careful of private mint products, many are simply plated  and have little or no value. Read any accompaning material carefully as the underlying metals ma​y only be refered to by it's periodic table element symbols"

 

Mint Error

 

Any coins with major mint errors as a result of human or mechanical error during manufacturing

 

Mintage

 

The amount of coins produced in a year or from a specific series\ as reported by the Mint either the US or other regulatory Mint or a private firm or mint.

 

Mintmark

 

A small letter appearing on a coin to denote its city of manufacture.Generaly a letter or symbol that identifies which U.S. Mint produced acoin.

 

Mint Set

 

A complete set of coins produced by a particular mint.

 

Mint State

 

Describes an unworn coin and means the same as Uncirculated

 

Mirror

 

A term used for the brilliant surface of a coin, typically the fields of a proof or prooflike coin

 

Motto

 

A phrase or saying on a coin. 

 

Mylar

 

A clear plastic material used to store coins.

 

MS

 

The abbreviation for Mint State, it’s used with a numerical figure to grade unworn coins

 

NGC

 

Numismatic Guaranty Company. A third party grading service.

 

National Gold Bank Note

 

National bank notes payable in gold coin by some California banks and one Boston bank pursuant to authorization by Act of July 12, 1870.

 

Nick

 

A small mark on a coin.

 

Numismatics

 

The studying and collecting of coins

 

Numismatist

 

A Person who engages in numismatic activity for whatever end

 

Obsolete Bank Note

 

Note of an American bank of issue prior to 1865.

 

Obverse

 

The front side of a coin, usually with an individual’s head of some kind, celebrating a person or event.

 

Overdate

 

A coin variety in which one date is impressed over another made by superimposing one or more different numbers on a previously dated die.

 

PCGS

 

Professional Coin Grading Service – A third party grading service.

 

Pattern

 

An experimental coin made as a test of a new design, material or technology

 

PF

 

The abbreviation for Proof, it’s used with a numerical figure to grade proof coins

 

PL

 

An abbreviation for Prooflike designation

 

Pieces of Eight

 

Silver Spanish 8-real pieces. Pirate treasure.

 

Pioneer Gold

 

Gold coins, often privately produced and struck in areas of the US to meet the needs of a coin shortage.

 

Plain edge

 

The edge of a coin which is smooth and lacking any decoration

 

Plate Number

 

A small number that sometimes appears on currency showing the number of the plate used to print it.

 

Planchet

 

A blank disc that will be stamped between dies to produce a coin, metal or token.

 

Postage Note

 

The first issue fractional note series.

 

Precious Metal

 

Precious Metal is a classification of metals, which are rare or have a high economic value. The most common precious metals are gold, silver and platinum.

 

Premiums

 

This refers to the dollar / monetary amount or percentage over the current spot price that a precious metal product carries. Premiums are often associated with production and distribution costs, and profit margins. In the case of collectibles the difference between the Face or intrinsic values and the market price based on:

 

  • Age - the older the better

  • Condition - does it look just as it would have the day it was minted or does it look like it was run over by a train. (Damage, physical, chemical, environmental, etc.)

  • Rarity - How few were made or how few survived

  • Supply - Number of examples available on the market or available for purchase.

  • Demand - If 10 people are selling and only one buying the prices go down, if one person is selling and 2 or more are buying then prices tend to go up.

  • Eye Appeal - is the example typical or exemplary (Like fast cars and beautiful women; the prettier they are, the more they cost!)

 

Press

 

A compression machine in which dies come together to stamp a coin

 

Proof

 

This refers to a coin which has been struck using a special minting process which gives the coin a mirror-like finish. These types of coins are produced primarily for collecting purposes and almost always carry a higher premium.

 

Proof Set

 

A set of one proof coin of each current denomination for a specific year.

 

Prooflike

 

Any coin having the appearance of a proof coin, that is, mirrorlike fields, Most commonely seen on Large demonomiation coins like Morgan Silver dollars

 

Purity

 

The percentage of metal contained in a piece of bullion or other material (See Assay above).

 

Quarter eagle

 

AUS $2.50 gold coin, issued from 1796 to 1929

 

R1, R2, R3, etc.

 

A scale of coin rarity ranging from R1 (very common) to R8 (unique)

 

RB

 

An abbreviation for Red Brown designation associated with Copper coins

 

RD

 

An abbreviation for Red designationassociated with Copper coins

 

Radar Note

 

A note whose serial number reads the same. Forward or back ward.

 

Rag

 

A very well worn piece of paper money.

 

Raw

 

A term used to describe a coin that has not been slabbed or certified.

