A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

ANA
Abbreviation for the American Numismatic Association The ANA is a membership organization for coin and currency dealers, and numismatists. Members range from young to old, with experience levels from beginner to expert. Events, resources, education, publications, and more.

ANACS
American Numismatic Association Certification Service - ANACS is a coin grading service originally created in 1972 by the ANA to help battle the counterfeit and altered coins in the coin community. In 1990 the ANA board of governors sold ANACS to a private company.

ASK
The Ask price is the last reported price a coin traded at based upon an executed transaction where a seller was asking a certain price and a buyer was willing to pay that price. See also BID

ABOUT UNCIRCULATED (AU)
A coin grade indicated by the grades AU50, AU53, AU55, and AU58. “AU” is the highest grading category for a circulated coin. These coins often look Uncirculated at first glance, but closer inspection will reveal slight friction or rub. See also GRADE

AMERICAN EAGLE
A U.S. minted gold bullion coin available in four denominations that contain 1 oz. ($50 face value), ½ oz. ($25 face value), ¼ oz. ($10 face value), and 1/10 oz. ($5 face value) of gold respectively. Their composition by weight is .9167 gold, .03 silver and .0533 copper. Struck in Philadelphia and West Point from 1986 to the present day.

AMERICAN NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION
see ANA

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B

BACKWARDATION
Backwardation, simplified, is when front month prices for a commodity go higher than those further out, reversing what is usually the case (see contango), implying people/clients/whoever fear a near term shortage of that commodity. Backwardation is a very bullish sign that an explosive price break out is nearby. Normally, the longer the backwardation exists, the better it is for the price to continue higher.

BAG MARKS
Dings or nicks on coins caused from being placed in large bags after minting. The coins rub against each other as the bags are lifted and transported causing various minor marks on the coins. Also called contact marks or keg marks.

BID
The Bid price is the last reported price a buyer was willing to offer to pay for a listed coin regardless of whether or not the offer was accepted by the seller and a completed transaction was executed or not. See also ASK

BEP
See BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING

BLAND-ALLISON ACT
Passed by Congress in 1878, the law that required the U.S. Treasury Dept. to purchase silver in large amounts and to use the silver to strike coins.

BLANK
A flat disk of metal BEFORE getting a rim; once it gets a rim, it becomes a planchet. The planchet is then struck by the dies and made into a coin. See also PLANCHET

BLUE BOOK
U.S. Coin pricing guide published from 1942-1951. Replaced by the Red Book in 1950. See RED BOOK for more information.

BRAIDED HAIR
The descriptive name of various U.S. coins based on the denomination, obverse design, and year of mintage. Braided Hair coinage includes the Braided Hair Half Cent (1840-1857) and the Braided Hair Cent (1839-1857).

BRILLIANT UNCIRCULATED (BU)
Designation given to coins that show no wear or have not been used in commerce. “BU” coins, if graded, receive a minimum grade of MS60. See also MINT STATE

BUFFALO
The first .9999 fine (24 karat) U.S. minted gold bullion coin, struck at the West Point facility beginning in 2006 and continuing to the present day. In 2006 and 2007 only one-ounce coins with a $50 face value were minted; starting in 2008, the West Point mint also produced half-ounce ($25 face value), quarter-ounce ($10 face value) and tenth-ounce ($5 face value) Proof and Uncirculated pieces available both individually and in sets.

BUFFALO NICKEL
The descriptive name for a U.S. five-cent coin minted from 1913-1938

BULLION COIN
A legal tender coin containing a high content of a precious metal. Bullion coins trade at a slight premium above their current melt value based on current market prices of their particular precious metal. Also see MELT VALUE

BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) develops and produces United States currency notes. The BEP prints billions of dollars - referred to as Federal Reserve Notes - each year for delivery to the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve operates as the nation's central bank and serves to ensure that adequate amounts of currency and coin are in circulation. The BEP does not produce coins - all U.S. coinage is minted by the U.S. Mint.

BURNISHED
Burnished coins are produced using a separate unique process than what the US Mint uses for either business or proof strike coins. Mintages for burnished coins are typically much smaller than either business or proof mintages.

BUSINESS STRIKE
A coin that was struck for the specific purpose of being released into circulation and used in commerce. See also PROOF

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C

CHARLOTTE
A prior facility of the U.S. Mint located in Charlotte, North Carolina in operation from 1838–1861. - Like the Dahlonega mint, Charlotte was opened to facilitate the conversion of local gold deposits into coinage, and minted only gold coins. In 1861, the Civil War closed both the Charlotte and Dahlonega mints permanently. Coins struck at the Charlotte mint are designated with a “C” mint mark.

CAC
A coin certification service founded by leading members of the numismatic community. Its purpose is to distinguish high-end coins in a grade from those that are middle or low end for the grade. CAC certification is shown by a green CAC sticker on a graded coin holder. The green CAC sticker means that CAC has determined that coin to be very high-end for its grade (i.e., a B+ as opposed to a B or B- on a report card!)

