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US Rare Coin The Numismatics Glossary
Category: Sport and Leisure > Coin Collecting
Date & country: 11/09/2007, USA
Words: 268


accolated
Design with two heads facing the same direction and overlapping.

accumulation
Coins, tokens, etc., unsorted, unclassified, and unattributed; not a collection.

adjustment
Filing down the face of an overweight planchet. Such filing marks often survive the coining process. This is common on 18th century coins.

aes grave
Cast bronze issue of the Roman republic; literally 'heavy bronze.'

aes rude
Large cast rectangular bronze coin, one of the earliest Roman coins.

alloy
Mixture of more than one metal.

altered
A coin or other numismatic item that has been deliberately changed, usually to make it resemble a rare or more valuable piece.

American Arts Gold Medallions
A series of 1ounce and half-ounce gold bullion medals issued by the U.S. Mint from 1980-84. Medals depict great American artists, writers and actors.

American Eagle
Bullion coins released by the U.S. Mint beginning in October 1986. Five coins are available: a 1-ounce, .999 fine silver coin with $1 face value; a 1-ounce,.9167 fine gold coin with $50 face value; a half-ounce, .9167 fine gold coin with $25 face value; a quarter-ounce, .9167 fine gold coin with $10 face value; and a tenth-ounce, .9167 fine gold coin with $5 face value. Coins are sold at prices based on current metal prices plus a markup

ancient coin
Generally any coin issued before A.D. 500.

anneal
To soften dies, planchets or metal by heat treatment.

ant nose
Primitive copper money of China ca. 600 B.C.

as
(Plural: asses) Bronze or orichalcum coins of the Roman republic.

assay
Analytic test or trial to ascertain the fineness, weight and consistency of precious or other metal in coin or bullion. An assay piece is one that has been assayed.

attribution
The identification of a numismatic item by characteristics such as issuing authority, date or period, Mint, denomination, metal in which struck, and by a standard reference.

auction
Method of selling by which items are presented for sale to the highest bidder.

authentication
Authoritative determination of the genuineness of a numismatic item.

back
The paper money side opposite the 'face'; analogous to the reverse of a coin.

bag marks
See contact marks.

bank note
A promissory note issued by a bank in useful denominations, payable to bearer and intended to circulate as money. Should not be used as a generic term for all forms of paper money.

bas--relief
Sculpture style featuring slight differences between the raised design and the field and in which no part of the design is undercut; used to execute models for coins and medals.

base metal
Non-precious metal; e.g., copper.

Bicentennial coins
The special quarter dollar, half dollar and dollar struck from mid-1975 to the end of 1976 in honor of the 200th anniversary of American Independence. Coins feature the dual date 1776-1976 and special reverses emblematic of the celebration. Issued in copper-nickel clad versions for circulation. Special 40percent silver clad versions were sold to collectors.

bid sheet
A form used by a buyer in an auction or mail-bid sale, on which the buyer lists the item being bid on by the number it is assigned and the price he is willing to pay.

bid-buy sale
A combination form of fixed-price list and mail-bid sale. Rules may vary from dealer to dealer. However, customers usually may either buy a lot outright at the fixed price or place a bid (higher or lower). It permits buyers to purchase a lot at less than fixed price (in some cases), or by paying more, ensures a greater chance of obtaining the lot.

billon
A low-grade alloy used for some minor coin issues consisting usually of a mixture of silver and copper, and sometimes coated with a silver wash.

bison, buffalo
Species considered typically North American, used on coinage and paper money of the United States; bison is a better term than buffalo, which is a more general term referring to a number of related but different species outside North America.

bit
A popular term for the Spanish-American 1real piece (also Danish West Indies and other neighboring islands) which formerly circulated in the United States. More often used in the plural, as two bits (25 cents) or four bits (50 cents). A bit is 12-1/2 cents.

blank
See planchet.

block
In paper money collecting, a series of related notes indicated by the same prefix and suffix letters in the serial number. When the suffix letter changes, a new block is created. The suffix currently changes when the serial number reaches 99 920 000.

Blue Book
Nickname given to Handbook of United States Coins, an annual price guide for collectors. The book has a blue cover, hence the nickname. Gives wholesale prices, or what dealers might pay for U.S. coins.

bourse
Rhymes with 'horse,' the area at a coin show or convention where dealers set up tables of collectibles for sale.

brass
Coinage metal alloy containing chiefly copper and zinc.

