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AG (about good): the grade of a coin that is very heavily worn

American Numismatic Association (ANA): nonprofit educational organization that encourages the study of money throughout the world

ANACS: an independent coin grading service

AU (about uncirculated): the grade of a coin that may appear uncirculated, but has traces of light wear

annealing: the heating of a die or planchet to soften the metal before preparation of the die or striking of the coin

assay: to analyze and determine the characteristics and composition of a metal

attributes: the elements of a coin that help determine grade, such as marks, luster, strike and eye appeal

bag mark: a mark on a coin from contact with other coins in a US Mint bag

blank: the blank, flat piece of metal on which a coin design is struck (identical to planchet)

BN (brown): a term applied to a copper coin without the original red color of copper

BU (brilliant uncirculated): the grade of a coin without any signs of wear that has never been in circulation (identical to mint state or uncirculated)

bullion: gold or silver in the form of coins, bars or ingots

burnishing: a process in which the surfaces of a planchet or coin are made to shine through rubbing or polishing

business strike: a coin produced for general circulation, unlike a proof coin, which is specifically produced for collectors

CAM (cameo): a term applied to a proof coin that has frosted devices and lettering that contrast with the fields

carbon spot: a brown to black spot of oxidation on the surface of a coin

cartwheel: an effect seen on some coins under a bright light source, where the luster rotates like the spokes of a wagon wheel

circulated: a coin with any type of wear

clad coin: a coin that has an outer layer of one metal that is bonded to a core of a different metal

cleaned: a term applied to a coin whose original surface has been altered or removed

CN (copper nickel): an alloy of copper and nickel used in early cents and nickels

coin: a flat piece of metal issued by a governmental authority as money

commemorative: a special coin or medal issued to honor an outstanding person, place, or event in history

condition: the physical state of a coin 

corrosion: damage resulting from reactive chemicals upon metals 

counterfeit: a fake piece of currency made to appear genuine

cud: an area of a coin struck by a die that has a complete break across part of its surface

currency: any kind of money used as a medium of exchange

DCAM (deep cameo): a term applied to a proof coin that has deeply frosted devices and lettering that contrast with the fields 

denomination: the value assigned by a governmental authority to a specific coin, such as cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar

dentils: the toothlike devices around the rim of many coins 

device: a specific design element on a coin

die: an engraved stamp used for impressing a design on a blank piece of metal to produce a coin

die break: a defect in a die that has cracked during use and impacts the strike of a coin 

designer: an artist who creates a coin design ding: a small to medium size mark on a coin

dipped: a term for a coin that has been placed in a mild acid wash solution to remove toning

DMPL (deep mirror prooflike): a term applied to a coin with deeply reflective mirrorlike fields

doubled die: a die that has been struck more than once by a hub in misaligned positions, resulting in the doubling of design elements

double struck: a coin that has not been ejected from the dies and is struck a second time

edge: the "third side" of a coin that may be plain, reeded or ornamented 

EF (extremely fine): the grade of a coin that is slightly worn with sharp and well defined features

engraver: an artist who sculpts a model of a coin design

environmental damage: damage to a coin that results from exposure to the elements

error coin: an improperly produced coin that was overlooked in production and released into circulation

F (fine): the grade of a coin that has moderate to considerable even wear throughout 

fasces: a Roman symbol of authority used on the reverse side of a Mercury dime, with a bundle of rods wrapped around an ax with a protruding blade

FB (full bands): a term used for a Mercury dime where the central bands of the fasces on the reverse side are fully separated

FBL (full bell lines): a term used for a Franklin half dollar where the lower set of lines on the Liberty Bell are fully visible

FH (full head): a term used for a Standing Liberty quarter where the helmet on Miss Liberty's head has full detail 

field: the area of a coin's surface with no design or inscription

first strike: a coin struck early in the life of a die 

flip: a clear plastic coin holder 

frost: a crystallized-metal effect visible in the recessed areas of a die

frosted devices: raised elements on coins struck with treated dies that have frost in their recessed areas

FS (full steps): a term used for a Jefferson nickel where 5 1/2 or 6 steps are fully defined on the portrait of Monticello

