P-Mint

Definition:

Synonym for the U.S. Mint located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

 

Patina

Definition:

Synonym for toning.

 

 

Pattern

Definition:

A test striking of a coin produced to trial a proposed design, composition, or size. Patterns were often struck in metals other than the one proposed.

 

 

PCGS

Definition:

Professional Coin Grading Service, a leading third-party coin grading service located in Newport Beach, California.

 

 

PCGS Population Report

Definition:

Monthly publication by PCGS listing the number of coins graded and their grade.

 

 

Pedigree

Definition:

The listing of a coin’s current owner plus all known previous owners.

 

 

Peripheral toning

Definition:

Coloring – which may be light, medium, or dark - around the edge of a coin.

 

 

Philadelphia

Definition:

The primary U.S. Mint located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was first established in 1792.

 

 

PL

Definition:

Abbreviation for prooflike.

 

 

Plain edge

Definition:

A smooth, flat edge seen mainly on a small-denomination coinage.

Also see: Lettered edge, Reeded edge

 

 

Planchet

Definition:

The blank metal disk, which becomes a coin when struck under high pressure between two dies.

Also see: Blank

 

 

Planchet defect

Definition:

Any defect of a coin which was caused by the planchet being imperfect prior to the coin being struck. Also see: Planchet flaw

 

 

Planchet flaw

Definition:

An irregular hole in a coin blank, sometimes the result of a lamination that has broken away.

 

 

Planchet striations

Definition:

Fine, incuse lines found on some Proof coins believed to be caused by polishing of the blanks prior to striking. Also see: Adjustment marks, Burnishing lines, Die striations, Roller marks

 

 

Plated

Definition:

A coin with a thin layer of metal applied. For example, gold-plated copper strikings of certain U.S. pattern coins.

 

 

PNG

Definition:

Professional Numismatists Guild, an organization of Numismatic dealers founded in 1955.

 

 

PNG certificate

Definition:

A document (in duplicate: one for the coin owner and one kept on-file at PNG) completed by a PNG dealer that provided a guarantee of authenticity prior to third-party grading services.

 

 

PO

Definition:

Abbreviation for Poor. (Also P).

 

 

Polished die

Definition:

A die that has been basined to remove clash marks or other die injury. Dies used to strike Proof coins were polished to impart mirrorlike surfaces.

Also see: Basining

 

 

Polyvinyl chloride

Definition:

A somewhat active chemical found in some types of plastic coin flips. Polyvinyl Chloride will cause some coins to tone or turn green over time.

 

 

Poor

Definition:

Synonym for the grade PO-1 (or P1).

 

 

Pop Report

Definition:

Synonym for a report issued by NGC or PCGS, which summarizes the coins certified to date.

 

 

PQ

Definition:

Acronym for premium quality.

 

 

PR

Definition:

Abbreviation for Proof.

 

 

Premium quality

Definition:

A term which describes the very finest coins that fall into any given grade, or that have some claims to a higher grade.

 

 

Presentation striking

Definition:

A coin, often a Proof or an exceptionally sharp business strike, specially struck and given to a dignitary or other person.

 

 

Press

Definition:

Any coining machine.

 

 

Price guide

Definition:

A periodical listing prices for numismatic items. The guide might differentiate between buy and sell (Bid/Ask), as well as wholesale or retail prices.

 

 

Price list

Definition:

Synonym for fixed price list

 

 

Pristine

Definition:

Term describing coins in original, unimpaired condition. Pristine coins are typically graded MS/PR-67 and higher.

 

 

Proof

Definition:

The term Proof denotes a method of manufacture, not a grade. Proof coins are made with special care, exclusively for collectors or investors and not struck for general circulation. Generally, proof coins are struck on specially selected and polished planchets. They are struck using polished dies. Usually the coins are made on a slower moving press, and/or are struck more than once. Most proof coins are brilliant, with a mirrorlike surface.

 

 

Proof dies

Definition:

Dies which are prepared and used exclusively to produce proof coins. Often, the fields of proof dies are highly polished to impart a mirrorlike finish, and the recessed areas are left unfinished to create frosted devices.

 

 

Proof set

Definition:

A coin set containing Proof issues from a particular year. A few sets contain anomalies such as the 1804 dollar and eagle in 1834 presentation Proof sets.

 

 

Proof-only issue

Definition:

A coin struck only as a Proof, with no business-strike counterpart.

 

 

Prooflike

Definition:

A coin that has mirror-like surfaces. This term is particularly applicable to Morgan dollars.

 

 

Provenance

Definition:

Synonym for pedigree.

 

 

Punch

Definition:

A steel rod with a device, a date, lettering, and other symbols on the end which was hammered into a working die.

