The rare coin market, like any specialized field, has its own terms and slang. This glossary is a comprehensive list of terms and slang that you may encounter in your collecting pursuits. This list was compiled using several reference works and the experience of our numismatists. Click on one of the letters below to go to a specific letter.
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BULLION coins issued by the government of the People's Republic of China beginning in 1983.
Short for the Panama-Pacific Exposition Gold & Silver Commemorative coins which were all produced at the San Francisco Mint in 1915. See also: SLUG.
A name best known to numismatists from the reverse he designed that appears on a rare variety of the 1861 and 1861-S Double Eagles. Anthony C. Paquet, Assistant Engraver at the Mint (about 1858-1860) used a slimmer and taller letter style than his contemporaries.
A term usually used to describe lighter shades of TONING.
A test striking of a coin produced to demonstrate a proposed design, size, or composition (whether adopted or not). Patterns often are made in metals other than the one proposed; examples of this include aluminum and copper patterns of the silver Trade dollar. Off-metal strikes such as this also are referred to as die trials of a pattern. See also, JUDD.
PCGS / Professional Coin Grading Service
One of the major third-party authentication and grading services. Based in Southern California. For more information, contact them at (800) 447-8848 or via their web-site at: www.pcgs.com. See also: SLAB, Sight-Unseen, Technical Grading.
Common name given to US silver dollars minted 1921-1935.
Although "provenance" is the more correct terminology, pedigree is used to describe previous ownership of a certain coin. The certification services will often recognize important numismatic collections by placing a pedigree on the certification holder to identify it as such. Coins bearing certain pedigrees often carry significant premiums in value. Some of the most popular and significant provenance are Bass, Childs, Eliasberg, Farouk, Garrett, Hawn, Norweb, Parmelee, Pittman, Shepherd and Starr.
Refers to the depressed surfaces of a damaged coin caused by various forms of abuse such as being buried in the ground for many years.
See TERRITORIAL GOLD
No lettering around the edge of a coin. See also: REEDED EDGE and LETTERED EDGE.
The blank metal disc with upset rims struck by DIES to create a coin.
Any of the various abnormalities found on coin blanks. These include drift marks, laminations, clips, and so forth.
An irregular hole in a coin blank, sometimes the result of a lamination that has broken away.
A term used to describe a coin that has had a hole filled, often so expertly that it can only be discerned only under magnification.
PNG / Professional Numismatist Guild
An organization comprised mostly of dealers who adhere to a strict code of ethical and professional conduct
A die that has been basined to remove clash marks or other die injury. In a positive sense, Proof dies were basined to impart mirrorlike surfaces, resulting in coins with reflective field. See Also: Basining
POLLOCK- or P- numbers refer to a recent and comprehensive revision of JUDD's major work on pattern and experimental coinage. Numbers are assigned in United States Patterns and Related Issues by Andrew W. Pollock III.
Poly Bag / Polyethylene
A soft plastic used to make FLIPS and small bags to hold raw coins. The bags are used to protect coins sent for certification in firmer PVC holders.
Pop / Population
Refers to the number of coins certified in a given grade by one or more of the major grading services (PCGS or NGC). See also: CENSUS
Acronym for Price On Request.
A description indicating a rough or granular surface, typically seen on pre-1816 copper coins.
Gold, Silver & Platinum. As opposed to BASE metal. See also, METAL STRATEGIC.
PQ / Premium Quality
Term given to coins which are on the high-end of a certain grade. In other words, someone labeling a certain coin as MS-65 PQ is suggesting that the item is much nicer than an average piece in the same grade. See also: High end
Coins minted with unusual care, often from new DIES on carefully selected, PROOFLIKE BLANKS. Intended for visiting dignitaries and other VIP's - mostly prior to 1817 when the Philadelphia Mint standardized its proofing process).
Private Mint / Issue
Any "coin" that is issued by a private mint - without the ratification by any government. Some have serial numbers or certain limited editions. Nearly all are made for collectors but have no real NUMISMATIC value.
Private Treaty Sale
A sale of an individual coin or a collection arranged between two parties by representative agents. The terms, including price and parties involved, are not disclosed. Sales of this type are used in the trade of classic rarities and to protect the identity of a collector.
PR / Proof
A specially made "specimen striking" of coinage made for presentation, souvenir, exhibition or numismatic purposes. A "proof" coin is usually distinguished by sharpness of STRIKE, high wire edge and brilliant mirror-like surfaces - as a result of more than one blow from a DIE. Pre-1968 proofs were minted only at the Philadelphia Mint except for a few very rare instances in which presentation pieces were struck at BRANCH MINTS. "Proof" refers to the method of manufacture and is not a condition. See also: MINT-STATE
Most often used as a designation in the Morgan dollar series. Usually a characteristic of the first coins struck on newly polished DIES. A coin whose fields have a mirrored finish and sometimes frosty devices as well -- which sometimes causes a CAMEO effect.
An original "proof set" is one which has been specially packaged and sold directly by the Mint. Assembled proof sets contain similar coins bought individually.
An acronym for polyvinylchloride, a chemical which is found in many FLIPS. If a coin is kept in such a holder for a long period of time, PVC will produce a residue which will turns a coin's surfaces green.
Refers to $2 1/2 gold pieces
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