Coin Collecting A to Z
Coin Collecting Terms - Letter
[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M]
[N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]
- Mintmark used at the Branch Mint in Charlotte,
- Slight surface wear on a coin,
medal or token caused by friction between it and the tray in
which it is contained.
- Abbreviation for Cameo.
- A proof, or prooflike coin with exceptional
contrast between the fields and the devices. On a cameo
coin, the fields are mirrorlike, while the devices give a
frosty appearance from the highly polished dies.
Canadian silver - Slang term for the silver coins of
Capped Bust - A term describing any of the various
representations of the head of Miss Liberty depicted on
certain early U.S. coins by a bust with a floppy cap. The
design is attributed to John Reich.
Capped die - An error in which a coin gets jammed in
the coining press and remains for successive strikes.
Carbon spot - A dark discoloration on the surface of
a coin, possibly caused by a planchet imperfection prior to
striking, or it may be caused by improper storage of the
Carson City - The United States branch Mint located
in Carson City, Nevada that struck coins from 1870 through
1885 and later from 1889 through 1893.
Cartwheel - An effect caused by the natural luster on
most mint state, and on some proof coins. When the coin is
tilted back and forth, beams of light seem to circle the
central devices of the coin.
Cash - A copper coin of China with a square hole for
Cast - Made by pouring molten metal directly into a
Cast blanks - Coin blanks that are molded, rather
than cut from strips of metal.
Cast Coins - Coins which are made not in the usual
manner of striking with dies, but by pouring molten metal
into a mold.
Cast counterfeit - A replica of a genuine coin
created by making molds of the obverse and reverse, then
casting base metal in the molds.
Castaing machine - A machine invented by French
engineer Jean Castaing that added the edge lettering and
devices to early U.S. coins before they were struck. These
machines were used until the introduction of close collar
dies, which applied the edge device during the striking
CC - Mintmark used to indicate coins struck at the
Carson City, Nevada branch Mint.
Census - A compilation of the known specimens of a
particular numismatic item. Census reports are generally not
as accurate as one may think. The counts, in some cases,
take into consideration dealers and individuals cracking out
coins and resubmitting them in the hopes they will grade
Cent - A denomination valued at one-hundredth of a
dollar, struck by the U.S. Mint. Also called a penny,
however, the correct term is "cent".
Certified - Refers to a coin which has been
authenticated and graded by one of the major grading and
certification services. The major coin grading services
include NGC, PCGS & ANACS.
Certified coin - A coin authenticated and graded by
an unbiased, third-party professional coin grading service.
Chain Cent - The popular name for the Flowing Hair
large cent of 1793. They were the first coins struck in the
new Mint building in Philadelphia.
Chapman Proof - 1921 Morgan dollar Proofs supposedly
struck for coin dealer Henry Chapman, having cameo devices
and deeply mirrored surfaces like most Morgan dollar proofs.
Chapman, Henry - One of the most influential coin
dealers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Perhaps
best known for urging an estimated quantity of 12 silver
dollar proofs to be coined in 1921. These coins are
generally considered to be superior to other
so-called-proofs minted that same year.
Charlotte - The United States branch Mint located in
Charlotte, North Carolina that only struck gold coins from
1838 until its seizure by the Confederacy in 1861.
Chasing - A method used by forgers in creating a
mintmark on a coin. Chasing involves heating the surfaces
and moving the metal to form a mintmark.
Chatter - Usually refers to a small, but noticeable
cluster of nicks on a coin. Sometimes the term is otherwise
used to describe the vibratory movement of a die which
produces minor double-striking.
Cherrypick - To secure the purchase a rare variety of
a coin worth a premium over the seller's asking price for a
Choice - An adjective which the A.N.A. applies to
coins of MS-65 or Proof-65 grade. Many dealers apply the
term to the MS/Proof-63 coins, and call MS/Proof-65 coins
Choice BU - A term used to describe a nice,
uncirculated coin - perhaps the equivalent numerical grade
of MS-62 to MS-64.
Choice Unc - Abbreviation for Choice Uncirculated.