 

 

Put-together roll

Definition:

An “original roll” that has had the best coins removed and substituted with lesser quality coins. Also see: Original roll

 

 

PVC

Definition:

Acronym for polyvinyl chloride.

 

 

PVC damage

Definition:

A film, often green, left on a coin after storage in flips that contain PVC. During the early stage, this film may be clear and sticky.

 

 

PVC flip

Definition:

Synonym for a coin flip that contains PVC.

 

 

Quarter

Definition:

A U.S. coin of the quarter dollar denomination.

 

 

Questionable toning

Definition:

Suspicious color on a coin that may not be natural.

 

 

Rainbow toning

Definition:

Toning which is usually seen on silver dollars stored in bags. A full spectrum of colors are represented, beginning with yellow, then green, to red, to blue, and sometimes even black.

 

 

Rare

Definition:

1. A relative term indicating that a coin within a series is very difficult to find.
2. A coin with only a few examples known.
3. A term sometimes applied to all coins of numismatic value (as in: Rare Coin Dealer).

 

 

Rarity

Definition:

The total number of extant specimens of a particular numismatic item. Condition rarity describes the number of specimens in a particular grade plus any in higher grades.

 

 

Rarity scale

Definition:

A numerical-rating system used to quantify rarity. One example is the Universal Rarity Scale.

 

 

Raw

Definition:

Refers to any coin that is not encapsulated by a grading service.

 

 

Real

Definition:

A genuine coin.

Also see: Counterfeit alteration

 

 

Reeded edge

Definition:

Grooved notches found on the edge of some coins.

 

 

Reeding mark(s)

Definition:

A mark or marks caused when the reeded edge of one coin scuffs or scratches the surface of another coin. Also see: Milling mark

 

 

Regular issue

Definition:

A coin struck for commerce. There may be Regular and/or Proof strikes, as well as die trials of regular issues.

Also see: Business strike and Commercial strike.

 

 

Regular strike

Definition:

Synonym for business strike. A coin struck using conventional coin pressing methods.

 

 

Relief

Definition:

The height of the devices of a particular coin design.

 

 

Replica

Definition:

A copy, or reproduction.

 

 

Restrike

Definition:

A coin struck later than indicated by its date, often with different dies.

 

 

Retoned

Definition:

A coin that has been dipped or cleaned and then has regained color – either naturally or artificially.

 

 

Reverse

Definition:

The back or “tails” side, of a coin.

 

 

Rim

Definition:

The raised area around the edges of the obverse and reverse of a coin.

 

 

Rim ding

Definition:

Synonym for a rim nick.

 

 

Rim nick

Definition:

A mark or indentation on the rim of a coin.

 

 

Ring test

Definition:

A test that may determine whether a coin was struck or is an electrotype or cast copy. The coin is balanced on a finger and gently tapped with a metal object. Genuine coins have a high-pitched ring or tone, while electrotypes and cast copies have little or none. It should be noted that this test is not always an accurate method for identifying electrotype or cast copy coins.

 

 

Roll

Definition:

A set number of coins stored in a coin wrapper. Rolls were originally paper wrappers, and today are typically plastic.

 

 

Roll friction

Definition:

Minor displacement of metal, mostly on the high points, seen on coins stored in rolls.

 

 

Rolled edge

Definition:

A synonym for rolled rim.

 

 

Roller marks

Definition:

Parallel incuse lines found on a coin after it is struck. It is believed that roller marks are caused when the strips of metal are pulled through draw bars (set at a precise distance apart to ensure the planchet blanks will be at the correct thickness).

 

 

Round

Definition:

Synonym for a round Pan-Pac commemorative fifty-dollar coin.

 

 

Rubbing

Definition:

The barest trace of wear on the high points of a coin. Just a step more severe than “friction” on the scale of adjectives used to describe degrees of wear. Usually, a coin with rubbing has virtually full mint lustre intact.

Also see: Friction

 

 

S-Mint

Definition:

Term applied to coins struck at the San Francisco, California branch Mint.

 

 

San Francisco

Definition:

The United States branch Mint located in San Francisco, California that struck coins from 1854 through 1955, and again from 1965 to today.

 

 

Satin finish

Definition:

Also see: Roman finish

 

 

Satin lustre

Definition:

Fine, silky finish seen mostly on copper and nickel business strike coins. Almost no “cartwheel” effect is seen on coins with satin lustre.

 

 

Scratch

Definition:

A mark on a coin that is more severe than a hairline.

 

 

Screw press

Definition:

The first type of coining press used at the U.S. Mint. The screw press had a fixed lower die, and an upper die attached to a threaded rod. By rotating a series of weighted arms that were attached to the threaded rod, the screw mechanism drove the upper die downward to strike the planchet. The screw press invention is credited to Donato Bramante.

