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(Coin Terminology)

I recommend that you read this page fully as it will give you a better understanding of common terms
used on this and other similar related web sites also in the numismatic community

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Also see the following pages

Acronyms - Glossary - Banknote Collecting - Coins & Cleaning - Banknote Terminology - World Banknote Signatures

WorldWideCoins will state clearly herein that our grade for every 
item is our best guess, and there will often be a difference of opinion.  
In fact, professional grading services such as ANACS, NGC, and PCGS often differ on grading, 
and it is hard to imagine that everyone will agree on the exact grade of every item

Grading Terms Used On This Web Site

Grading is to the British - European Standards
For English and World Coins

VG - Very Good   AF - About Fine    AVF - About Very Fine  AU - About Uncirculated

VF - Very Fine   F - Fine   UNC - Uncirculated   BU - Brilliant Uncirculated  Full Lustre Might have minor Bag Marks

CHUNC or CUNC - Choice Uncirculated Minor or No bag Marks

about UNC about Uncirculated

GEM BU - BU with no Bag marks Full Lustre     FDC - Fleur de Coin

Sometimes UNC / BU modern world coins may have bag / contact marks due to the minting process

Proof (see below)

Grading banknotes click here   Grading coins  click here

o/p - Overprint     N/D or ND   No Date on banknote or coin  Sign - Signature

u/p - Underprint   New  or N/L - New Issue not yet listed in catalogue

s/h - Staplehole   ek or EK  Edge Knock   p/h - Pinhole  COA - Certificate of Authenticity

CZ  -  Crown size  (35 to  45mm dia)  Crown Size - A coin diameter ranging from 35mm to 45mm

WMK - Watermark  Face - Front or Face of a Banknote   Litho - Lithography Printing

JIM - Japanese Invasion Money World War II Banknotes issued by the Japanese Forces.

BAF or BAFSV - British Armed Forces Special Voucher (British military notes used by UK forces) 

MPC - Military Payment Certificates USA military notes used by U.S forces.

AMC - Allied Military Currency.Paper money issued by the Allied Forces during World War II.

BK - Block Number on banknotes designating printing sequence or run of an issue of notes.

Hell Money - Name given to varieties of specially printed banknotes burned at Oriental funeral rites.

PL or P/L - Plate letters such as A.B.C.D etc.. indicating sheet position of note being printed.

PN or P/N - Plate number.Figures often appearing in very small type on notes to indicate the 
number of the printing plate.Do Not confuse with block numbers.

P/New or PNew or New - Pick not Listed  New issue banknote not yet listed in Catalogue.

Foxing - Light to dark brown/rust colour stains or spots on paper due to damp/aging.

Wood - Woody - Streaky - Wood grain - lines or streaks in planchet / flan due to improper mix of metal
in copper coins light/dark - in copper nickel light to dark brown lines etc
(Do not confuse wood grain toning with the above)

SN or s/n or s/#  - Serial Number.

Suffix - Letter(s) or Number(s) after the serial number

Prefix - Letter(s) or Number(s) before the serial number.

Bank Graffiti - Writing/numbers on banknotes wrote by bank cashiers/tellers normally in the watermark area.

RADAR - A serial number on a banknote that is the same if
read right to left or left to right. eg: 2437342 or 9892989

AGW - Actual Gold Weight  eg  say a 10 ounce  gold coin made of .500 gold, the
agw content is 5 ounce pure gold. If .900 gold it would be 9 ounce pure gold

9 carat gold is .375 pure means 375 parts per 1000 is gold  so out of 1000 grams
only 375 grams is pure gold

22 carat gold is .916 pure means 916 parts per 1000 is gold

ASW - Actual Silver Weight  see above

Sterling Silver .925 pure means 925 parts per 1000 pure or 92.5% pure
A Bar of silver weighting 100 grams will be only 92.5 grams pure silver in that bar

Gold & Silver are weighted in Grams or Troy ounces  1 Troy oz = 31.103 grams

If you require any help or do not understand any abbreviations used on this web
site or how you may obtain any books as listed on the right please contact us

Banknote Terminology Click Here

We do not use the word RARE on this web due to the fact it is used so often these days when describing items forsale.
You the collector will know if a item is scarce or rare by how many times you see a said item forsale.

