Home > Glossary I-K

The rare coin market, like any specialized field, has its own terms and slang. This glossary is a comprehensive list of terms and slang that you may encounter in your collecting pursuits. This list was compiled using several reference works and the experience of our numismatists. Click on one of the letters below to go to a specific letter.

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ICG / Independent Coin Grading

One of the major coin grading and certification companies that encapsulates rare coins. For more information, contact: www.icgcoin.com or toll-free at 1-877-221-4424.

ICTA / Industry Council for Tangible Assets
The government affairs and lobbying group for the rare coin and precious metal industry. For more information, visit them on-line at www.ictaonline.com


Impaired Proof

A Proof coin that grades less than PR-60; a circulated Proof.


Incomplete Strike

A coin that is missing design detail because of a problem during the striking process. The incompleteness may be due to insufficient striking pressure or improperly spaced dies. See Also: Weak Strike.

The intaglio design used on Indian Head quarter eagles and half eagles. These coins were struck from dies which had fields recessed, so that the devices – the areas usually raised – were recessed on the coins themselves. This was an experiment to try to deter counterfeiting and improve wearing quality.

An oblong piece of cast metal, usually of gold or silver, with weight and FINENESS specified used in the production of coins.

Words, numerals or abbreviations on a coin - other than dates, mintmarks or engraver's signatures. See also: LEGEND, MOTTO

Devices which are sunk below neighboring surfaces. See also: INCUSE

Intercept Shield
A newly introduced product which miraculously extracts impurities and other harmful chemicals away from coins. It helps in reducing (if not eliminating) unwanted TONING on coins. A full range of products are available - from individual FLIPS to albums to boxes. For more information visit on-line at www.interceptshield.com

Intrinsic Value
The value of the metal(s) contained in a numismatic item. The United States issues contained their intrinsic value in metal until 1933 for gold coins and 1964 for silver coins. Today’s “sandwich” coins are termed fiat currency.


J / Judd
J. Hewitt Judd, M.D. was a numismatic author who compiled the first edition of United States Pattern, Experimental and Trial Pieces in 1959. This guide, an extensive revision of Adams and Woodin's earlier work on patterns, became a standard reference for collectors, and most often pattern coins are referred to by Judd numbers, e.g. J-1550. See also: Patterns, Pollock, and Die Trial

Refers to the buyer's commission paid in a public auction (normally 15%). See also: HAMMER PRICE, VIG  


Key / Key Date

Nearly every coin series has one or two issues which boast an extremely low MINTAGE and / or certified POPULATION which results in higher collector interest. For example, the 1916-D in the Mercury dime series or the 1911-D in the $21/2 Indian series. See also; STOPPER, CLASSIC RARITY

Name given to the Gold bullion coins produced by the Royal Australian Mint. These, along with the Canadian Mapleleafs are the purest gold coins in the world

King of Coins
The number one coin. The 1804 dollar was referred to as the "King of Coins" in an 1885 auction catalogue. Since then, the word "King" has come to mean the most important coin of a particular series.

Knife Rim
A result of the minting process when a piece of extruding metal on the rim of a coin caused by metal forced between the DIE and COLLAR - usually because the collar has stretched slightly over time. Knife Rim coins were objectionable because they did not eject properly from the dies and did not stack properly. Also known as Wired-Edge.

Name given to the Platinum bullion coins produced by the Royal Australian Mint. These are the purest platinum coins produced in the world.

Name given to the bullion-gold coins produced by the South African Mint. This was the world's first, government-backed gold coin produced. Long time favorite of collectors and investors.

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