CAMEO
Coins, usually Proofs or Proof-like coins, that have frosted devices and lettering that sharply contrast with the fields. When the Cameo effect is deep the coins are said to be “black and white” cameos. Occasionally, frosty mint state coins can have “cameo” devices, though they obviously do not contrast as dramatically with the fields as the cameo devices of Proofs do.

CAPPED BUST
The descriptive name of various U.S. coins based on the denomination, obverse design, and year of mintage. Capped Bust coinage includes the Capped Bust Half Dime (1829-1837), Capped Bust Dime (1809-1837), Capped Bust Quarter (1815-1838), Capped Bust Half Dollar (1807-1839), Capped Bust $2.5 Gold coin (1808-1834), and the Capped Bust $5 Gold coin (1808-1834).

CAPPED DIE
Term applied to an error in which a coin gets jammed in the coining press and remains for successive strikes, eventually forming a “cap” either on the upper or lower die. These are sometimes spectacular with the “cap” often many times taller than a normal coin.

CARBON SPOT
Brown to black spots of oxidation that range from minor to severe – some so large and far advanced that the coin cannot be graded because of environmental damage. Seen mainly on copper and gold coins, though occasionally found on U.S. nickel and silver coins, as well.

CARTWHEEL
The reflective lighting effect on some coins when they are rotated a certain way in a good light source. The luster rotates around the obverse or reverse side of the coin appearing like the spokes of a turning wagon wheel. This term is used mainly to describe the luster of frosty, Mint State coins, especially silver dollars. Also, a slang term for a silver dollar.

CARSON CITY
A prior facility of the U.S. Mint, located in Carson City, Nevada that operated from 1870 – 1893, with a four-year hiatus from 1885 to 1889. Like the Charlotte and Dahlonega branches, the Carson City Mint, whose coinage bears the “CC” mint mark, was opened to take advantage of local precious metal deposits, in this case, a large vein of silver.

CENSUS
Also referred to as Population; the number of coins certified (or graded) in a given category and grade by a particular grading service. PCGS and NGC are the two most popular. NGC releases Census reports and PCGS Population reports.

CERTIFICATE NUMBER (or Serial number)
The number assigned to a graded coin by the grading service. The serial number is usually printed on paper, along with the grade of the coin, year, mint mark, etc. and enclosed in the housing of the graded coin.

CERTIFICATION
see GRADE and GRADING SERVICE

CHOICE
Graded Mint State coins ranging from MS60 – MS64

CIRCULATED
A coin that is worn and has been used in commerce

CIRCULATION STRIKE
see BUSINESS STRIKE

CLASSIC HEAD
The descriptive name of various U.S. coins based on the denomination, obverse design, and year of mintage. Classic Head coinage includes the Classic Head Half Cent (1809-1836), Classic Head Cent (1808-1814), Classic Head $2.5 Gold coin (1834-1839), and the Classic Head $5 Gold coin (1834-1838)

CLEANED
A coin whose original surface has been removed. The effects may be slight or severe, depending on the method used. PLEASE NOTE: Any kind of cleaning will downgrade the potential value of a coin!

COLLECTIBLE COINS
A collector wants a Collectible Coin because his collection needs it. Collectors focus on acquiring a specific type, date or mint mark, and might sacrifice quality to fill a hole in their collection. An investor wants an Investment Coin because his portfolio needs it. The investor believes the coin will appreciate in value and fit in with his other rare coins. Investors usually focus on the type of coin as opposed to the date and mint mark.

COLLECTION
A complete collection will contain one example of each date and mint mark for an entire coin series. Complete collections can also be registered as a Registry Set.

COLLECTOR’S UNIVERSE
A leading third-party authentication and grading service for high-value collectibles including coins, trading cards, tickets, autographs, stamps, and memorabilia. Also one of the leading compilers and publishers of authoritative information about United States and World coins, collectible sports cards and sports memorabilia, and collectible stamps.

COMMEMORATIVES
Coins struck and issued specifically to honor some person, place, or event, or to raise funds for a theme-related activity. Commemorative coins are generally not meant to be circulated and are usually sold at a premium.

COMMON DATE
Not a rare, scarce, or key-date coin, typically with larger populations in proportion to scarce, rare, or key-dates.

CONTACT MARKS
Dings or nicks on coins caused from being placed in large bags after minting. The coins rub against each other as the bags are lifted and transported causing various minor marks on the coins. Also called bag marks or keg marks.

CONTANGO
Contango refers to a situation where the future spot price is below the current price, and people are willing to pay more (interest on the money and storage costs) for a commodity at some point in the future than the immediate price of the commodity. See also Backwardation.

 

CONTENT
see PURITY

COPPER SPOT
A spot or stain commonly seen on gold coinage, indicating an area of copper concentration that has risen to the surface. Copper spots range from tiny dots to large blotches.

CORONET HEAD
The descriptive name of a U.S. one-cent coin minted from 1816-1839.

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D

DENVER
A current facility of the U.S. Mint located in Denver, Colorado, established in 1863. Today, the Denver Mint manufactures all denominations of circulating coins, coin dies, the Denver "D" portion of the annual uncirculated coin sets, and commemorative coins authorized by the U. S. Congress. It also stores gold and silver bullion.

