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This article is a collection of numismatic and coin collecting terms with concise explanation for the beginner or professional.

Numismatics (ancient Greek: νομισματική, meaning "monetary") is the scientific study of money and its history in all its varied forms. While numismatists are often characterized as studying coins, the discipline also includes the study of banknotes, stock certificates, medals, medallions, and tokens (also referred to as Exonumia).

Sub-fields or related fields of numismatics are:

A

Adjustment

The filing down of a blank to the correct weight before striking, shown by file marks. File marks are often still visible on the surface of a coin even after being struck.

Alliance coinage

Coins minted by two or more state governments in conjunction. The Euro coins would be an example of this.

Alloy

Homogeneous mixture of two or more elements, where the resulting compound has metallic properties. Common coin alloys include cupro-nickel (copper and nickel) and bronze (copper and tin).

Altered Date

False date put on a coin to defraud collectors, usually to make it appear more valuable. Such alterations are often easily spotted with the aid of a magnifying glass.

Anepigraphic coin

Coin without an inscription. Many ancient coins used only a simple picture of an animal to show value or weight.

Annealing

Process of heating and cooling metal in order to relieve stresses. This is often done with coin blanks to make the metal less brittle before striking.

Assay

Test to ascertain the weight and purity of a coin.

Attribution

Identifier of a coin such as date, mint, denomination, or variety.

B

Bag Mark

Surface mark, or nick, on a coin usually from contact with other coins in a mint bag. More often seen on large gold or silver coins. Also called "contact marks".

Banker's Mark

A small countermark applied to a coin by a bank or a trader indicating that they consider the coin to be genuine and of legal weight. Most often found on ancient and medieval coins, but also on silver coins which circulated in China and Japan, where they are referred to as chop-marks.

Base metal

Non-precious metal or alloy containing no gold or silver. Common base metals used in coinage include nickel and copper.

Beading

Raised dot border along the rim of a coin.

Billon

Low-grade alloy of gold or silver with a high percentage of another metal, usually copper. Billon is often the result of a sudden debasing of circulating silver coinage due to hyperinflation.

Bi-metallic

A coin with one type of metal in the center with an outer ring of a different metal. Examples are the 1 and 2 Euro coins and the Canadian "toonie" two-dollar coin.

Blank

Prepared disk of metal on which the coin design will be stamped. Also called a 'planchet' or 'flan'. In practice, 'Blank' is also referred to the un-struck or flat side of a uniface coin or medal.

Brass

Copper based alloy with zinc.

Brockage

Originally referring to metal wasted in coin production, now means coins struck when the previous coin remains stuck to a die, creating an incuse impression in the next struck coin (primarily found in ancient coins).

Bronze

Copper based alloy with tin.

Bullion

Precious metals (platinum, gold and silver) in the form of bars, ingots or plate, or where weight is considered as a valuation.

Bullion coin

Precious metals in the form of coins whose market value is determined by metallic content rather than scarcity.

Bullion Value

Current market value of the raw precious metal content of a coin. For example, the bullion value for Canadian silver coins, 1920 to 1966, is 12 times the face value when silver is $20.00 per troy ounce.

Business Strike

A coin intended for everyday use in commerce.

C

Cameo

Strong distinction in the surface appearance of foreground devices relative to the field. Proof coins often exhibit this feature.

Carat

Unit measurement of the weight of precious stones. Usually marked 'c' or 'car'. 1 carat = 200 milligrams. Not to be confused with 'Karat' used with gold (see below).

Cast coins

Coins produced by pouring metal into a mold. Used for the first Ancient Roman bronze "As" coins and Chinese "cash" coins, but rarely used today. Modern counterfeit coins are often cast.

Centum

One one-hundredth of the basic monetary unit from Latin. The English cent, Romance languages centavos, centimos, centesimos or centimes are one hundredth of a base unit like dollar, euro, peso etc.