 

Red Book

 

The popular name for A Guide Book of United States Coins, by R. S. Yeoman

 

Reeded edge

 

The edge of a coin on which raised lines appear

 

Refinery

 

When talking about precious metals, a refinery is an industrial facility which refines scrap metal and raw materials down to a purer form of the material. Usually associated with a Mint.

 

Relief

 

The portion of a coin’s design which is raised above the smooth surface or field

 

Replacement Note

 

A note which has been issued to replace a damaged destroyed or lost note. A star at the beginning of a serial number indicates a replacement note.

 

Restrike

 

A term refering to a coin made years after the original edition but from the same dies

 

Reverse

 

The back side of a coin

 

Rim

 

Raised border around the circumference of a coin.

 

Rounds

 

Coin shaped silver pieces. Produced privately and are not official legal tender.

 

Scrip

 

Paper currency usually of denominations less than a dollar issued as a substitute for currency to private persons or organizations.

 

Serial Number

 

A numbering system used on paper currency to keep track of the number of notes in circulation.

 

Series

 

A continuous run of coins of the same type, such as the Buffalo Nickel series of 1913–38

 

Show

 

Usually means coin show where dealers and collectors set up tables and display for sale their numismatic items.

 

Silver Certificate

 

Notes, which guaranteed payment of its face value in silver. 

 

Slab

 

A slang term for an encapsulated coin

 

Small date

 

A variety of coin on which the date is physically smaller than other varieties of the same year.

 

Small Size Currency

 

Usually refers to paper money issued on or after July 10, 1929. 

 

SP

 

A tern or abrevation used for Specimen

 

Special Mint Sets

 

Coins produced under special conditions by the U.S. Mint at San Francisco during the years 1965, 1966 and 1967.

 

Specie

 

A term refering to coined money, as opposed to paper money or other store of wealth

 

Specimen Note

 

A sample currency note. The purpose of such notes was to provide banks and other agencies with examples of newly issued money.

 

Spot Price

 

The current price of a metal, such as gold or silver, based off of a combination of different markets including futures, over the counter and world markets. Precious metal spot prices are always calculated by the troy ounce. Generally speaking the spot is the approximate price you could purchase larger volumes of the underlying metal at the mine, refinery or mint.

 

Star Notes

 

Intended as replacement notes that were damaged, destroyed or lost. A solid star appears at the end or beginning of the serialnumber. 

 

Starred edge

 

The edge of a coin featuring either raised or sunken stars

 

Sterling Silver

 

Silver that is .925 fine.

 

Strike

 

The action of producing a coin, or, the quality of a coin’s detail sharpness impressing the image of a die into a planchet, makinga coin.

 

Token

 

A piece of durable material appropriately marked and unofficiallyissued for monetary, advertising or other services.

 

Toning

 

Natural patination or discoloration of a coin’s surface. Results when surface come into contact with the air and environment.

 

Trade dollar

 

A special type of silver dollar made from 1873 to 1885, primarily for export and use over seas

 

Treasury Note

 

Sometimes called a coin note. Redeemable in silver and gold coins.

 

Trime

 

A Slang term for a US silver three-cent piece, issued from 1851 to 1873

 

Troy Ounce

 

A unit of measure used to gauge the weight of precious metals. A troy ounce consists of 31.1034768 grams with 12 ounces to the Troy Pound. This measure should not be confused with Dry or Postal measure known as an avoirdupois ounce which is 28grams to the ounce and 16 ounces to the pound.

 

Type coin

 

A coin from a given series or period.

 

Type collecting

 

An assembling a collection of one of each coin denomination and design

 

Type Set

 

A collection composed of one of each coin of a given series or period.

 

Two By Two

 

A nickname for a typical holder for one coin. Usually made of cardboard with a clear plastic center measuring two inches by two inches.

 

UC

 

An abbreviation for Ultra Cameo designation

 

Uncirculated

 

This term describes an unworn coin and means the same as Mint State

 

Variety

 

A variety is a coin that differs from its basic design type in some distinctive way and is thus differentiated by collectors

 

Vest Pocket Dealer

 

Part time coin dealer. One who has a small amount of coins "could be carried in their vest pocket"

 

Vignette

 

A pictorial element of a bank note design that shades off gradually into the surrounding unprinted paper or background rather than having sharp outlines or a frame.

 

Watermark

 

Design formed by differing thickness of paper during production; often used as a security device in paper money.

 

Whitman

 

Whitman Publishing Company. Produces coin books, albums and collecting supplies.

 

Wire rim

 

A fine, raised line of metal around the rim of very sharply struck coins