DAHLONEGA
A prior facility of the U.S. Mint located in Dahlonega, Georgia that operated from 1838 – 1861. Designated with a mintmark of “D” coins from Dahlonega can be distinguished from coins minted in Denver by the date; Dahlonega coins were only struck between 1838 and 1861, while Denver minted coins are dated from 1863 to the present. Like the Charlotte mint, Dahlonega was opened to facilitate the conversion of local gold deposits into coinage, and minted only gold coins. In 1861, the Civil War closed both the Charlotte and Dahlonega mints permanently.

DCAM
Grading abbreviation for Deep Cameo

DEAD CAT BOUNCE
A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, followed by the continuation of the downtrend. A dead cat bounce is a small, short-lived recovery in the price of a declining security, such as a stock. Frequently, downtrends are interrupted by brief periods of recovery - or small rallies - where prices temporarily rise. This can be a result of traders or investors closing out short positions or buying on the assumption that the security has reached a bottom. A dead cat bounce is a price pattern that is usually identified in hindsight. Analysts may attempt to predict that the recovery will be only temporary by using certain technical and fundamental analysis tools.

DEEP CAMEO (DCAM)
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. Specifically applied to those 1950 and later Proofs that meet deep cameo standards.

DEEP MIRROR PROOFLIKE (DMPL)
Term applied to coins that have deeply reflective mirror-like fields. The grading abbreviation for deep mirror prooflike coins is DMPL or for a lighter amount DPL (Deep Prooflike).

DENOMINATION
The value assigned to a coin or other currency by the issuing government

DESIGN SERIES
A particular motif on coins or other numismatic items. Morgan Dollars and Saint Gaudens Double Eagles are examples of design series.

DEVICES
The raised elements on a coin. Also see FIELDS

DIE
A steel cylinder with a design on it used to strike the obverse and reverse sides of a coin

DIE BREAK
An area of a coin that is the result of a broken die

DIPPED
A coin cleaned in a chemical bath, usually done to attempt to add artificial shine

DMPL
see Deep Mirror Proof Like

DPL
see Deep Mirror Proof Like

DOUBLE EAGLE
A $20 (Twenty dollar) U.S. gold coin minted between 1849 and 1933.

DRAPED BUST
The descriptive name of various U.S. coins based on the denomination, obverse design, and year of mintage. Draped Bust coinage includes the Draped Bust Half Cent (1800-1808), Draped Bust Cent (1796-1807), Draped Bust Half Dime (1796-1805), Draped Bust Dime (1796-1807), Draped Bust Quarter (1796-1807), Draped Bust Half Dollar (1796-1807), Draped Bust Dollar (1795-1804), Draped Bust $2.5 Gold coin (1796-1807), Draped Bust $5 Gold coin (1795-1807), and the Draped Bust $10 Gold coin (1795-1804).

DUCAT
A gold coin that was used as a trade currency throughout Europe before World War I. Its weight is 3.4909 grams of .983 gold, which is 0.1106 troy ounce, AGW, actual gold weight. The Netherlands still issues golden and silver ducats having the same weight, composite and design as when they were first minted in 1589.

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E

EAGLE
A $10 (Ten dollar) U.S. gold coin minted between 1795 and 1933 ; ALSO, the symbol on the front of some U.S. Gold Bullion coins in various denominations minted from 1986 to the present. See Also AMERICAN EAGLE

EDGE
The third side of a coin, along the outer perimeter; the part you would ‘roll’ or ‘spin’ a coin on (though please never roll, spin, or play with your rare coins!) The Edge is one of the three sides of a coin, the other two being the ‘Obverse’ and ‘Reverse’ sides. See also OBVERSE and REVERSE

ERROR
A numismatic item that unintentionally varies from the norm. Overdates and overmintmarks are not considered errors since they were done intentionally. Other die-cutting “mistakes” are considered errors. Double dies, planchet clips, and off-metal strikings are also considered errors.

EXTRA FINE (EF or XF)
a coin grade indicated by EF or XF followed by 40 or 45. The Extra Fine category indicates slight wear showing on the highest points of the main devices; words are sharp and easily readable; all details are clearly defined. See also GRADE

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F

FIELDS
Any of the flat surfaces on a coin with no imprint or design. Also see DEVICES

FINE (F)
A coin grade indicated by F-12 or F-15. A Fine grade typically means that the major elements are still clear but most details are worn away. See also GRADE

FLOWING HAIR
The descriptive name of various U.S. coins based on the denomination, obverse design, and year of mintage. Flowing Hair coinage includes the Flowing Hair Large Cent (1793-1796), Flowing Hair Half Dime (1794-1795), Flowing Hair Half Dollar (1794-1795), and the Flowing Hair Dollar (1794-1795).

FLYING EAGLE
The descriptive name of a U.S. one-cent coin minted from 1856-1858

FORT KNOX
While not a coin production facility, the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky is another facility of the U.S. Mint. Its primary purpose is for storage of the United States and other countries' gold and silver bullion reserves.