Please note that the paper money that you receive may have a different serial number than the one pictured on this site


Some Numismatic Terms

adjustment marks
Marks caused by filing a planchet before striking to reduce its weight to the standard, as was sometimes done for early U.S. & English coinage (often found on Queen Anne English Crowns)
A book-like holder with slots for storing coins
Intentionally modified after the minting process
A coin produced prior to about 500 A.D.
artificial toning
colouration added to a coin by treatment with chemicals or other "doctoring"
n. A characteristic of a coin;
v. To identify a coin by determining the country of origin, denomination, series, date, mintmark and (if applicable) variety
An original, non-counterfeit coin; determination by an expert on whether or not a coin is authentic
bag marks
Small scratches and nicks resulting from movement of coins in the same bag (also known as contact marks or keg marks)
bank note
Paper money issued by a bank
A non-numismatic form of precious metal bullion
bas relief
Design elements are raised within depressions in the field
An alloy of silver and another metal, usually copper, which is less than 50% silver
A coin or coin-like object combining parts composed of two different metal alloys, such as the Canadian two dollar coin.
Pieces of eight were physically cut into eighths; each piece is one bit
A piece of metal being prepared for coinage before the rims have been raised by passing through the upsetting mill
A location where dealers buy and sell coins with each other and the public, such as at a coin show
A coin struck without a firmly seated collar, resulting in "spreading" outwards, but still showing all design details
A mirror image of the design from one side of a coin impressed on the opposite side - occasionally, a newly struck coin "sticks" to a die, causing the next coin struck to have a First Strike Mirror Brockage of the coin stuck to the die; by the second strike the mirror is distorted, and later strikes are termed Struck Through A Capped Die
bullion value or bullion price
A coin or other object composed primarily of a precious metal, with little or no value beyond that of the metal
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
An agency of the U.S. Treasury Department responsible for production of currency
business strike (currency strike)
A coin struck for circulation
Post confederation Canadian numismatics
A coin, usually struck as a Proof, with a frosted or satiny central device surrounded by a mirrorlike field
The pattern of light reflected by flow lines of mint state coins, resembling spokes of a wheel;
Name given to the British pennies and twopences of 1797 due to their unusually broad rims
certified coin
A coin authenticated and graded by a professional service
To find and purchase a coin worth a premium over the seller's asking price (generally a rare die variety priced appropriately for a more common variety)
chop mark
A symbol added to money by someone other than the government which issued it to indicate authenticity
Denotes money that is no longer in mint state, generally as a result of normal handling and exchange
Composed of more than one layer, such as the copper-nickel over copper composition of U.S. dimes, quarters, and halves minted presently
clash mark(s)
Outlines and/or traces of designs from the opposite side of a coin resulting from die clash
any process that removes foreign substances, corrosion or toning, e.g. application of solvents, dipping, and rubbing with abrasive materials or substances
used by the general public or by Janitorial Cleaning Services New York Inc and other cleaning service companies in major U.S. cities like NY, Chicago, etc.
cleaned coin
while any coin subjected to a cleaning process could technically be considered cleaned, this term most commonly refers to those which have been abrasively cleaned (a coin which has been abrasively cleaned generally has a lower numismatic value than an otherwise comparable uncleaned specimen)
A coin, planchet or blank missing a portion of metal from its periphery, caused by an error during blank production; types of clips include curved (most common), ragged, straight, eliptical, bowtie, disk and assay
Deliberate shearing or shaving from the edge of gold and silver coins; patterns and mottos are included on edges to discourage the practice
A piece of metal with a distinctive stamp and of a fixed value and weight issued by a government and used as money (source: Webster's New World Dictionary)
coin show
An event where numismatic items are bought, sold, traded and often exhibited
A device present in a coining press to restrict the outward flow of metal during striking and to put the design, if any, on the edge of the coin
The numismatic holdings of an individual in total or of a particular type
A coin issued by any colony; frequently refers to those produced by European colonies in the Americas in the 17th and 18th centuries.
A coin with a design commemorating a person, place or event
condition census
A list of the finest known specimens of a particular variety of coin
contact marks
Small surface scratches or nicks resulting from movement of coins in the same bag or bin
counterfeit (forgery faux copy)
An imitation of a coin or note made to circulate as if actually money;
An altered or non-genuine coin made to deceive collectors, usually a more valuable date or variety
