Coin Glossary

You can find most popular coin collecting phrases in this coin glossary.

Coin Glossary


About Uncirculated - Same as "Almost Uncirculated". Sometimes abbreviated as "AU".

abrasion - marks or small scratches on the surface of a coin where another coin or object has slid across or bumped the coin. Can also be caused by the coin sliding in a holder or coin drawer. Not as deep or noticeable as bag marks. Usually found on the high parts of a coin or in the open fields (background).

accumulation - A group of coins, sometimes not of any certain type or date. Also can be a "hoard".

Ag - elemental abbreviation for SILVER

AG - Same as "About good".

album friction or slide markings - see friction.

alloy - a mixture of two or more metals melted into one compound.

Almost Uncirculated - A coin or paper money note that is very close to being uncirculated. Upon first glance it may appear un-circulated. When inspected closely it will have a slight amount of wear or friction. Same as "About Uncirculated". Sometimes abbreviated as "AU", or "A Unc".

alteration - see altered date.

altered date - a coin with the date manipulated or altered after the coin was produced. Often done to try to deceive someone. For example, an unscrupulous person might alter the date of a 1944-D cent to look like a 1914-D cent, by filing off part of the first 4 to make it look like the number 1.

American Eagle Silver, gold, and platinum gold coins released by the US government starting in Oct. 1986. Front depict Liberty walking and reverse side bears an American Eagle and nest design. Produced in both Uncirculated and Proof conditions. These silver coins are often called Silver Eagles, gold coins often called Gold Eagles, and Platinum are called Platinum eagles.

American Numismatic Association - the most popular nonprofit educational coin collectors organization in America. Encourages the study of numismatics; collecting of money. Often called the A.N.A.

A.N.A. - abbreviation for the "American Numismatic Association."

ANACS - American Numismatic Association Certification Service.  This grading and certification service certifies coins as genuine, grades, and encapsulates them. One of the original grading services.  Has now changed ownership and is no longer under the direction of the American Numismatic Association (ANA).

anvil die - bottom die. A coin is struck using two dies. One for the obverse (front) of the coin and another for the reverse (back). The anvil die is the one on the bottom, which is usually the reverse. The term comes from when the die was placed on an anvil with the coin blank (planchet) on top. The hammer die (top die) was placed on top of the coin and struck with a hammer. See "hammer die" and "die".

annealing - the process of heating coin blanks (planchlets) in a furnace to soften the metal prior to striking coins out of them.

ask price - The price a dealer or trader is asking for a coin. Often used to indicate the "wholesale" asking price between dealers or on a coin trading network.

assay - to determine the purity of the metal by scientific means.

Au - elemental (scientific) abbreviation for the metal GOLD.

AU - See "About Uncirculated" or "Almost Uncirculated".

Coin Collecting News
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A gold coin nicknamed the "Big Maple Leaf" with a face value of $1 million was taken from the Bode Museum in Berlin, Germany, at 2a.m. Monday morning. On one side of the coin is a likeness of Queen Elizabeth II, and on the other is a maple leaf. The coin ... more info

Berlin museum director responds to shocking giant coin theft
When a 100-kilo, $1-million Canadian coin was stolen from a Berlin museum, the director was weak in the knees. He told DW why he's hopeful the coin will be recovered - and displayed in any condition. Called the "Big Maple Leaf," a coin weighing 100 ... more info

Is this the first true portrait of JESUS? Historian claims coin from 1st Century AD is the only lifelike image of Christ
For centuries historians have disagreed about what Jesus Christ looked like, but an ancient coin depicting a bearded man could have the answer, a new book claims A tiny bronze coin, dating from the first century AD, is the only lifelike image ever made of ... more info