Coin

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].

Lingo for "G"

 
G-4
This is for "Good" (the grade) and "4" (the numerical designation of the grade). The major details of the coin will be worn flat. Minor wear into the rims is allowable, but the peripheral lettering will be nearly full.
G-6
This is for "Good" (the grade) and "6" (the numerical designation of the grade). A higher grade (i.e., less worn) than a G-4 coin. The rims will be complete and the peripheral lettering will be full.
galvano
The large metal relief used in the portrait lathe from which a positive reduction in steel, called a hub, is made.
Garrett
Short for the Garrett family. The two main collectors, Thomas H. Garrett and John W. Garrett, formed this extensive collection from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. Later, it was given to Johns Hopkins University and was sold in five auction sales. This provenance on a numismatic item is as coveted as an Eliasberg pedigree.
Gem
Adjectival description applied to Mint State and Proof-65 coins. It also is used for higher grades and as a generic term for a superb coin.
Gem BU
Short for Gem Brilliant Uncirculated.
Gem Unc
Short for Gem Uncirculated.
Gem Uncirculated
The adjectival equivalent of Mint State 65 or 66.
Gobrecht
Short for “Gobrecht dollar.”
Gobrecht dollar
The silver dollars dated 1836, 1838, and 1839 struck in those years and restruck later (some 1836-dated coins were struck in 1837). These are named for their designer, Christian Gobrecht, Chief Engraver from 1840 to 1844 but defacto engraver when William Kneass suffered his stroke in 1835.
gold
Obviously, the precious metal. Also, slang for any United States gold issues.
gold commem
Short for gold commemorative.
gold commemorative
Any of the eleven commemorate coins struck in gold from 1903 until 1925. Also, any of the modern United States commemorative gold issues, sometimes called modern gold commems.
gold dollar
The small coins of one dollar denomination struck from 1849 until 1889.
Good
The adjective corresponding to the grades G-4 and G-6. Coins in these grades usually have little detail but outlined major devices. On some coins, the rims may be worn to the tops of some letters.
GPA
This refers to the Grade Point Average of a PCGS Set Registry set. If a set is unweighted the GPA is figured by adding up the grades of each coin and dividing the sum by the number of coins in the set. If a set is weighted (and someday all of the sets will be weighted) then the rarity of the coins is also factored into the equation.
grade
The numerical or adjectival condition of a coin.
grader
An individual who evaluates the condition of coins.
grading
The process of numerically quantifying the condition of a coin. Before the adoption of the Sheldon numerical system, coins were given descriptive grades such as Good, Very Good, Fine, and so forth.
Greysheet
Slang for Coin Dealer Newsletter.