A raised lump of metal on a coin caused by a piece of a die having broken off
A coin that is extremely worn and/or damaged
cupro-nickel (or copper-nickel)
Composed of an alloy of copper and nickel, as for example U.S. 5 cent coins (other than half dimes) and Canadian 5 cent coins produced since 1982.
currency (banknote)
Paper money
Physical change to a numismatic item, such as a scratch, nick, ding, cleaning, hole or pitting
The year(s) shown on a coin, usually the same as the year it was minted
A person or company that regularly buys and sells numismatic collectibles making a full living from that activity
deep mirror prooflike (DMPL)
Having highly reflective mirrorlike fields, similar to a coin struck as a Proof
Metal missing or retained but peeling from the surface due to incomplete bonding or impurities in the planchet - Flan
An ancient Roman silver coin weighing about 3 grams, roughly the same size as a U.S. dime but thicker
The face value of a coin
Tooth like raise features just inside the rim of some coins (also known as dentils)
The devices, lettering, etc. appearing on a coin and their arrangement with respect to each other
The creator of a coin design
A major design element, such as the bust of a person
A usually cylindrical piece of steel bearing at one end the incuse design of one side of a coin (except for coins with incuse detail, where the die details are in relief)
die chip
A small fragment broken off from a die; metal flowing into the resulting hole during striking results in a small raised lump on the surface of the coin
die clash
Upper and lower dies coming together in a coin press without a planchet between them; design details may be partially impressed in the opposite dies and subsequently as mirror images on coins struck from the clashed dies.
die crack
A narrow fissure in the surface of a die; coins struck with such a die have a narrow raised line corresponding to the crack
die erosion
Wear on a die from use in the minting process
die flow lines
see flow lines
eye appeal
Overall attractiveness (beauty is in the eye of the beholder)
face value
The ordinary monetary worth of a coin or note at the time of issue
The flat background on a coin, medal or token
Canadian 5 cents silver;
U.S. 3 cent silver coin
British term for a planchet
A soft plastic holder normally used for a single coin
flow lines
Microscopic lines in the surface of a coin resulting from the outward flow of metal during striking
fiat money
Money that is not backed by specie and is legal tender by decree
fractional currency
Paper money with a face value of less than one dollar
fugio cent
The first coin issued by authority of the United States, produced by contractors in 1787
An epoxy coated plaster relief model of a coin, token or medal created by electrodeposition (much larger than the dies later created from it)
the Coin Dealer Newsletter, a price guide for U.S. coins intended for dealer-to-dealer sight seen transactions
When dies come together without flan in between,you may get a partial omage of one die on the other.When coins struck from this
die the resulting coins will have a weak image of the other die on one side under the correct image.
Light scratches in the surface of a coin
half cent
A U.S. coin with a face value of 1/200th of a dollar first minted in 1793 and last minted in 1857
half dime
A U.S. coin with a face value of 5 cents issued with dates between 1794 and 1873; originally called a half disme
half eagle
A U.S. gold coin with a face value of $5 first minted in 1795 and last minted in 1929
hobo nickel
A coin (usually a U.S. Buffalo nickel) physically altered to produce a substantially different image
Having a hole drilled through it, usually as a result of being used for jewelery
Any device designed for storage and sometimes display of numismatic items
also see slab
A steel bar used to make dies having the same raised design on one end as one side of the coins ultimately produced
impaired proof
A proof coin with wear or damage resulting from circulation or other handling
The opposite of relief -- design elements are impressed into the surface
key date
The rarest (or one of the most rare) and therefore most expensive members of a coin series, e.g. the 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent or 1916-D Mercury dime
A numismatic publishing company (Krause Publications); this company's Standard Catalogue of World Coins
lamination flaw
See delamination
large cent
A U.S. coin with a value of 1 cent, minted from 1793 to 1857, composed primarily of copper and larger in diameter than the current U.S. quarter;
A similar Canadian coin issued between 1858-1920
legal tender
Money that may be legally offered in payment of an obligation and that a creditor must accept (source: Webster's New World Dictionary)
Lettering on a coin other than the denomination or nation which issued it
Popular name for the Canadian loon dollar coin first issued in 1987
A type of magnifying glass used by numismatists and jewelers
The brilliance of a coin, resulting from reflection of light off die flow lines
machine doubling
Doubling of details resulting from loose dies during striking (generally considered to have no numismatic value)
mail bid
An auction format in which bids are submitted by mail; the highest offer for each lot received by the closing date wins the lot (several other rules usually apply)