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G

GAP COIN
A Gap coin is a coin with a substantial list price increase for the next higher grade. For example: say that an MS66 1909-S Saint Gaudens has a list price of $24,000 and the next higher grade of MS67 from the same mintage has a list price of $67,000. The MS66 would be considered a Gap coin. 

GEM
Graded Mint State coins ranging from MS65 – MS70

GRADE
The condition or state of wear of a coin, the Grade is one of the main determining factors in a coin’s value. Coins graded by professional grading services display the grade on the grading certificate or the plastic holder, if they are slabbed. The professional grade is most commonly indicated by one or two letters followed by one or two numbers (i.e., MS68) Also see SHELDON SCALE and detailed information on coin grading for more information.

GRADE RARITY
A coin that is only rare in certain grades, such as a 1910-D Saint Gaudens $20 gold coin graded MS67. See also RARITY and MINTAGE RARITY

GRADING SERVICE
A third-party company that authenticates and grades coins and/or paper currency. Please read our article in the GRADING SECTION of the website for important information on grading, grading services, and buying graded coins.

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H

HAIRLINES
Thin, shallow scratches on the surface of a coin, usually caused by improper cleaning, or mishandling. Hairlines are found mainly in the fields of Proof coins, though they are also sometimes found across an entire Proof coin, as well as on business strike coins, particularly proof-like business strikes.

HALF EAGLE
A $5 (Five Dollar) U.S. gold coin minted between 1795 and 1929

HIGH POINTS
The uppermost areas of the devices; those parts of the coin that are closest to your eye when viewing the coin up close or that would (but don’t ever do this!) touch first if the coin were very slowly being lowered onto a hard, flat surface.

HIGH RELIEF
A coin with deep concave fields, due to its design. High relief coins required extra pressure to be fully struck, and were difficult to stack. Therefore, the few coins struck in high relief by the U.S. Mint (such as the 1921 Peace dollar and the 1907 Saint Gaudens double eagle) were each made for only one year.

HOUSING
A hard, sealed, plastic holder used to encapsulate a graded coin. Once graded, the coin is placed in the housing by the grading service prior to returning the coin to the sender. Also see SLABBED

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I

ICG
(Independent Coin Grading Company) a third-tier grading service located in Englewood, CO Read the article on GRADING SERVICES for more information about Top, Second, and Third-tier grading companies.

ICTA
(Industry Council For Tangible Assets) - ICTA is the national trade association for all who have an interest in precious metals, rare coins, U.S. and foreign currency, and other numismatic and tangible assets. Since 1983, ICTA has been our eyes and voice in Washington, DC. Without ICTA, the numismatic industry and hobby are subject to the whims of legislators, regulators, and bureaucrats who are eager to appease whatever special interest group gets their attention. ICTA works to prevent laws and regulations that would interfere with coin dealer’s ability to do business and/or are excessively burdensome. They are also proactive in proposing laws that would benefit the hobby and business. Equally important, ICTA educates dealers on compliance with certain laws and regulations and since its establishment in 1983, has developed important contacts within certain government agencies allowing the ICTA to obtain critical clarifications specific to the industry, especially as they pertain to issues of taxation and other IRS regulations.

INDIAN
The descriptive name of various U.S. coins based on the denomination, obverse design, and year of mintage. Indian coinage includes the Indian Cent (1859-1909), Indian $2.50 gold coin (1908-1929), Indian $5 gold coin (1908-1929), and the Indian $10 gold coin (1907-1933).

INDIAN CENT
The descriptive name of a U.S. one-cent coin minted from (1859-1909)

INGOT
A material, usually metal, that is cast into a shape suitable for further processing. Ingots require a second procedure of shaping, such as cold/hot working, cutting, milling or striking (as in minted coins) to produce a useful final product. Additionally, some ingots can be used as currency, or as a currency reserve, as with gold bars.

INVESTMENT COINS
Coins that have both a proven track record of providing high returns and an active market for liquidation. Please read our article on INVESTMENT QUALITY COINS

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J

JEFFERSON NICKEL
The descriptive name for a U.S. five-cent coin minted from 1938 to the present

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K

KEG MARKS
Dings or nicks on coins caused from being placed in large bags after minting. The coins rub against each other as the bags are lifted and transported causing various minor marks on the coins. Also called bag marks or contact marks.

KEY DATE
Usually the lowest-mintage coin and/or the most expensive coin in a particular set; typically the scarcest or rarest coin of a series, subsequently making it the most expensive in that series.

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L

LARGE CENT
A large copper U.S. one-cent coin issued from 1793 until 1857, when it was replaced by a much smaller cent made from a copper-nickel alloy. The value of copper in a large cent had risen to more than one cent, requiring the reduction in size and weight.

LEGEND
Inscription on a coin that conveys information about who minted it and for what purpose. On U.S. coinage, the legends include “United States”, the denomination, date and mint mark. Not to be confused with MOTTO.