G (good): the grade of a coin that is heavily worn with the design visible but faint in areas 

gem: a generic term used for a superb coin

grade: a rating that indicates the amount of wear and preservation of a coin

hairline: a thin line or scratch on a coin that may result from cleaning or polishing

haze: a cloudy film visible on the surface of a coin

holder: any device for housing a coin 

hub: the steel device from which a die is produced

ICG (Independent Coin Graders): an independent coin grading service

incuse: the part of a coin's design that is pressed into the surface 

inscription: the words stamped on a coin or medal

key date: a scarce date usually required to complete a coin collection

legal tender: all currency issued by a governmental authority as official money

legend: a principal phrase on a coin

loupe: a magnifying glass used to examine coins

luster: the amount and strength of light reflected from the surface of a coin 

lustrous: a term used to describe the original mint luster on a coin

Matte Proof: an experimental proof strike with sandblasted or acid-pickled surfaces

medal: a metal coinlike item issued by a governmental authority to recognize an event, place, person or group 

mint: a facility where coins are produced under governmental authority

mintage: the total number of coins produced at a specific mint in a specific year 

mint mark: a small letter on a coin that identifies the US Mint facility where the coin was struck 

mint set: a complete set of coins of each denomination produced by a mint 

mint state (MS): a coin without any signs of wear that has never been in circulation (identical to brilliant uncirculated or uncirculated)

mottled: uneven toning characterized by splotchy areas of drab colors

motto: a word or phrase on a coin that expresses a guiding principle

MS (mint state): a coin without any signs of wear that has never been in circulation (identical to brilliant uncirculated or uncirculated)

NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation): an independent coin grading service 

numismatics: the study or collection of coins, tokens, paper money and medals

obverse: the front or "heads" side of a coin

off-center: a coin that is struck off-center by a coin press and is missing portions of its design

original roll: coins in fixed quantities, wrapped in paper and stored at the time of issuance

overstrike: a coin produced over a previously struck coin 

pattern: an experimental coin usually used to test a new design or composition

PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service): an independent coin grading service

PL (prooflike): a term used for a business strike Morgan dollar with a mirror-like surface 

planchet: the blank, flat piece of metal on which a coin design is struck (identical to blank)

PQ (premium quality): a term applied to coins that are the finest examples within a particular grade

PR (proof): a coin produced for collectors from highly polished planchets and dies, often struck twice to accent the design

pristine: a term applied to coins in original, unimpaired condition

prooflike: a term used to describe the mirror-like surfaces on business strike coins that resemble proof coins 

proof set: a complete set of proof coins of each denomination produced by a mint

PVC: a chemical used in coin flips (polyvinyl chloride)

raw: a coin that has not been encapsulated by a grading service

RB (red brown): a term applied to a copper coin that has between 5% - 95% of its original color remaining

RD (red): a term applied to a copper coin that has maintained 95% or more of its original color 

relief: the part of a coin's design that is raised above the surface

replica: a copy or reproduction of a coin 

restrike: a coin that is minted using the original dies, but at a later date 

reverse: the back or "tails" side of a coin

riddler: a machine that screens out blanks or planchets that are the wrong size or shape

rim: the raised area around the edges on both sides of a coin 

roll: a package of a specific number of coins by denomination

series: a collection of coins that contains all dates and mint marks of a specific design and denomination 

Sheldon Scale: the numeric grading system from 1 through 70 that was devised by Dr. William Sheldon in 1948 for Large Cents and later adopted by the coin industry for all coins

slab: a permanent protective coin encapsulation provided by independent grading services that indicates the date, mint mark and grade of a coin

slider: a term used for an AU (about uncirculated) coin that looks like or is sold as an uncirculated coin

SMS (special mint set): a set of coins, neither business strike nor proof, that was struck by the US Mint between 1965-1967 to replace proof sets

strike: the process of stamping a coin blank or planchet with a design

surface(s): the entire area of a coin, although often used to indicate the field areas only

toning: the coloration changes of a coin caused by the reactive metal composition

type: a variation in design, size or composition of a specific coin design 

type set: a collection of all coins of a specific denomination 

uncirculated: a coin without any signs of wear that has never been in circulation (identical to mint state or brilliant uncirculated) 

upsetting mill: a machine that raises the rim on both sides of a blank or planchet

variety: a change from the basic design type of a coin

VF (very fine): the grade of a coin with light to moderate wear on the highest points of the design and clear major details

VG (very good): the grade of a coin that is well worn with clear main features 

whizzing: the process of mechanically moving the surface metal of a coin to simulate luster

XF (extremely fine): the grade of a coin that is lightly worn with sharp and well defined features (identical to EF)






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