Certified Coin

Coin that has been graded and authenticated by one of numerous independent grading services. See also Encapsulated coin.

Chop-mark

See Banker's Mark.

Church Tokens

Also known as Communion Tokens, they were generally issued initially by Scottish parishes (die stamped one-side only to show the parish) and later in USA and Canada; they were square or oblong, and were made of lead, iron or brass and measured 1/4" to 1".[1]

Circulated

Term used to indicate a coin that has wear.

Clad Coinage

Issues of coins that contain a center core and outer layer of differing metals or alloys bonded together. The current U.S. Quarter, dime, and half dollar are made of cupronickel clad copper.

Coin alignment

The term used to describe the position of the obverse (front) and reverse (back) dies to each other. A "medal alignment" describes a coin struck so that when the "head" side is facing up, and the coin is turned on its axis, the "tails" side is also facing up. A "coin alignment" describes a coin struck so that when the "head" side is facing up, the coin must be flipped top-to-bottom to see the "tails" side facing up. Generally, Canadian coins are struck with medal alignment, and US coins are struck with coin alignment.

Collar

Outer ring of the die chamber that holds the blank in place while the obverse and reverse are being stamped.

Contact Marks

Minor abrasions on uncirculated coinage created by contact with other coins. Also called "bag marks".

Countermark or Counterstamp

Partial or complete over-stamping of a coin or token in order to change its value or issuing authority, or to display an advertisement, political slogan or symbol, etc. Stamping may consist of a number (value), symbol (authority), letters (advertisement or slogan), or any combination of the above.

Crown

Large coin often struck in precious metal. Modern crowns are usually not highly circulated due to being too large and/or too heavy. The United States's last crown-sized coin for circulation was the Eisenhower Dollar, last struck in 1978.

Cud

A defect from a chipped die.

D

Debase

To lower the silver/gold value of the coin by altering its purity, but with the same face value as the pure coin. This often happens during periods of high inflation.

Denticles

Small toothlike projecting points on the inside edge of coins.

Designer

Artist or creator of a coin's design.

Device

Pattern or emblem used in the design of a coin.

Die

Metal piece engraved with the design used for stamping the coin.

Die ClashThis article is a collection of numismatic and coin collecting terms with concise explanation for the beginner or professional.

Numismatics (ancient Greek: νομισματική, meaning "monetary") is the scientific study of money and its history in all its varied forms. While numismatists are often characterized as studying coins, the discipline also includes the study of banknotes, stock certificates, medals, medallions, and tokens (also referred to as Exonumia).

Sub-fields or related fields of numismatics are:

  • Exonumia: is the study of coin-like objects such as token coins and medals, and o

    Numismatics (ancient Greek: νομισματική, meaning "monetary") is the scientific study of money and its history in all its varied forms. While numismatists are often characterized as studying coins, the discipline also includes the study of banknotes, stock certificates, medals, medallions, and tokens (also referred to as Exonumia).

    Sub-fields or related fields of numismatics are:

    Adjustment

    The filing down of a blank to the correct weight before striking, shown by file marks. File marks are often still visible on the surface of a coin even after being struck.

    Alliance coinage

    Coins minted by two or more state governments in conjunction. The Euro coins would be an example of this.

    Alloy

    Homogeneous mixture of two or more elements, where the resulting compound has metallic properties. Common coin alloys include cupro-nickel (copper and nickel) and bronze (copper and tin).

    Altered Date

    False date put on a coin to defraud collectors, usually to make it appear more valuable. Such alterations are often easily spotted with the aid of a magnifying glass.

    Anepigraphic coin

    Coin without an inscription. Many ancient coins used only a simple picture of an animal to show value or weight.

    Annealing

    Process of heating and cooling metal in order to relieve stresses. This is often done with coin blanks to make the metal less brittle before striking.

    Assay

    Test to ascertain the weight and purity of a coin.

    Attribution

    Identifier of a coin such as date, mint, denomination, or variety.