LIB
Slang for Liberty Head (i.e., a twenty Lib, a Ten Lib, etc.)

LIBERTY
The symbolic female figure used in many U.S. coin designs

LIBERTY CAP
The descriptive name of a U.S. Half Cent coin minted from 1793 – 1797. Variations include the Facing Left Liberty Cap Half Cent (1793), the Facing Right Large Head Liberty Cap Half Cent (1794), and the Facing Right Small Head Liberty Cap Half Cent (1795-1797)

LIBERTY HEAD
The design used on most U.S. gold coins from 1838 until 1908. Morgan dollars and Barber coinage are sometimes referred to as Liberty Head coins.

LIBERTY NICKEL
The descriptive name for a U.S. five-cent coin minted from 1883-1913

LIBERTY SEATED – (aka: Seated Liberty)
The descriptive name of various U.S. coins based on the denomination, obverse design, and year of mintage. Liberty Seated coinage includes the Liberty Seated Half-dime (1837-1873), Liberty Seated dime (1837-1891), Liberty Seated Quarter (1838-1891), Liberty Seated Half Dollar (1839-1891), and the Liberty Seated Dollar (1836-1873)

LINCOLN CENT
The descriptive name of a U.S. one-cent coin minted from 1909 to the present

LIROT
A type of Israeli currency

LUSTER
In numismatics, luster is the amount and strength of light reflected from a coin’s surface and device lines.

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M

MAPLE LEAF
A Canadian gold coin

MARGIN CALL
Typically used on options or futures contracts, the ‘margin call’ is a payment owed when the initial right-to-buy payment is no longer sufficient to cover the ‘right-to-buy’ cost and additional funds are required to maintain the contract.

MARKS
Imperfections acquired after a coin is struck; marks can range from tiny to large and may be caused by other coins or foreign objects.

MELT VALUE
The value of a bullion coin based on its weight, precious metal content, and the current market value for that particular precious metal. For example: If gold is currently trading at $1,400 an ounce, the melt value of a bullion coin containing 1 ounce of gold would be approximately $1,400 depending on the weight and precious metal purity.

MINT MARK
The small letter(s) stamped on a coin indicating the mint where the coin was produced. See U.S. MINT for additional information.

MINT SETS
A specially packaged set of Uncirculated coins produced and sold by the U.S. Mint

MINT STATE – (MS)
Term corresponding to the coin grades MS-60 through MS-70, used to denote a business strike coin that has never been in circulation. A Mint State coin can range from one that is covered with marks (MS-60) to a flawless example (MS-70)

MINTAGE
The total number of a given type of coin (i.e., Morgan Silver Dollars, Saint Gaudens gold coins, etc.) that was produced at a particular mint during a given year. Generally speaking, the lower the mintage, the potentially more rare coins from that mintage are. See also MINTAGE RARITY

MINTAGE RARITY
A coin that is rare due to a low original mintage compared to market demand for that coin

MINTED
The date and place a coin was made. See also MINT MARK and U.S. MINTS

MINTS
see U.S. MINTS

MORGAN DOLLAR
U.S. Silver Dollar minted from 1878-1921. Refer to the Morgan Silver Dollar article for history and information

MOTTO
Mottos on current U.S. coins are “Liberty”, “In God We Trust”, and “E Pluribus Unum”; also used to reference certain coins to distinguish them from “No Motto” varieties such as the 1908 Saint Gaudens Double Eagles. See also NO MOTTO

MS
see MINT STATE

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N

NGC
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America, ) One of the two top coin grading services in the U.S.. For history, details and additional information see the PCGS article in the COIN GRADING SERVICES section

NO MOTTO
A U.S. coin without the slogan “in God we Trust” on it. In 1907 President Teddy Roosevelt demanded the motto be taken off the coins. An otherwise religious man, he felt strongly that God's name had no business being on money and that the words violated the Constitutional separation of church and state. Congressional public influence and protest restored the motto in the later part of 1908.

NUMISMATICS
The study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects

NUMISMATIST
Collectors of coins or currency; coin dealers; scholars using coins as a source for, or studying currency.

NEW ORLEANS
A prior U.S. Mint facility, located in New Orleans, Louisiana that operated from from 1838–1909. Coins from the New Orleans mint are designated with an “O” mint mark. The New Orleans Mint closed at the beginning of the Civil War (1861) and did not re-open until the end of Reconstruction in 1879. During its two stints as a minting facility, it produced both gold and silver coinage in eleven different denominations.

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O

OBVERSE
The front or ‘heads’ side of a coin; the opposite side of the reverse or ‘tails’ side. Obverse is one of the three sides of a coin, the other two being the ‘Reverse’ and the ‘Edge’. See also REVERSE and EDGE OGH – abbreviation for “Original Green Holder”; the original slabs PCGS housed their graded coins in. OGH holders today are popular for their nostalgia, historical significance, and the potential of coins housed in OGH holders to grade higher on re-submission to PCGS. The reason for potential higher grading stems from OGH coins being graded during a more conservative period in PCGS history and upon re-submission today, OGH coins have been known to grade one, sometime two, grades higher upon re-submission.