Britannia
Gold bullion coin and its fractionals to be issued by Great Britain beginning in 1987; also, the allegorical figure representing Britain.

broadstrike
Coin struck outside a restraining collar. See also related article.

broken bank note
Paper money of a defunct bank or a bank which has failed (broken), but often applied to any obsolete bank note.

bronze
Coinage metal alloy containing chiefly copper and tin.

Brown Back
A Brown Back note is a Second Charter, First Issue national bank note. Has brown ink on the back.

buffalo
See bison.

Buffalo nickel
More properly: Indian Head 5-cent piece.

bullion
Uncoined precious metal in the form of bars, plates, ingots, and other items.

bullion coin
A precious metal coin traded at the current bullion price.

buyer's fee
Winning bidders in a public auction in the United States are usually charged a buyer's fee based on a certain percentage of the winning bid. Most U.S. auction houses charge a 10 percent buyer's fee; a buyer placing a $110 hammer bid on a coin would pay an additional $11 buyer's fee, or $121.

cabinet friction
Slight surface wear on a coin, token or medal caused by friction between it and the tray or envelope in which it is contained.

check number
On modern paper money, used as a cross reference for the plate number which appears on the margin of a currency sheet and which is trimmed from the note before it enters circulation to identify the printing plate from which the note came. On the obverse, the check number is a letter and number combination appearing in lower right corner; on the reverse, it is a number only appearing at the lower right. Often incorrectly called the plate number.

chop mark (shroff mark)
A small punched impression applied by Chinese (chop) or Indian (shroff) banks or change offices to attest to the full weight and metallic content of a coin.

Civil War tokens
Privately-issued emergency coin-like tokens, the approximate size of current U.S. cents, which circulated during the Civil War because of a scarcity of small change. Two major types were issued: patriotic tokens, with patriotic themes; and store cards, advertising pieces often carrying the issuer's name, address and type of business or services.

clad
Composite coinage metal strip composed of a core, usually of a base metal such as copper, and surface layers of more valuable metal, silver (or sometimes copper-nickel). Cladding is a cost-saving measure, making coins cheaper to produce while maintaining a desired appearance.

clip
Sometimes used to denote an incomplete planchet coin; in earlier days, clipping was a process of shaving edges of coins to remove small amounts of metal for illegal gain.

coin
Usually a piece of metal, marked with a device, issued by a governing authority and intended to be used as money.

Coin note
See Treasury note.

collar
A retaining ring die within which the coin dies operate; the collar forms the edge design of the piece such as reeding or lettering.

Colonial
Refers to coins or paper money issued by the Colonial governments of the 13 British Colonies that became the United States.

commemorative
A piece issued to mark, honor or observe an anniversary, other event, place or person, or to preserve its memory.

compound-interest Treasury note
A type of U.S. paper money authorized in 1863 and 1864; they brought 6 percent interest, and were to be redeemed three years after issue.

condition census
Term introduced by Dr. William H. Sheldon to denote the finest specimen and average condition of next five finest known of a given variety of large cents. Catalogers are gradually extending the use of the term to other series.

conjoined
See: accolated.

contact marks, bag marks
Minor abrasions on an otherwise Uncirculated coin, caused by handling in Mint-sewn bags and contact with other surfaces. Sometimes called bag marks.

Continental currency
Paper money issued by the authority of the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War.

Continental dollar
A dollar-sized pattern struck in 1776 as a proposed coinage.

COPE, COPE PAK
Acronyms used at Bureau of Engraving and Printing for Currency Overprinting and Processing Equipment and Currency Overprinting and Processing Equipment, Packaging. Machines used to apply overprinting of seals, serial numbers and Federal Reserve index numbers to 16-note half sheets of paper money; then the COPE cuts the half sheets into single notes, bundles them into 100-note packages with a paper band, and into larger plastic-wrapped packages.

copper-nickel
Coinage alloy composed of copper and nickel in varying amounts.

copy
A reproduction or imitation of an original.