Choice Uncirculated - An Uncirculated coin in grade
MS-63 or MS-64.
Chop mark - A symbol added to money by someone other
than the government which issued it to indicate
authenticity. Commonly found on U.S. Trade Dollars.
Cinci - Short for a Cincinnati Silver Commemorative
Half Dollar made in 1936.
Circulated- Describes a coin that is no longer in
mint state, generally as a result of normal handling and
Circulating commemorative - A commemorative coin
issued through the usual distribution channels as a
circulation strike coin.
Circulation - A term applied to coins that have been
spent in commerce.
Circulation strike - A coin meant for commerce. An
alternate term Regular Strike or Business Strike.
Civil War Token - Unofficial pieces made to
approximate size of current U.S. large cents and half cents.
They were placed into circulation during the Civil War
because of a scarcity of small change.
Clad bag - Usually applied to a $1,000 bag of 40
percent silver half-dollars although it also could apply to
any bag of clad coins.
Clad Coinage - Issues of United States dimes,
quarters, halves, and dollars made since 1965. Each coin has
a center core of copper, and a layer of copper-nickel or
silver on both sides of the coin.
Clash marks - Where the dies have hit each other and
then transfer these marks to the coins being struck with the
Clashed dies - Extraneous design detail often appears
on a die as a result of two dies coming together without a
planchet between them during the minting process.
Classic Era - Term for the period from 1792 through
1964 when silver and gold coins of the United States were
issued for circulation.
Classic Head - An image of Miss Liberty that depicts
the style of a Roman or Greek athlete wearing a ribbon in
Classic Rarity - Coins such as the 1909-S VDB Lincoln
cent and the 1934-S Peace Dollar are classic rarities due to
the publicity they receive in the numismatic world.
Cleaned coin - A coin which has been dipped,
polished, whizzed, wiped, etc. Generally speaking, a certain
amount of very light cleaning, such as dipping, done by a
professional may be acceptable. However, this always causes
some sort of damage to the coin. Coin cleaning is usually
frowned upon in the numismatic community.
Cleaned paper money - Banknotes that have been dipped
and washed in cleaning fluids to remove dirt and stains.
Cleaning - Any procedure that removes corrosion,
toning, or anything that makes a coin unattractive.
Clip - A coin, planchet or blank missing a portion of
metal, caused by an error during blank production; types of
clips include curved, ragged, straight, elliptical, bowtie,
disk and assay.
Clipped - Term for an irregularly cut planchet or
coin blank. A clip can be straight or curved, depending upon
where it was cut.
Clipping - Shearing or shaving from the edge of gold
and silver coins for personal gain. Patterns and mottos are
included on edges to discourage the practice.
Clogged die - Dies that have contaminants lodged in
the recessed areas. Coins struck from a clogged die will
have diminished or even missing detail.
Closed collar - An edge device sometimes called a
collar die that surrounds the lower die. The close collar
imparts reeding, lettering, or a smooth, plain edge.
C-Mint - Term applied to the gold coins struck at the
Charlotte, North Carolina branch Mint. This Mint only struck
gold coins from its opening in late 1837 until it was seized
by the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Cob Money - Crude silver coins of Spain, Central and
Cohen variety - A die variety for half cents, denoted
as C-1, C-2a, etc.
Coin - Metal formed into a disk of standardized
weight and stamped with a standard design to enable it to
circulate as money authorized by a government body.
Coin collection - A grouping of coins that have been
sorted, classified or attributed for fun or profit.
Coin collector - A person who accumulates coins based
on denomination, series, date, variety, or some other means
that is interesting to that individual.
Coin friction - Term applied to the area resulting
when coins contact each other in rolls or bags and small
amounts of metal are displaced.
Coin show - An event where numismatic items are
bought, sold, traded and often exhibited. Exceedingly
valuable coins are usually on display at larger coin shows
throughout the U.S.
Coinage - The issuance of metallic money of a
Coiner - The mint official in charge of stamping
planchets into money.
Colonials - Generic term for coins made in or for
America before the Federal Mint began regular operations.
Colorized - Indicates that paint, enamel or a color
sticker has been applied after the minting process.
