Thursday, 2 February 2012


The glossary will help you understand terms and acronyms commonly used in the field of coin collecting.

Abrasions - Light rubbing or scuffing from friction, not to be confused with hairlines or bag marks.
Alloy - A combination of two or more metals.
Annealing - The heating and cooling process by which planchets are softened to allow the metal to flow more smoothly during the strike.
Bag mark - A surface mark, usually in the form of a nick, acquired by a coin when it came into contact with others in a mint bag. Bag marks are most common on large and heavy silver and gold coins.
Blemishes - Minor nicks, marks, flaws, or spots of discoloration that mar the surface of a coin.
Bronze - An alloy of copper, zinc, and tin.
Bullion - Uncoined gold or silver in the form of ingots or plate.
Business strike - A coin intended for circulation in the channels of commerce (in contrast to a proof coin specifically struck for collectors).
Cleaning- Refers to removing dirt or otherwise altering the appearance of a coin through the use of abrasive materials that mar or scratch the surface in a detectable fashion.
Commemorative- A coin issued to mark a special event or to honor an outstanding person.
DDO/DDR - Doubled Die Obverse, an obverse die which exhibits doubled images in one or more places but in DDRa reverse die which exhibits doubled images in one or more places.
Denticles or dentils - The tooth like raised design around the rims of some coins. They are part of the die design.
Designer - The artist who creates a coin's principal devices.
Details - Small features and fine lines in a coin design. Particularly those seen in hair, leaves, wreaths and feathers.
Die - A metal object used to impress a design into a planchet. Dies are usually engraved incuse, so that the devices and inscriptions they produce will be in relief.
Dipping - The act of removing tarnish, surface dirt, or changing the coloration of a coin by applying chemicals, or otherwise artificially treating it with liquids.
Disme - The early spelling of the word "dime," one tenth of a dollar.
Double eagle - A United States twenty dollar gold coin.
Eagle - A United States ten dollar gold coin.
Edge - The area which borders a coin's surface. Also referred to as coin's "third side." Edges of United States coins may be Reeded, lettered or plain.
Electrotype - A counterfeit coin made by the electroplating process.
Engraver - A person who cuts a design into a coinage die.
Fineness - Purity of gold or silver, normally expressed in the terms of one thousand parts. •Grade- The condition or amount of wear that a coin has received. Generally, the less wear a given coin has received, the more valuable it is. Coins are graded on the A.N.A. numerical system from About Good-3 to Perfect Uncirculated-70.
Hairlines - A series of minute lines or scratches, usually visible in the field of a coin, sometimes caused by cleaning or polishing.
Half eagle - A United States five dollar gold coin.
Hub or hob - A metal object with the intended coin design in relief on one end as it would appear on the finished coin. It is used to produce dies.
Incuse - The design of a coin which has been impressed below the coin's surface. When the design is raised above the coin's surface, it is said to be in relief.
"Key date" - Slang usually indicating the rarest (and therefore most expensive)date-and-mint of a particular coin series.
Legend - The principal inscription on a coin.
lg. - Abbreviation for the word "large,"generally referring to a date or mintmark.
Luster - The glossy appearance of the surface of a coin. Although normally brilliant, with time luster may become dull, frosty, spotted or discolored.
Milled edge - A raised rim around the outer surface of a coin. Not to be confused with the Reeded or serrated narrow edge of the coin.
Mintmark - A symbol, usually a small letter, used to indicate at which mint a particular coin was struck.
Modification - A minor alteration in the basic design of a coin.
Motto - A word or phrase on a coin.
Mule - A coin struck from obverse and reverse dies not originally intended to be used together.
Numismatics - Area of study relating to coins, medals, or similar items.
Numismatist - A student or collector of coins, medals, or similar items.
Obverse - The front or fact side of a coin, usually the side with the date or the principal design. Opposite of the reverse side.
Overdate - The date made by superimposing one or more different numbers on a previously dated die.
Oxidation - The formulation of oxides or tarnish on the surface of a coin from exposure to air, dampness, industrial fumes, or other elements.
Pattern - A prototype of a proposed coin design.
Patina - A green or brown surface film found on ancient copper and bronze coins caused by oxidation over a long period of time.
Planchet - Disk on which a design is impressed to make a coin, metal or token.
Proof - Coins struck for collectors and using specially polished or otherwise prepared dies.
Proof like - Used to describe any uncirculated coin with a mirror like reflective surface but lacking the full characteristics of a proof.
Quarter eagle - A United States two and one half dollar gold coin.
Reeded edge - The edge of a coin with grooved lines that run vertically around its perimeter. This type of edge is found on all current United States coins above the five cent denomination.
Relief - Any part of a coin's design that is raised above the coin's surface. When the design has been impressed below the coin's surface, it is said to be incuse.
Restrike - A coin struck from genuine dies at a date later than its original issue.
Reverse - The side of a coin carrying the design of lesser importance. Opposite of the obverse side.
Rim - The raised portion of a coin encircling the obverse and reverse which protects the designs of the coin from wear.
Scratch - A deep line or groove in a coin caused by contact with a sharp or rough object.
sm. - Abbreviation for the word "small," generally referring to a date or mintmark.
Striations - Thin, light raised lines on the surface of a coin, caused by excessive polishing of the die.
Striking - Refers to the process by which a coin is minted. Also refers to the sharpness of design details. A sharp strike or strong strike is one with all of the details struck very sharply; a weak strike has the details lightly impressed at the time of coining.
Toning - Natural patination or discoloration of a coin's surface caused by the atmosphere over a long period of time. Toning is often very attractive, and many collectors prefer coins with this feature.
Truncation - The sharply cut off bottom edge of a portrait.
Type - A coin's basic distinguishing design.
Unique - An item of which only one specimen is known to exist.
Variety - A minor change from the basic type design of a coin.
Weak strike - A coin with certain areas of its details (in the areas of high relief) not fully formed because of the hardness of alloy, insufficient striking pressure or improper die spacing.
Wear - The abrasion of metal from a coin's surface caused by normal handling or circulation.
Whizzing - The artificial treatment of a coin by wire brushing, acid dipping, or otherwise removing metal from the coin's surface to give it the artificial appearance of being in a higher grade. Whizzing is an alteration, not a grade or condition.

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