Coin Collection Glossary

Alloy-A combination of two or more metals in collectible coins such as cupro-nickel or cupro-zinc.

Ancient-refers to any coin minted before 500 A.D.

Bag marks-nicks, marks and scratches resulting from coins in a mint bag being in contact with each other.

Bi-metallic coin-a coin with the center made from one metal with its outer portion being comprised of a different metal.

Blank-a round piece of metal made for subsequent minting into coinage.

Bullion-a coin made of gold or other precious metal with little numismatic value apart from the current value of the metal from which the coin is made.

Cameo-a coin with a frosted appearance.

Circulated coin-a coin which has actually been used as money and shows some degree of wear.

Commemorative coin-A coin with a design struck in honor of some historical or current event, famous person or special anniversary.

Error coin-a coin minted by mistake or with a design different than intended.

Grade-the condition of a coin determined by a set methodology.

High points-the highest part of a coin's design where the first signs of wear and tear generally appear.

Legend-the words that are inscribed around the outer edge of a coin, for U.S. coins, the legend inscription is E Pluribus Unum

Mintage-the total number of coins of a particular denomination, date and/or type produced by a mint

Mint mark-a symbol identifying the particular mint which produced the coin

Mint state-an un-circulated coin in the same condition as when it was originally minted showing no signs of wear

Numismatics-the study of coins, paper currency, tokens, medals, and other similar items

Obverse-the "heads" side of the coin where a portrait of a president, king, queen or other national leader appears

Proof coins-coins that are struck with greater pressure than normal using specially polished dies to make the design more highly polished or mirror-like

Reverse-the back or "tails" side of a coin, the opposite side to the obverse side of a coin

Rim-the outer edge of a coin

Un-circulated coin-a coin that has never actually been used as money and has no visible signs of wear

Variety-any change in the design of a coin results in a new coin variety