 

 

Second toning

Definition:

Natural or artificial toning that occurs after a coin is dipped or cleaned.

 

 

Semi-common

Definition:

A coin that is considered neither common, nor scarce.

 

 

Semi-numismatic

Definition:

Refers to a coin that has a significant bullion value and some numismatic value.

 

 

Semi-prooflike

Definition:

A coin that has almost enough mirror-like reflectiveness to be called “prooflike”.

 

 

Series

Definition:

A particular design or motif used over a period of time. This can refer to a single denomination, or in some cases, several denominations.

 

 

Set

Definition:

A collection of coins in a series. This could be a collection of types, or a collection from a particular Mint.

 

 

Sheldon

Definition:

The late Dr. William H. Sheldon who wrote the seminal work on 1793 to 1814 large cents.

 

 

Sheldon Book

Definition:

The large cent book, first published in 1949 as Early American Cents and reissued in 1958 as Penny Whimsy by W. Sheldon, W. Breen and D. Paschal.

 

 

Sheldon numbers

Definition:

The reference numbers (S-1, S-2, etc.) for 1793 to 1814 large cents as documented in the books, Early American Cents and Penny Whimsy.

 

 

Sheldon scale

Definition:

A system of grading which was originally introduced by the late Dr. William H. Sheldon, for the purpose of grading large cents. The system was adapted to all coins in the early 1970’s. The Sheldon Scale, as applied today, incorporates numerical grades 1 through 70 to correspond with various descriptive grades as follows:


Poor – 1
Fair – 2
Almost Good – 3
Good – 4, 6
Very Good – 8, 10
Fine – 12, 15
Very Fine – 20, 25, 30, 35
Extremely Fine – 40, 45
Almost Uncirculated – 50, 53, 55, 58
Mint State – 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70.

 

 

Shiny spots

Definition:

Areas on Matte, Roman, and Satin Proof coins where the original dulled surface has been disturbed.

 

 

Show

Definition:

Synonym for a bourse or coin show.

 

 

Sight seen

Definition:

A term meaning that the buyer of a particular numismatic item in a particular grade may view the coin before buying it.

 

 

Sight unseen

Definition:

A term meaning that the buyer of a particular numismatic item in a particular grade offers to pay a certain price without examining the item.

 

 

Silver

Definition:

1 – A precious metal
2 – Referring to coins struck in silver (generally 90% silver and 10% copper but there are a few exceptions).

 

 

Silver commem

Definition:

Synonym for silver commemorative coins.

 

 

Silver commemoratives

Definition:

Coins struck at various times from 1892 through 1954 and post-1982, to celebrate a person, place, or event.

 

 

Silver-clad

Definition:

A coin whose overall metal makeup is 40% silver and 60% copper. Kennedy half dollars (struck from 1965 until 1970) are silver-clad halves.

 

 

Slab

Definition:

The plastic holder in which a grading service will encapsulate a coin which has been graded.

 

 

Slabbing

Definition:

The process of encapsulating a coin in a sonically sealed holder.

 

 

Sleeper

Definition:

A coin which is undervalued or underpriced.

 

 

Slider

Definition:

A coin which a less scrupulous individual might sell at a higher grade than it really merits. The term usually refers to a nearly mint-state coin which is, or could be offered as a full mint-state.

 

 

Slug

Definition:

Term for the octagonal and round fifty-dollar gold coins struck during the California gold rush. Legend has it that the term came about when criminals used the two-and-one-half ounce coins wrapped in a cloth to bonk their victims on the head. For an unrelated reason, 1915 Pan-Pac fifty-dollar commemorative issues are also referred to as slugs.

 

 

SMS

Definition:

Acronym for Special Mint Set

 

 

SP

Definition:

Abbreviation for Specimen Strike.

 

 

Spark-erosion die

Definition:

A die made by an electrolytic deposition method. Because the surfaces of the die are very rough (a result of the process), they must be polished to remove surface imperfections.

 

 

Spark-erosion strike

Definition:

A coin made from spark-erosion dies, often showing signs of pitting in the relief areas as a result of the die surface.

 

 

Special Mint Set

Definition:

A set of special coins that were first struck in limited quantities in 1965 and officially released in 1966-1967. They were intended to replace Proof sets, which had been discontinued by the U.S. Mint in an effort to stop coin hoarding. In 1968, The Mint resumed the issuing of Proofs.

 

 

Specimen

Definition:

Referring to a special set of coins struck at the Mint from 1792 to 1816 that display many characteristics of the later Proof coinage.

 

 

Specimen Strike

Definition:

Also see: Specimen

 

 

Split grade

Definition:

A coin whose obverse grade is different from its reverse grade. Examples: MS-63/65 or Proof 63/60.

