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].
Mintmark used to signify coins struck at the New Orleans, Louisiana branch Mint.
Term used for the coinage of the branch Mint in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The front, or heads side, of a coin. Usually the date side.
Short for octagonal (Pan-Pac octagonal commemorative fifty-dollar coin).
A coin struck on a blank that was not properly centered over the anvil, or lower, die. Coins that are 5 percent, or less, off center are graded by PCGS as a regular coin. Those struck off center more than 5 percent are graded as error coins. There will be an “E” before the coin number to designate an error specimen and the amount struck off center will be listed, rounded to the nearest 5 percent.
Its name notwithstanding, a closed collar that surrounded the anvil (or lower) die used in striking early U.S. coins on planchets whose edges already had been lettered or reeded. An open collar was a restraining, or positioning, collar that made it easier to position a planchet atop the lower die, and also sometimes kept the planchet from expanding too far.
The dimple-textured fields seen on many Proof gold coins; their surfaces resemble those of an orange, hence the descriptive term. Some Mint State gold dollars and three-dollar gold coins exhibit this effect to some degree.
A term used to describe a coin that never has been dipped or cleaned, or a coin struck from original dies in the year whose date it bears.
Coins in fixed quantities wrapped in paper and stored at the time of their issuance. The quantities vary by denomination, but typically include 50 one-cent pieces, 40 nickels, 50 dimes, 40 quarters, 20 half dollars and 20 silver dollars. U.S. coins were first shipped to banks in kegs, later in cloth bags, and still later in rolls. Silver and gold coins stored in such rolls often have peripheral toning and untoned centers. Obviously, coins stored in rolls suffered fewer marks than those in kegs or bags.
Rolls of coins that have been together since the day they were removed from their storage bags. Also, rolls of Mint State coins that have never been searched or "picked over."
Term for the color acquired naturally by a coin that never has never been cleaned or dipped. Original toning ranges from the palest yellow to extremely dark blues, grays, browns, and finally black.
A coin struck with a die on which one mintmark is engraved over a different mintmark. In rare instances, branch mints returned dies that already had mintmarks punched into them; on occasion, these were then sent to different branch mints and the new mint punched its mintmark over the old one. Examples include the 1938-D/S Buffalo nickel and the 1900-O/CC Morgan dollar.
A coin that has become dull from too many baths in a dipping solution.
A coin struck from a die with a date that has one year punched over a different year. Save a few exceptions, the die overdated is an unused die from a previous year. Sometimes an effort was made to polish away evidence of the previous date. PCGS requires the overdate to be visible to be recognized.