Coronet
Style of Liberty Head used on U.S. copper and gold coins for much of the 19th century. Liberty wears a coronet.

counterfeit
An object made to imitate a genuine numismatic piece with intent to deceive or defraud, irrespective of whether the intended fraud is primarily monetary or numismatic.

crown
A general term embracing most silver coins from about 20 to 30 grams in weight and from about 33 to 42 millimeters in size. The term has become applicable also to most nickel alloy coins of the same range of size and weight. Coins of 43 or more millimeters in diameter are said to be multiple crowns.

cud
A form of die break that leaves a shapeless lump of metal on part of a coin.

cupro-nickel
Copper-nickel; term often employed by the government.

currency
Applies to both coins and paper money. Many use the word currency for paper money only. Currency is legal tender.

current
Coins and paper money in circulation.

Date Back
A Date Back note is a Second Charter, Second Issue national bank note. Refers to the dates 1902-1908 found on the back.

debase
To become less valuable.

Demand note
Demand notes, authorized in 1861, were the first paper money issued by the United States federal government for circulation. Nicknamed the 'greenback' because of the green ink used on the reverse (back) of the note.

denarius
(Plural: denarii) Roman silver coin, later debased, roughly equal to a Greek drachm. Initiated in 268 B.C, it equaled 16 asses; 25 denarii equals 1 gold aureus.

denomination
The face value of a coin or paper note; the amount of money it is worth.

denticles
Ornamental device used on rims of coins, often resembling teeth, hence the name; also 'beading.'

device
The principal element, such as a portrait, shield or heraldic emblem, of the design on the obverse and reverse of a coin, token or medal.

Devil's Face note
On some of Bank of Canada notes, First Issue of 1954, Queen Elizabeth II's hair has a coincidental combination of shading and light that looks like a 'devil's' face. Shading was quickly changed under public pressure to remove the 'face.'

die
A hardened metal punch, the face of which carries an intaglio or incuse mirror-image to be impressed on one side of a planchet.

die scratch
Raised line on the surface of a coin, caused by a scratch in the coinage die.

disme
Spelling of the word 'dime' on U.S. 1792 pattern pieces and name given the 10-cent coin authorized in the Mint Act of April 2, 1792. Probably pronounced like 'steam' or 'time.' The 's' is silent.

double eagle
A gold $20 coin of the United States.

doubled die
A die which has a multiple image created during the die-making process. Coins struck from a doubled die show a doubled image. There are many different causes of doubled dies, and many doubled die coins. Sometimes mistakenly called double die.

doubloon
Popular slang name given to Spanish gold 8escudo pieces of the Conquistador era, often associated with pirate treasure; also, a medal in special circumstances Mardi Gras doubloon.

drachm
(Pronounced dram) An ancient Greek silver coin, plural drachms. Drachma (pronounced DRAHK - muh') is the modern Greek denomination, plural drachmas.

ducat
(Pronounced DUCK - et) Medieval gold coin; also any of a number of modern issues of the Dutch Mint. Modern slang has spread its use to mean 'ticket.'

eagle
A gold $10 coin of the United States.

edge
Often termed the third side of a coin, it is the surface perpendicular to the obverse and reverse. Not to be confused with rim. Edges can be plain, lettered or milled (reeded or with some other repetitious device). Edges became particularly important with the advent of machine-struck coinage.

Educational notes
The Series 1896 $1, $2 and $5 silver certificates are called Educational notes because of the allegorical and educational themes of the vignettes. Replaced in 1899 with a new series.

electrotype
A copy or reproduction of a coin, token or medal made by the electroplating process.

electrum
Naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver used for early coins of the Mediterranean region.

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

encapsulated coin
One which has been sealed in a plastic holder, especially by a third-party grading service.

encased postage stamp
A postage stamp unofficially encased in a metal, plastic or cardboard frame and intended to be used as small change.

error
A coin, token, medal or paper money item evidencing a mistake made in its manufacture.

essai; essay
In paper money, a print made to test a design; analogous to a trial strike in coinage.

exergue
(Pronounced EX - surge) Area on a coin generally below the main design area, often site of date.

exonumia
A broad category of non-money, non-legal tender numismatic items, including tokens, medals and badges. An exonumist is a specialist in exonumia. See also legal tender.

experimental pieces
Struck from any convenient dies to test a new metal, new alloy or new denomination; those testing a new shape; those testing a standard metal for a new denomination; and those representing changes in planchets for the purposes of combating counterfeiting.

eye appeal
The quality of a coin's attractiveness, distinct from any quantifiable measure of condition.