altered coin has been tampered with in some way after leaving the
Mint, generally for the purpose of increasing its value to collectors.
Typical altering involves adding or removing a mintmark or adding
artificial toning to enhance eye appeal or to hide marks.
- American Numismatic Association.
Marks -Scratches or minor abrasions caused by coins knocking
against each other in bags. As the Mint transports its coins in
bags, it is natural for uncirculated specimens to exhibit such abrasions.
Cent - A token struck in this country shortly after the War
of Independence, so called because it carries a series of bars on
the reverse. On the obverse is the lettering "U.S.A."
in script, without any further design or date.
Dime, Quarter, Half Dollar - Coins of these denominations designed
by Charles E. Barber, chief engraver at the mint in the late 19th
Metal - Any metal other than Gold, Silver or Platinum.
Metal - Metal made from an alloy of zinc and copper. Used in
Britain in the 18th century for tokens and sometimes for medals.
- Another term for planchet or flan: the circular piece of metal,
of the size and weight of the finished coin, prior to striking.
Today blanks are stamped out by machine in a high-speed process.
In early times they were customarily cut with special shears from
a cob of metal.
Head - A variety of the Large Cent for 1839, in which the portrait
of Liberty is amateurishly engraved and has a clownish appearance.
- A gathering of coin dealers at a show or convention, generally
- Coin of a larger than normal diameter. This is actually not
a planchet but a striking error. The coin is struck without a protective
collar and is then spread by impact beyond its normal dimensions.
- A composition generally of 90% copper, 4% tin, 1% zinc, used
for coinage since ancient times. The formula has varied in different
places and eras.
- Brilliant Uncirculated, Best Uncirculated or Bright Uncirculated.
It can also be described as UNC, Uncirulated or Mint State.
- A metal which has yet been struck into coinage. Gold and Silver
coins frequently use this term as bullion content to describe the
amount of gold or silver in a minted coin.
- Usually referred to as the portrait on a coin. A bust could
be anything from a head and neck to a likeness encompassing a third
of the body, but most often meant to mean the head, neck and upper
portion of the shoulders.
- A method of manufacturing coins, in which striking is not
done. The metal is poured while molten hot into dies bearing recessed
designs, and fills up the the crevices of the design. When dry and
hard, the finished coin is removed from the mold or cast, and has
an appearance similar to that of a struck coin. Casting was the
usual process for making medals.
Die - When coin Dies are driven together, in the act of striking,
but because of mechanical failure no planchet has come between them,
they "Clash." It is customary in these instances for an
impression of each die to be transferred to the other, and for coins
subsequently struck from those dies to carry traces of the ghost
- The manufacturing of coins.
- A circular steel ring, into which the planchet is set prior
to striking. It serves to prevent the planchet from spreading out
from the force of impact of the dies. If the coin is to have a reeded
edge, these markings will be present on the collar, to be transferred
to the planchet.
- A coin or medal designed to honor some person, place or event,
often of an anniversary nature.
- A coin or article made in the syle of a genuine specimen but
made to deceive buyers.
Skull - Coin obverse struck from a defective die, showing a
line or lines in the portrait's head.
- A coin in defective condition.
- A symbol of local significance, used on the reverse of a coin
in conjunction with a motto. The Eagle has been a frequent device
on U.S. Coins.
- A thick metallic disc, bearing the design and lettering, ect.
for one side of a coin in incuse or recessed image. A set of two
dies, one representing the obverse and one the reverse, is used
for striking the planchet or blank being sandwiched between them
and squeezed very hard.
- The U.S. coin valued at 100 cents, introduced in 1793.
(d) Die - Two impressions of the die on a coin, caused by mechanical
Eagle - U.S. gold coin with a face value of $20. Its physical
size ia about that of a silver dollar. Struck from 1849 to 1933.
Bust - A coinage portrait on which clothing is indicated. The
draping may be a filmy veil of classical style or a military jacket
or just about anything else.
- Independent Coin Grading Company.
State (MS) - The term Mint State (MS) can be interchanged with
Uncirculated (UNC) to describe "new" coins showing no
trace of wear.
- Numismatic Guarantee Company.
- Professional Coin Grading Service.
(PR) - A specially made coin distinguished by sharpness of detail
and usually with a brilliant mirrorlike surfaces. Proof refers to
the method of manufacture and is not a condition. Pre-1968 proofs
were made only at the Philadelphia Mint except in a few rare instances
in which presentation pieces were struck at branch mints. Current
proofs are made at the San Francisco an West Point mints.