Like all collectibles, the rare coin market has its own terms and slang. The following is a brief definition and explanation
of the most frequently used coin collecting terms.
NOTE:This is a work in progress and we would love to hear your comments and suggestions. Send your thoughts
to [email protected].
Short for Early American Coppers
A gold coin with a face value of ten dollars. Along with the dollar, this was the basis of the U.S. currency system from 1792 until 1971. No U.S. gold coins were struck for circulation after 1933, and all gold coins issued prior to that time were recalled from circulation.
An area of certain coins that is important to the strike. (i.e. The hole in the ear of the Standing Liberty quarter is a necessary component of a Full Head designation.)
Early American Coppers (Club)
A club or society to advance the study of pre-1857 United States copper coinage including Colonials. Many members specialize collecting large cents by Sheldon numbers.
One of the first coins struck from a pair of dies. Such coins are generally fully struck, with no die flaws, and they are usually Prooflike and/or exhibit cameo contrast.
Short for environmental damage.
The third side of a coin. It may be plain, reeded, or ornamented – with lettering or other elements raised or incuse.
A group of letters or emblems on the edge of a coin. Examples would be the stars and lettering on the edge of Indian Head eagles and Saint-Gaudens double eagles.
This is for "Extremely Fine' (the grade) and "40" (the numerical designation of the grade). Also called XF-40. About 90% of the original detail is still evident and the devices are sharp and clear.
This is for "Extremely Fine" (the grade) and "45" (the numerical designation of the grade). Also called XF-45. About 95% of the original detail is still evident and the devices are sharp and clear.
A duplicate coin created by the electrolytic method, in which metal is deposited into a mold made from the original. The obverse and reverse metal shells are then filled with metal and fused together – after which the edges sometimes are filed to obscure the seam.
For numismatic condition purposes, the various components of grading. In other numismatic contexts, this term refers to the various devices and emblems seen on coins.
Short for Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. who was the only collector to assemble a complete collection of United States coins. Thus, the Eliasberg pedigree on a particular coin is held in the highest numismatic esteem.
The order in which die states are struck. Also, the die use sequence for a particular issue.
The person responsible for the design and/or punches used for a particular numismatic item.
A term applied to toning that results from storage mainly in 2 x 2 manila envelopes; most paper envelopes contain reactive chemicals.
Corrosion-effect seen on a coin that has been exposed to the elements. This may be minor, such as toning that is nearly black, to major - a coin found in the ground or water which has severely pitted surfaces. PCGS does not grade coins with environmental damage.
Synonym for “worn die.”
A numismatic item that unintentionally varies from the norm. Ordinarily, overdates are not errors since they were done intentionally while other die-cutting “mistakes” are considered errors. Double dies, planchet clips, off-metal strikings, etc. also are errors.
Term for trial, pattern, and experimental strikings. The anglicized version is essay and literally means a test or trial.
A feature at the lower part of a coin, usually set off by a horizontal bar that displays the date or denomination.
A specialist in a particular numismatic area. (i.e. A copper expert, a gold expert, a paper money expert, a D-Mint expert, etc.)
Alternate form of Extremely Fine.
The grades EF40 and 45. This grade has nearly full detail with only the high points worn, the fields rubbed often with luster still clinging in protected areas.
Extremely High Relief
The 1907 double eagle issue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens that had such medallic depth that multiple blows from a powerful press were required to fully bring up the detail. Because of this difficulty, the Mint engraver lowered the design resulting in the High Relief, which again was lowered to create the familiar Standing Liberty double eagle, or Saint, as to which they are commonly referred.
The element of a coin's grade that "grabs" the viewer. The overall look of a coin.