Commem - Short for Commemorative Coin.
Commemorative - A coin with a design honoring or as a
reminder of a specific person, place or event.
Commemoratives are normally struck for a limited period of
Commercial grade - A synonym for Market Grade.
Commercial strike - A synonym for regular strike or
Common date - Refers to the most issues that are
readily available in a series. No exact number can be used
to determine which coins are common dates as this is
relative to the mintage of the series.
Complete set - A term for all possible coins within a
series, all types, or all coins from a particular branch
Mint. For example, a complete gold type set would include
examples of all series from 1795 until 1933.
Condition - The state of preservation of a numismatic
Condition census - Term introduced by Dr. William H.
Sheldon to denote the finest specimen and average condition
of next five finest known of a given variety of large cents.
Catalogers are gradually extending the use of the term to
Condition rarity - A term to indicate a common coin
that is exceedingly rare when found in high grades.
Consensus grading - The process of evaluating the
condition of a coin by using multiple graders. Some third
party grading services use this process to grade coins.
Conserved - Numismatic conservation involves
examination, scientific analysis, and a reliance upon an
extensive base of numismatic knowledge to determine the
nature of a coin’s state of preservation and the extent of
any damage. Conservation also encompasses appropriate
procedures to protect the coin’s original appearance and to
guard against future deterioration to whatever extent
Contact marks - Marks on a coin that are caused by
contact with another coin or a foreign object, usually in a
bag or bin. These are generally small, compared to other
types of marks such as gouges.
Contemporary counterfeit - A coin, usually base
metal, struck from crude dies and made to pass for legal
tender at the time of creation.
Continental currency - Paper money issued by the
authority of the Continental Congress during the
Continental dollar - A dollar-sized pattern coin
struck in 1776 as proposed coinage.
COPE, COPE PAK - Acronyms used at Bureau of Engraving
and Printing for Currency Overprinting and Processing
Equipment and Currency Overprinting and Processing
Equipment, Packaging. Machines used to apply overprinting of
seals, serial numbers and Federal Reserve index numbers to
16-note half sheets of paper money; then the COPE cuts the
half sheets into single notes, bundles them into 100-note
packages with a paper band, and into larger plastic-wrapped
Copper Spots - Small red or orange areas of patina
that occur on gold coins because the metal was improperly
mixed in its molten state.
Copper-nickel - Coinage alloy composed of copper and
nickel in varying amounts.
Copper-Nickel Cent - Cents issued from 1856 through
1864 in the copper-nickel alloy. These were called white
cents during the period because of their pale color compared
to the earlier red cents made of pure copper.
Coppers - Slang term for copper, half cents, and
large cents, minted through 1857.
Copy - Any reproduction, fraudulent or otherwise, of
Copy dies - Dies made at a later date, usually
showing slight differences from the originals. Also used to
describe counterfeit dies copied directly from a genuine
Coronet Head - Alternate name for Braided Hair design
by Christian Gobrecht. This is sometimes also called the
Liberty Head or Coronet design.
Corrosion - Damage which occurs on the surface of
some coins, generally due to improper storage. Corrosion is
caused when a chemical reaction, such as rust, actually eats
into the metal. This is also called pitting in a more
Counterfeit - An object made to imitate a genuine
numismatic piece with intent to deceive or defraud.
Countermark - Sometimes called counterstamp is a
stamp or mark impressed on a coin to verify its use by
another government, Counterstamps are used to indicate
Counting machine mark - A dense patch of lines caused
by the rubber wheel of a counting machine. Caused when the
wheel spacing was insufficient for the selected coin.
Crown - A dollar-size silver coin, specifically one
of Great Britain.
Cud - A raised lump of metal on a coin caused by a
piece of the die breaking off, leaving an open space on the
Cull - A term for a coin, usually silver dollars,
that are excessively worn or damaged.
Curating - Refers to cleaning, enhancing or improving
a coin's appearance through non-abrasive means and
stabilizing its surfaces.
Currency - Paper circulating as money. Opposed to
"hard money" such as gold and silver which posses intrinsic
Current - Coins and paper money that are in
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