    B

    Bag Mark

    Surface mark, or nick, on a coin usually from contact with other coins in a mint bag. More often seen on large gold or silver coins. Also called "contact marks".

    Banker's Mark

    A small countermark applied to a coin by a bank or a trader indicating that they consider the coin to be genuine and

    Alliance coinage

    Coins minted by two or more state governments in conjunction. The Euro coins would be an example of this.

    Alloy

    Alloy

    Homogeneous mixture of two or more elements, where the resulting compound has metallic properties. Common coin alloy

    Altered Date

    False date put on a coin to defraud collectors, usually to make it appear more valuable. Such alterations are often easily spotted with the aid of a magnifying glass.

    Anepigraphic coin

    Coin without an inscription. Many ancient coins used only a simple picture of an animal to show

    Anepigraphic coin

    Coin without an inscription. Many ancient coins used only a simple picture of an animal to show value or weight.

    Annealing

    Process of heating and cooling metal in order to relieve stresses. This is often done with coin blanks to make the metal le

    Assay

    Test to ascertain the weight and purity of a coin.

    Attribution

    Identifier of a coin such as date, mint, denomination, or variet

    Attribution

    Identifier of a coin such as date, mint, denomination, or var

    Bag Mark

    Surface mark, or nick, on a coin usually from contact with other coins in a mint bag. More often seen on large gold or silver coins. Also called "contact marks".

    Banker's Mark

    A small countermark applied to a coin by a bank or a trader indicating that they consider the coin to be genuine and of legal weight. Most often found on ancie

    Banker's Mark

    A small countermark applied to a coin by a bank or a trader indicating that they consider the coin to be genuine and of legal weight. Most often found on ancient and mediev

    Base metal

    Non-precious metal or alloy containing no gold or silver. Common base metals used in coinage include nickel and copper.

    Beading

    Raised dot border along the rim of a coin.

    Bill

    Beading

    Raised dot border along the rim of a coin.

    Billon

    Low-grade alloy of gold or Billon

    Low-grade alloy of

    Bi-metallic

    A coin with one type of metal in the center with an outer ring of a different metal. Examples are the 1 and 2 Euro coins and the Canadian "toonie" two-dollar coin.

    Blank

    Prepared disk of metal on which the coin design will be stamped. Also called a 'planchet'

    Blank

    Prepared disk of metal on which the coin design will be stamped. Also called a 'planchet' or 'flan'. In practice, 'Blank' is also referred to the un-struck or flat side of a Brass

    Copper based alloy with zinc.

    Brockage

    Originally referring to metal wasted in coin production, now means coins struck when the previous coin remains stuck to a

    Brockage

    Originally referring to metal wasted in coin production, now means coins struc

    Bronze

    Copper based alloy with tin.

    Bullion

    Precious metals (platinum, Bullion

    Precious metals (platinum, Bullion coin

    Precious metals in the form of coins whose market value is determined by metallic content rather than scarcity.

    Bullion Value

    Current market value of the raw precious metal content of a coin. For example, the bullion value for Can

    Bullion Value

    Current market value of the raw precious metal content of a coin. For example, the bullion value for Canadian silver coins

    Business Strike

    A coin intended for everyday use in commerce.

    C

    <

    Debase

    To lower the silver/gold value of the coin by altering its purity, but with the same face value as the pure coin. This often happens during periods of high inflation.

    Denticles

    Small toothlike projecting points on the inside edge of coins.

    Designer

    Artist or creator of a co

    Designer

    Artist or creator of a coin's design.

    Device

    Device

    Pattern or emblem used in the design of a coin.<

    Die

    Metal piece engraved with the design used for stamping the

    Die Clash

    Caused when a coin planchet fails to be placed between two dies during the

    Die Crack

    Fine raised line on a coin that was caused by a crack in the die.

    Die Defect

    Imperfection of various sorts caused by a damaged die. May refer to a crack or clash or a chip out of the die, etc. A defect from a chipped die is called a cud.