matte proof
A proof coin with a granular (rather than mirror like) surface produced by dies treated to obtain a minutely etched surface
medal or medallion
A coin-like object struck to honour one or more persons or events depicted or mentioned in its design; an object awarded to persons in recognition of service or other accomplishment
melt/melt value
The worth of precious metal in a coin, determined by multiplying the amount of the metal it contains by the spot price of the metal
A facility for manufacturing coins
The quantity of a denomination of coins produced at a mint during a period of time (usually one year)
mint bloom
The original surface of a newly minted coin
A letter or symbol designating the mint which produced the item bearing it
mint set
A specially packaged group of uncirculated coins from one or more mints of the same nation containing at least one coin for most or all of the denominations issued during a particular year
mint state
In the same condition as when delivered from the mint (natural toning excepted); uncirculated
misplaced date
One or more digits of a date punched away from the intended location, such as in the denticles or in the central design
A phrase imprinted on a coin, for most U.S. coins "E PLURIBUS UNUM"
A coin struck from two dies not intended to be used together
multiple strike
A coin struck more than once as a result of not being properly ejected from the coining press
natural toning
Coloration resulting from chemical change on the surface during normal environmental exposure over a prolonged period
net price
A term signifying that the seller is unwilling to sell for less than the price marked
The collection and study of coins, tokens, medals, paper money and other objects exchanged for goods and services or manufactured by similar methods.
A person who collects and/or studies numismatic items
A small silver coin of ancient Greece, originally a day's wages for a rower on a galley or a citizen on jury duty.
The front or "heads" side of a coin, often bearing a portrait and date
off centre 
Incorrectly centred during striking, resulting in part of the design missing (off the edge)
original/original toning
Having natural surfaces resulting from long exposure to ordinary environmental conditions; uncleaned
A coin struck from a die with at least one digit of the date repunched over a different digit, e.g. 1809/6 or 1942/1.
Designated with a higher grade than merited
over mintmark
One mintmark on top of a different mintmark, such as a 'D' over an 'S' (denoted D/S)
paper money
Paper notes with standardized characteristics issued as money
British term for exonumia
A thin layer of naturally oxidized metal on the surface of a coin acquired with age
A coin struck as a test piece for a new design, sometimes without a date
pick up point
An area where a feature, such as die doubling, is most evident
piece of eight
A former Spanish coin with a face value of eight reales; the U.S. dollar was originally valued at and tied to eight reales
Having a rough surface due to loss of metal by corrosion
A piece of metal prepared for coinage with raised rims but as yet unstruck
Denotes that a holed coin has been filled
Having a granular surface as the result of oxidation, most frequently found with older copper coins
prestige set
A set of coins produced by the U.S. Mint containing one or more proof commemorative coins released in the same year, as well as a proof cent, nickel, dime, quarter and half
problem coin
Any coin that has been cleaned or damaged or has other undesirable characteristics
A coin specially manufactured to have extra sharp detail, mirrorlike fields and sometimes frosted or "cameo" devices, produced for sale to collectors at a premium or for exhibition or presentation. Different Proof Finishes
Not all proofs are the same. The most common understanding of proof is that the flat background parts of the coin have a highly polished mirror finish, and the raised parts of the design have a matt finish, giving a higher level of contrast between the two. This is achieved by sand-blasting the die, the hardened steel punch with which the blank coins are struck, to give a matt finish, followed by giving the raised parts of the die a highly polished surface, usually by polishing them with diamond powder. The coin blanks themselves are usually produced to a higher quality of finish before striking. Proof coins are usually double struck at lower striking speeds, to give a higher and sharper definition. They are usually produced on a special machine, and may be hand, rather than mechanically fed into and extracted from the coining press. They are usually individually inspected, and packaged. A proof coin should provide an excellent specimen, and its quality should approach perfection.
Some proof coins are made with an all matt finish, as for example the 1902 Edward VII Coronation proof coins, while others are produced as "reverse proofs", i.e. with the raised parts polished and the background matt.
Having mirrorlike fields, similar to a coin struck as a Proof
proof like
A coin specially manufactured by the Royal Canadian Mint with mirror fields
proof set
A specially packaged group of coins containing at least one of most or all of the denominations of proof coins struck by a nation in a particular year
quarter eagle