OGH
Abbreviation for “Original Green Holder”; the original slabs PCGS  housed their graded coins in.  OGH holders today are popular for their nostalgia, historical significance, and the potential of coins housed in OGH holders to grade higher on re-submission to PCGS.  The reason for potential higher grading stems from OGH coins being graded during a more conservative period in PCGS history and upon re-submission today, OGH coins have been known to grade one, sometime two,  grades higher upon re-submission.

ORIGINAL GREEN HOLDER
see OGH above

ORIGINAL ROLL
Rolls of coins that have been together since the day they were removed from the original storage bags they were placed in at the mint. Also, rolls of Mint State coins that have never been searched or "picked over." See also PUT TOGETHER ROLL

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P

PHILADELPHIA
A U.S. mint facility located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first mint facility of the United States, established by Congress in 1792. Until 1980, coins minted at Philadelphia bore no mint mark, with the exceptions of the Susan B. Anthony dollar and the wartime Jefferson nickel. In 1980, the P mint mark was added to all U.S. coinage except the cent. Until 1968, the Philadelphia Mint was responsible for nearly all official proof coinage. Today, the Philadelphia U.S. Mint makes circulating coins of all denominations, commemorative coins as authorized by Congress, and produces the dies for stamping coins and medals

PAMP
Often used in titles or descriptions of Swiss gold bullion items; PAMP is an acronym for "Produits Artistiques Metaux Precieux" (“Artistic Precious Metals products” in English) a gold refinery, established in 1977, based in Castel Saint Pietro, Switzerland. PAMP is one of the world's leading independent refiners of precious metals and PAMP Swiss gold bars are produced to exacting standards insuring the precise one ounce, 99.99% pure gold content of their bullion bars. Unlike many other bullion manufacturers that produce merely bricks of gold, PAMP bars are works of art and pictures do not really do them justice. PAMP is accredited by the Swiss National Bank, as well as the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) for "good delivery" bars. Because of this, PAMP gold bullion bars can be sold just about anywhere in the World making future liquidity quite easy.

PATINA
see TONING

PCGS
Professional Coin Grading Service (aka: Collector’s Universe) One of the two top coin grading services in the U.S.. For history, details and additional information see the PCGS article in the COIN GRADING SERVICES section

PEACE DOLLAR
U.S. Silver Dollar minted from 1921 – 1935. Refer to the Peace Dollar article on our website for history and information

PF
Indicates a graded coin that has been certified to be in the Proof category. See PR for more information.

PLANCHET
The flat metal disk used to make a coin AFTER the disk gets a rim and before it is struck by the dies. Distinguished from a blank, which is the flat metal disk BEFORE it gets a rim. The planchet is then struck by the dies which then turn the planchet into a coin.

PLANCHET ERROR
An error during the minting process whereby the planchet is misaligned or struck wrong; or where the wrong coin was fed into the wrong stamping machine resulting in a coin being struck with the design of a different coin (i.e., a nickel being struck with a dime design). While most coins with planchet errors never make it out of the mint, occasionally one does. Planchet error coins are a great addition to any coin collection and highly sought after by many collectors.

PNG – ( Professional Numismatists Guild)
A numismatic dealer organization with only about 300 members worldwide. This organization is comprised of well respected members who must meet certain criteria, follow an ethical code, and be voted in by the membership.

POPULATION
Also referred to as Census; the number of coins certified (or graded) in a given category and grade by a particular grading service. PCGS and NGC are the two most popular. PCGS releases PCGS Population reports for PCGS graded coins, and NGC releases NGC Census reports for NGC graded coins.

PQ
Premium quality

PQ CERTIFIED
A "GOLD PQ STICKER" is awarded to rare coins that pass a strict grading standard created by our founder Barry Stuppler, a well-known and highly respected dealer with over 50 years of experience in the numismatic industry.The PQ sticker ensures that you are buying the highest quality coin, which historically has proven to offer the best appreciation and liquidity compared to similar non-PQ certified coins.

PR
Two letter abbreviation (followed by a two digit number) used to specify the particular grade of a coin certified as being in the Proof category by a grading service. PR is used by PCGS, as opposed to the PF abbreviation used by NGC. Example: PR68 or PF68

PREFERRED DATE COINS
High-quality, graded, Mint State investment coins. Dates and mints vary.

PROOF
A coin struck using a special high quality minting process. Proof coins are minted specifically for sale to collectors and are not released into circulation. Proof coins are struck from specially prepared blanks and highly polished dies, using multiple strikes and extreme pressure. The goal of minting proof coins is to create a perfect coin with full details, mirrored fields and no imperfections. Grading services use the two letters (PR or PF) to distinguish proof coins from mint state coins (MS). As with mint state coins, the two letters are followed by the two digit grade number ranging from 60-70.

PROOF SETS
Specially packaged sets of proof coins produced and sold by the U.S. Mint each year

PROOF-LIKE
A business strike coin that strongly resembles the deeply reflective appearance of a proof coin. Some grading services actually have a special grading category for proof-like coins designated by the letters PL.