    Die Marriage

    The combination of a particular obverse an

    Die Defect

    Imperfection of various sorts caused by a damaged die. May refer to a crack

    Die Marriage

    The combination of a particular obverse and reverse set of dies. If one die is replaced a new die marriage is created.

    Die State

    A variat

    Die State

    A variation in appearance to a coin struck by a single die, resulting from wear or alteration of the die. For example, the presen

    Die Variety

    Minor variation in a die, including repunched mintmarks, doubling, or deliberate minor changes to the die design.

    Dime

    United States $0.10 coin. While the term is American in origin, Canadians often use the term as well.

    Dippe

    Dipped, Dipping

    Chemical cleaning of a coin with a diluted acid. This "cleanliness" is a result of the surface of the coin being

    Double Eagle (U.S.A.)

    United States gold $20 coin. Struck from 1850 to 1933.
    Doubled Die

    Die that received two misaligned impressions from a hub; more commonly, a coin struck by such a die.

    Doubloon

    Popular name of a Spanish gold coin originally valued at 4 dollars. The formal term was "2 escudos".

    Dump (Australia)

    Centre of the holey dollar with a value of fifteen pence.

    Doubled Die

    Die that received two misaligned impressions from a hub; more commonly, a coin struck by such a die.

    Doubloon

    Popular name of a Spanish gold coin originally valued at 4 dollars. The formal term was "2 EEagle (U.S.A.)

    1. United States $10.00 gold coin minted from 1795 – 1933.
    2. Series of US Bullion coins minted from 1986 through the present.

    Edge

    Rim of a coin often containing a series of reeds, lettering or other decoration.

    Edge

    Rim of a coin often containing a series of reeds, lettering or other decoration.

    Ecu

    Large French silver coin made during the end of the monarchy. Also proposed European curren

    Effigy

    The image or likeness of a person, usually on the

    Electrotype

    Reproduction made by electrodeposition frequently used in museum displays.

    Electrum <

    Electrum

    Artificial or naturally occurring mixture of gold and silver used in some of the worl

    Elongated coin

    An oval medalet produced by a roller die using a coin, token or medal as a planchet, usually a cent.

    Encapsulated Coin

    A coin that has been authenticated, graded and enclosed in plastic by an independent service.

    Engraver

    Person who cuts the image of a design onto a die.

    Error

    Usually a mis-made coin not intended for circulation, but ca

    Essai, Essay

    A trial strike, also in currency a strike intended to test the design.

    Exergue

    A segment of the coin design separated by a line (usually indicating the ground in the design) in which a legend is placed/inscribed.

    F

    Laureate

    A

    Laureate

    A style of coin portraiture started in ancient Rome whose coins often showed the Emperor's head crowned with a laurel wreath. The American Barber coins from 1892 to 1915 and the first portrait of Queen Elizabeth II used in Great Britain from 1953 to 1967 are modern examples.

    Legal tender

    Coins or currency which must be accepted in payment

    Legal tender

    Coins or currency which must be accepted in payment of debt.

    Legend

    Principal inscription on a coin.

    Lettered edge

    The outside edge of a coin containing an inscription.
    Legend

    Principal inscription on a coin.

    Lettered edge Lettered edge

    The outside edge of a coin containing an in

    Low relief

    A coin with the raised design not very high above the field. Luster

    Appearance of a coin's ability to reflect light; brilliance. Percentage

    Master die

    Original die from which working hubs are made.

    Maundy money

    An annual gift made on Maundy Thursday of a set of pure silver coins made by the Royal Mint and distributed personally by the monarch to the poor of Canterbury. The number of sets distributed reflects the age of

    Maundy money

    An annual gift made on Medal alignment

    A method of striking coins in which both the obverse and reverse dies are aligned in the same direction. Most Canadian coins are struck this way.

    Medal-coin

    See NCLT.

    Milled coinage

    Machine-struck coinage. In contrast to hammered coinage

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