A U.S. gold coin with a face value of $2.50 first minted in 1796 and last minted in 1929
An infrequently encountered or available item; the number of surviving specimens of a particular issue, as may be indicated by a rarity scale index
rarity scale
A convention for designating the rarity of a coin, such as Sheldon's system (with values such as R1 for common pieces and R6 for extremely rare specimens) and the Universal Rarity Scale invented by Alan Herbert (with designations such as URS3)
A former basic monetary unit of Spain and Spanish colonies in the Americas
Red Book
The Handbook of U.S. Coins, a retail price guide for U.S. coins published annually, originally written by R.S. Yeoman
reeded edge
An edge with raised parallel lines, a.k.a. milled or grained
Features rising above the field
repunched date
A date with one or more of the digits punched more than once in different locations and/or orientations
repunched mintmark (RPM)
A mintmark punched more than once in different locations and/or orientation
A coin struck with authentic dies later than the date it bears
The back or "tails" side of a coin
The outer edge of a coin, often raised to avoid premature wear
A disc shaped piece of precious metal bullion
A note issued by and redeemable at a merchant or group of merchants
Coins of the same major design and denomination, including every combination of date and mintmark minted, e.g. Morgan dollars
Sheldon scale
A numerical grading system ranging from 1 to 70 created by Dr. William H. Sheldon to denote proportional values of large cents minted from 1793 to 1814 and subsequently adaped as a general grading scale
Canadian fractional banknotes
sight seen
Available for examination to a potential buyer before a purchase decision is made
sight unseen
Not available for examination to a potential buyer before a purchase decision is made, as is usually the case with mail order transactions
silver certificate
A note (paper money) once redeemable for its face value in silver
silver clad
A clad coin with one layer containing silver, such as U.S. halves struck from 1965 to 1970
silver eagle
A coin produced by the U.S. mint beginning in 1986 containing one ounce of silver and having a nominal face value of $1 (not released for circulation)
A coin certified by a professional grading service as authentic and encapsulated in a sealed hard plastic holder also containing a label bearing the service's opinion of its grade and other information
A coin with very slight traces of wear, such that it almost passes for an uncirculated specimen
Precious metal used to back money, usually gold and silver
split grade
Different grades for the obverse and reverse sides
Short for spot price;
A small area of corrosion or foreign substance
spot price
The market price for immediate delivery of a commodity, such as a precious metal
The difference between buy and sell prices on the same item(s) of a dealer, broker, etc.
The extent of separation between impressions on a doubled die.
A U.S. gold coin pattern with a face value of $4 minted in 1879 and 1880
Incuse marks caused by rolling bars during planchet production
The process of impressing the design from a die into a planchet to make a coin, token or medal;
The completeness of detail (as in weak strike, full strike, etc.) created during this process
strike doubling
See machine doubling
An ancient Greek silver coin weighing about 13 to 17 grams, roughly the same size as a U.S. quarter but three times thicker
The rubbing of skin oil onto a coin in an attempt to hide contact marks/stains
A coin-like object redeemable for a particular product or service, such as transportation on a bus or subway; an unofficial coin issued by a business or town to be used as small change, e.g., in 17th-19th century Britain, and in France in the 20th century
Colour acquired from chemical change on the surface
trade dollar
A U.S. coin with a face value of $1 minted from 1873 through 1885 specifically for commerce in the Orient;
A U.K. coin with a face value of $1 minted from 1895 through 1935 specifically for commerce in the Orient
A U.S. coin with a face value of 3 cents minted in predominantly silver alloys from 1851-1873
A plastic container designed for storing a roll or other quantity of coins of the same size
type coin
Any coin of a particular design and denomination, usually one of the more common dates
type set
A collection of coins of various designs; rather than try to complete the series, the goal of the type collector is to obtain at least one example of several different types
Never circulated; without any wear (coins, Medals, tokens not paper money)
Any variety of U.S. silver dollar described in the book Morgan and Peace Dollars by Van Allen and Mallis.
Any coin struck from a die pair that differs from others with the same date and mintmark, such as one exhibiting die doubling, different style letters or numerals, or a repunched mintmark
want list
A tabulation of collectibles sought by a collector, often including limits on condition and/or price
water mark
A design put into paper at the manufacturing stage by pressing it while wet between rollers bearing the design
Metal lost during handling and contact with other objects
Alteration by mechanical polishing to produce a shiny surface
world coins
Coins issued by various nations, as in a collection comprised of coins thereof.

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