The Numismatic Glossary will help you understand terms and acronyms commonly used in the field of coin collecting, or numismatics. The coming post will introduce more Numismatic Glossary Terms.
Abrasions - Light rubbing or scuffing from friction, not to be confused with hairlines or bag marks. Light friction rubbing or scuffing which is different from hairlines and bag marks. Sometimes referred to as "cabinet friction" because many times it is caused by a sliding action in a coin cabinet. Light friction rubbing or scuffing which is different from hairlines and bag marks. Sometimes referred to as "cabinet friction" because many times it is caused by a sliding action in a coin cabinet.
Adjustment marks - Small striations or file marks found on early United States coins. Made during planchet preparation (before striking) by drawing a file across the planchet to remove excess metal, resulting in a series of parallel grooves. This was done to reduce the planchet to its proper weight.
Alloy - A combination of two or more metals. Coin metal that is made from two or more different metals, blended together in the molten state. Other than United States Large Cents and Half Cents, which are pure
Annealing - The heating and cooling process by which planchets are softened to allow the metal to flow more smoothly during the strike. The process of heating up coin planchets, just prior to striking in order to make them soft and thus receive a better impression of the design. This process today is now accomplished by advanced machinery. In ancient times the mint would anneal the planchets by holding them in a pair tongs over a charcoal fire.
accumulation: Quantities of coins, tokens and other numismatic material which has not been sorted, classified, attributed nor organized in any meaningful way, unlike a true coin collection.
adjustment marks: Marks or grooves caused by filing a planchet prior to striking in order to reduce it to a standard weight. This was a fairly common practice on many early U.S. coins, in particular bust dollars.
album: A holder with slots for storing and displaying coins in a book type manner. Common brand names include Whitman, Dansco and Harco.
alterations:Illegal practice of tampering with the date, mint mark, or other feature of a coin in an attempt to be deceptive. For example, adding an "S" mintmark to a 1909-VDB Lincoln Cent struck at the Philadelphia Mint.
Altered Date - An altered coin is a coin that has been tampered with in some way after leaving the Mint, generally for the purpose of increasing its value to collectors. Typical altering can be the removal of a mintmark or installation of a spurious one. Altered is sometimes used in reference to cleaned coins.
ancient: A coin produced prior to the generally accepted date of 500 A.D.
Anglo American Coins & Tokens - The term Anglo American is applied to issues, mostly private, that were struck in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries for use in the American colonies. Some of these coins and tokens were intended primarily or exclusively for British circulation but found their way to this country.
artificial toning: Adding color(s) to a coin by various treatments with chemicals, heat and other methods in an attempt to increase its value. While a coin with natural toning may at times
attribute: A specific characteristic of a coin., Identifying a coin via the origin, denomination, type, date, mintmark, variety, etc.
Attribution - The process of assigning a coin to a certain country, era, or ruler; or even to a particular year of issue. Most coins can be attributed without difficulty, either on sight or with the help of one of the standard reference guides. When a coin is described as being "attributed to" a given country, ruler, etc., this is an expression of opinion rather than an established fact. The opinion may be from an old reference book, which has never been sustained; on the other hand, neither has it been successfully refuted.
authentication: Determination by a numismatic expert as to the status of a coin being original and genuine - not counterfeit.
Average Circulated - A grade used to describe a coin based on its age. For example: A 1900 Barber quarter in "Average Circulated" most likely will grade About Good, whereas a 1955 Washington quarter in "Average Circulated" most likely will be in Fine or Very Fine condition.