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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The pattern of toning on silver commemoratives imparted by their original holder of issue. The area of the coin covered by the holder tones lightly or remains untoned, while the exposed area is darker. Premiums are paid for attractive tab toned commemoratives because of their originality. See Also: TONING
Term used for 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 relies on certain "technical metrics" of a coin such as STRIKE, LUSTER and SURFACE PRESERVATION. PCGS and NGC use technical grading. However, aesthetic metrics such as eye-appeal and colorful toning also play a part in the overall grade, For example; a coin may be "technically" awesome but receive a lower certified grade because of dark toning or poor eye-appeal. Conversely a coin with a technical flaw may receive a higher grade if the eye-appeal is outstanding or if the coin has beautiful toning
Affectionate name for JUDD-1776 - the 1907 $20 Eagle. Considered my many to be the most desirable and valuable coin in numismatics. It is a gold coin the size of a $20 Saint with the design of a $10 Indian. One known to exist.
Also referred to as Pioneer Gold. These were gold pieces issued by various PRIVATE MINTERS during the California gold rush. Such coins were mostly struck in Oregon, Utah and California.
It is the name originally attributed to the earliest German coins which were the approximate size of a silver dollar. The term “dollar” is derived from this coin.
Term used to describe coins that have a limited market on the buy/sell side. Many esoteric coins can be thinly traded. In other words, a "Thin Market" suggest very few interested buyers for a certain coin.
Name for the famous three-legged variety of Buffalo nickels minted in 1937 at the Denver Mint.
A method of attempting to hide surface flaws on a coin by using one's thumb to place a film of grease or wax on the surface of a coin.
See BAGMARKS, HITS, CHATTER
A medal that can be exchanged for goods or services at a particular venue, usually the issuer.
The film or coloring on the surface of a coin caused by a chemical reaction between the coin's metal and some other substance such as the sulfur from older cardboard books, FLIPS or envelopes. Rainbow-colored, original toning is often a desirable characteristic for a coin. See also, ARTIFICIAL TONING
Term used in reference to the re-engraving or alteration of a coin, by someone outside of the Mint, in an effort to artificially enhance a coin's appearance and value. See also; BODY BAG, CLEANED, ALTERED SURFACES.
This term means the same as "Pop-top." It refers to a coin that is at the TOP of the Population Report (in other words, the finest graded).
US silver dollars coined 1873-1885. Their size is 180% (heavier than) the traditional silver dollars of the era. They were intended for use in Oriental / Pacific Rim trade.
Another name for three-cent pieces stuck in silver (1851-1873).
A weight measurement used for coinage consisting of 20 pennyweights or 480 grains = 31.1 grams = 1/12 Troy pound. Term used primarily in BULLION coinage.
A major division of a design. For example, Seated Liberty quarters and Barber quarters represent two distinctly different Types of coins, just as Barber dimes are a different Type than Barber half-dollars. See also: VARIETY
A representative coin, usually a common date, from a particular issue of a specific design, size, or metallic content.
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