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].
A term for a coin that never has been in circulation.
The branch Mint established in 1838 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It struck coins for the United States until its seizure in 1861 by the Confederacy. (Some 1861-O half dollars were struck after the seizure.) It reopened in 1879 and struck coins until 1909 (actually closed in 1910). Now this facility is a museum.
New Orleans Mint
The New Orleans opened its doors in 1838 and minted gold and silver coins until 1861, when the Confederates took over operations for a short time. Minting resumed in 1879 minting and continued until 1909. The New Orleans facility served as an assay office from 1909-1942 when it was permanently closed. This mint uses the “O” mintmark.
Short for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.
Popular term for a five-cent piece struck in cupro-nickel alloy (actually 75% copper, 25% nickel).
No “CENTS” nickel
Those Liberty Head or “V” nickels struck in 1883 without a denomination. This was very confusing to the public and led to the “racketeer” nickel scandal in which gold-plated No "CENTS" nickels were passed off as $5 gold pieces.
Term applied to coins without arrows by their dates during years when other coins had arrows by the date. (Example: the 1853 No Arrows half dime and 1853 Arrows half dime.)
Coins struck without the motto, “IN GOD WE TRUST.” This motto was mandated by an act of Congress and appeared on nearly every United States coin since the 1860s. (Teddy Roosevelt felt this was sacrilegious and had it removed from the newly redesigned 1907 eagles and double eagles. Citizen protests soon were overwhelming and it was restored in 1908.) This also refers to coins struck before the motto was added in the 1860s.
Term applying to the Christian Gobrecht designed Liberty Seated coins without stars.
Term applied to a coin returned from a third-party grading service that was not encapsulated because of varying reasons. (This could be for cleaning, damage, questionable authenticity, etc.)
Specifically, the Sheldon 1-70 scale employed by PCGS and others.
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
Third-party grading service based in Sarasota, Florida
Weekly numismatic periodical established in 1952.
The science of money; coins, paper money, tokens, inscribed bars, and all related items are included.
One who studies or collects money or substitutes thereof.