PURITY
As it relates to coins… i.e. .999 fine gold coins - The Karat (abbreviation kt) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys. In the United States and Canada, the spelling karat is used. 24-karat gold is 99.9% (or 999) fine gold, 18-carat gold is 75% (or 750) gold, 12-carat gold is 50% (or 500) gold, 10-karat gold is 41.7% (or 417) gold, and so forth. See the article What do Karats Purity mean for more information

PUT TOGETHER ROLL
Term applied to a roll of coins that is not original, where usually the best condition coins have been removed and replaced with lesser quality coins. (It is not unusual to find slightly circulated coins in such rolls so please verify you are working with a reputable dealer if you are buying elsewhere) See also ORIGINAL ROLL

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Q

QUARTER EAGLE
A $2.50 (Two Dollar and Fifty cent) U.S. gold coin minted between 1796 and 1929

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R

RARITY
Coins that are no longer being minted and have either a relatively low percentage of surviving examples from the original mintage or a low population compared to market demand, or both.

RED BOOK
Collector’s coin information and pricing guide for U.S. Coins. Published annually since 1950, the Red Book includes consumer pricing guides and various information such as mintage, history and trivia for most U.S. Coins including Commemoratives, Private Tokens, Territorial Issues and more. Note: keep in mind that prices printed in the Red Book were average market prices in effect at the time the book was being typeset which is typically 6-9 months prior to the year on the cover of the book.

REEDED
The series of grooved lines around the perimeter of some coins such as the U.S. quarter and the U.S. dime. Contrast this with the non-reeded, smooth, flat, outside edge of say a U.S. nickel or U.S. penny to compare the difference.

REGISTRY SET
A set of coins registered with a major third party company that verifies the quality and ownership of the coins in the set. The two major Registry Sets for U.S. coins are the PCGS Registry Set and the NGC Registry Set.

REVERSE
The ‘Tails’ or back side of a coin; the opposite side of the obverse or ‘heads’ side. Reverse is one of the three sides of a coin, the other two being the ‘Obverse’ and the ‘Edge’. See also OBVERSE and EDGE RIM - the raised area around the outer edges of the obverse and reverse sides of a coin.

ROOSTER
A knick-name for the French Gold Rooster

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S

SAN FRANCISCO
A U.S. Mint facility located in San Francisco, California, opened in 1854 to serve the goldfields of the California Gold Rush. Designated with the “S” mint mark, the San Francisco mint was closed in 1955 and reopened a decade later during the coin shortage of the mid-60s. In 1968, it took over most proof-coinage production from Philadelphia, and since 1975 has been used solely for proof coinage, with the exception of the Anthony dollar and a portion of the mintage of cents in the early 1980s. (These cents are indistinguishable from those minted at Philadelphia.) Today, although the San Francisco mint does not currently produce circulating coins, it is the exclusive manufacturer of regular proof and silver proof coin sets that set the standard for numismatic excellence with their brilliant artistry, fine craftsmanship and enduring quality.

SACAGAWEA DOLLAR
A U.S. one dollar value circulating coin that was first minted in 2000; it is sometimes referred to as "the golden dollar" in non-numismatic circles because of its color. Honoring Sacagawea, a Shoshone Indian woman who was a guide and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804, Sacagawea dollars are struck at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints (for circulation coins) and in San Francisco (for proof coins).

SAINT GAUDENS
Name of $20 U.S. Gold Coin minted from 1907-1933; also the last name of the designer of the obverse of the St Gaudens coin (Augustus Saint Gaudens). See article in the TYPES OF COINS section for history and information on Saint Gaudens gold coins.

SEATED LIBERTY
see LIBERTY SEATED

SECURE PLUS
A service offered by PCGS beginning in 2010 intended to add value and security to PCGS graded coins. See SECURE PLUS SERVICE article in the Grading Section of the website for details.

SEMI-KEY DATE
One of the lower mintage, more expensive, and/or more rare coins in a particular set or series, but not the lowest, rarest, or most expensive. See also KEY DATE

SEMI-NUMISMATIC
Generally speaking, semi-numismatic coins are bullion coins that have been graded by a reputable grading service. Semi numismatic coins carry a slight premium over their uncertified bullion counterparts. The amount of the premium is based on a combination of demand and precious metal prices.

SERIAL NUMBER
see CERTIFICATE NUMBER

SHELDON SCALE (AKA: SHELDON GRADING SYSTEM)
The grading scale system that has become the industry standard for grading coins. The scale runs from 1 to 70, with 1 meaning you may be able to tell that it once was a coin but that’s about it, and 70 meaning utter perfection! In 1948, a well-known numismatist by the name of Dr. William Herbert Sheldon attempted to standardized coin grading by proposing what is now known as the Sheldon Scale. Originally devised specifically for United States large cents, the Sheldon's scale is now applied to all coins and used by all the major grading companies. You may enjoy reading a more detailed explanation of the point grading system for more in depth information on the coin grading scale.