 

 

Splotchy toning

Definition:

Color that is uneven, in both shade and composition.

 

 

Spot

Definition:

A discolored area on a coin. A spot or spots can have a small or large effect on the grade of a coin depending many factors such as size, severity, and placement.

 

 

Standard silver

Definition:

The official composition of U.S. silver coinage, determined by the Mint Act of 1792. Initially set at approximately 89 percent silver and 11 percent copper, it was later changed to 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.

 

 

Staple scratch

Definition:

A line on a coin resulting from its improper removal from a cardboard stapled holder.

 

 

Star

Definition:

A five-pointed or six-pointed design element used on many U.S. coins.

 

 

State quarter

Definition:

Synonym for the 1999 and later Washington quarters struck with unique reverse designs for each State. These quarters are to be issued in the order of admittance to the United States. The order for the original 13 colonies was determined by the date which each State ratified the Constitution.

 

 

Steam-powered press

Definition:

A coining press driven by a steam-powered engine.

 

 

Stress lines

Definition:

Synonym for “flow lines.”

 

 

Striations

Definition:

Term for the incuse polish lines on a die which result in raised lines on coins. While these are usually fine, parallel lines, they may also manifest themselves as swirling, or even criss-cross lines. Planchet striations are burnishing lines not struck away by the minting process that are incuse on the coins.

 

 

Strike

Definition:

The sharpness of detail which the coin had when it was Mint State. A full strike is a coin that exhibits the full detail that would appear on the sharpest known examples of that type.

 

 

Strip

Definition:

The flat metal, rolled and drawn to proper thickness, from which planchets are cut.

 

 

Struck

Definition:

Term describing a coin produced from dies and a coining press.

 

 

Struck copy

Definition:

A replica of a particular coin made from dies, possibly but not necessarily meant to deceive.

 

 

Struck counterfeit

Definition:

A fake coin produced from false dies.

 

 

Surface preservation

Definition:

The condition of a coin’s surface.

 

 

Surfaces

Definition:

The entire obverse and reverse faces of a coin.

 

 

Tab toning

Definition:

Term referring to toning often seen on commemorative coins which were sold in cardboard holders with a round tab. Such coins have a circle in the center and are said to have “tab toning”.

 

 

Tail feathers

Definition:

Refers to the tail feathers on the Eagle on the reverse of certain U.S. coins. Particularly, the Morgan Silver Dollar.

 

 

Target toning

Definition:

Toning effect that resembles an archery target - with deeper colors on the periphery often fading to white or cream color at the center.

 

 

Technical grading

Definition:

A system of grading which only takes into account that which has happened to a coin after the minting process (i.e. the state of preservation). Technical graders often ignore factors such as strike and eye-appeal.

 

 

TF

Definition:

Abbreviation for Tail Feathers.

 

 

Thumbed

Definition:

Term for a coin that has been doctored in a specific way to hide marks, hairlines, or other disturbances. The thumb is rubbed lightly over the disturbances, and the oils in the skin help to disguise any problems.

 

 

Tissue toning

Definition:

Color, often vibrant, acquired by coins stored in original Mint paper. The toning is caused by sulfur in the paper reacting with the coin.

 

 

Token

Definition:

A substitute for a coin.

 

 

Toned

Definition:

An adjective which describes a coin with toning.

 

 

Toning

Definition:

The coloring which has formed on the surface of a coin as a result of the metal’s interaction with outside elements. Also see: Patina

 

 

Tooling mark

Definition:

A line, usually small and fine, found on both genuine and counterfeit coins. They are caused by touch-ups to dies.

 

 

Transfer die

Definition:

A die created by sacrificing a coin for a model.

 

 

Transitional

Definition:

Synonym for transitional issue.

 

 

Transitional issue

Definition:

A coin struck after an “official” series ends, or before an “official” series starts. It can also refer to a coin struck with either the obverse or the reverse of a discontinued or upcoming series.

 

 

Trial strike or striking

Definition:

Also see: Die trial

 

 

Type

Definition:

A date or group of dates encompassing all of a particular standard design. Example: Morgan silver dollars. A type collection is a collection of coins formed by one example (usually one of the most common dates) of each type of coin.

 

 

Type coin

Definition:

A representative coin, usually a common date, from a particular issue of a specific design, size, or metal.

 

 

Did You Know?

198225c MergedEven though the 1982 & 1983 P&D Washington quartrrs were minted in the hundreds of millions, finding a gem, mint state issue of each of these four coins will prove to be a tough task. This is because the US Mint did not produce mint uncirculated coin set for these years. Instead, the mint sold mint souvenir sets which were only available on location in the mint gift shops. This has lead to significantly fewer uncirculated examples available for all four business strikes from these years.