SHIELD NICKEL
The descriptive name for a U.S. five-cent coin minted from 1866-1883

SLAB
A slang term for the plastic holder (housing) in which a grading service uses to encapsulate a coin which has been certified or graded. The coin inside is said to be ‘slabbed’. Also see HOUSING

SLABBED
The process of submitting a coin to a grading service to have it authenticated, certified, and/or graded and subsequently encapsulated in a sonically sealed plastic holder by the grading service prior to returning it to the owner. See also GRADING

SLIDER COINS
Coins of inferior, usually circulated, condition that are often placed in put together rolls of coins.

SPOT PRICE
The current market price of a given commodity, such as precious metals like gold, silver, platinum or palladium.

SPREAD (as related to Greysheet CDN pricing of Bid/Ask)
The difference between the Ask and Bid prices. See also BID and ASK

STANDING LIBERTY
A coin design depicting Miss Liberty in an upright, front-facing position. The Standing Liberty design was used from 1907-1933 on the Saint-Gaudens double eagles, and on the Hermon A. MacNeil quarter struck from 1916 until 1930 (often referred to as the Standing Liberty Quarter).

STRIKE
The sharpness of detail on a coin. For example, a full strike is a coin that exhibits the full detail that would appear on the sharpest known examples of that type. See also BUSINESS STRIKE, PROOF and PROOF-LIKE

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T

TONING
Synonym: Patina - The term for the various colors, shades, hues, and patterns seen on many coins. There are infinite colors, patterns, and degrees of toning that may appear on any given coin. Toning actually begins to occur as soon as a coin is struck since all U.S. Coins contain varying degrees of reactive metals. The amount and color of toning varies greatly from coin to coin. The degrees and variations of toning depend in large part on the length, location, and method of storage of the coin. Toning does not necessarily increase or decrease a coin’s value, as toning (like beauty) is in the eye of the beholder and the intrinsic value is completely subjective.

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U

UNCIRCULATED
Coins that have not been used in commerce. For graded coins, those in the 60-70 range of the Sheldon Scale are considered Uncirculated.

UNGRADED
A coin that has not been certified or graded by a numismatic grading service.

UPSIDE POTENTIAL
Probability of future value increase of a coin. Generally based on one or more of several variables such as the number of surviving or graded specimens from a particular mintage; the precious metal content and/or current spot prices of that precious metal; the value or population of higher grades from that same mintage.

U.S. MINT
The United States Mint primarily produces circulating coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce. The U.S. Mint was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, and placed within the Department of State. Per the terms of the Coinage Act, the first Mint building was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then the U.S. capital; it was the first building of the Republic raised under the Constitution. The Mint was made an independent agency in 1799, and under the Coinage Act of 1873, became part of the Department of the Treasury. It was placed under the auspices of the Treasurer of the United States in 1981. Today, the Mint is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and operates mint facilities in Philadelphia; Denver; San Francisco; West Point and a bullion depository at Fort Knox. The U.S. Mint manages extensive commercial marketing programs and the product line includes special coin sets for collectors, national medals, American Eagle gold, silver and platinum bullion coins, and commemorative coins marking national events such as the Bicentennial of the Constitution. Note that the U.S. Mint is not responsible for the production of paper money; that is the responsibility of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

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V

VAM NUMBER
Unique number assigned to each die combination of Morgan and Peace dollars known to the authors of The Complete Catalog and Encyclopedia of United States Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars. Called VAM because of the authors Leroy Van Allen and A. George Mallis.

VERY FINE (VF)
Coin grade of VF20, VF35, VF30, VF35 indicating most details are well defined with light to heavy wear on high points; most lettering and design details are sharp

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W

WEST POINT
U.S. Mint facility in West Point, New York is the newest branch of the U.S. mint. Its predecessor, the West Point Bullion Depository, was opened in 1937, and cents were produced there from 1973 to 1986. The West Point Mint gained official status as a branch mint on March 31, 1988. Along with the cents already mentioned, which were identical to those produced at Philadelphia, West Point has struck a great deal of commemorative and proof coinage bearing the W mint mark. In 1996, West Point produced clad dimes, but for collectors, not for circulation. Today, the West Point facility is still used for storage of part of the United States' gold bullion reserves, and West Point is now the United States' only production facility for gold, silver and platinum American Eagle coins.

WHIPSAW
A condition where a security's price heads in one direction, but then is followed quickly by a movement in the opposite direction. There are two types of whipsaw patterns. The first involves an upward movement in the share price, which is then followed by a drastic downward move, which causes the share's price to fall relative to its original position. The second type involves the share price to drop for a little while, and then suddenly, the price abruptly surges towards positive gains relative to the stock's original position.

WALKING LIBERTY
A U.S. mint issued 50-cent piece (half-dollar) minted between 1916 – 1947

WEAR
Metal lost during handling and contact with other objects

WHIZZING
The process of altering the metal on a lightly circulated coin to simulate luster, usually accomplished by using a wire brush attachment on a high-speed drill. Whizzing is a form of alteration, and alteration de-values collectible coins.

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