Coin Glossary

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

Coin Glossary


eagle - nick name for the old gold $10 coins made up until 1932. These older gold coins contained "almost" 1/2 ounce of gold and featured an eagle design on the back. Note: the "eagle" gold coin is different than the new AMERICAN EAGLE gold bullion coin. See "American Eagle".

edge - the side of the coin. Currently US dimes and quarters have a "reeded" edge, which is an edge with small lines on it. Some coins will have lettering, ornamental designs, or plain edges.

edge lettering - letters or designs made on the side edge of a coin. Most modern day coins have plain or reeded edges. Example of edge lettering is the old Capped Bust Half dollar coins. Sometimes called edge device.

e-gold - an electronic way of purchasing, owning, and storing gold.  For more information about this interesting way to invest

Eisenhower dollar - United States dollar made from 1971 to 1978.  Sometimes called "Ike" dollars because of the portrait of President/General Dwight D Eisenhower.  Ike dollars did not see a lot of use in commerce, partially because of there large silver dollar size.  Although made of clad (nickel and copper), there were some special versions made of 40% silver sold by the mint to collectors. 

electrotype - a reproduction of a coin or object.  Sometimes used in museums. Produced using an electro-deposition process. 

engraver - an artist who creates a coin's design as a model or sculpture. In earlier days the engraver would actually cut out the design onto the die.

exergue - bottom portion of a coin's design.  Normally separated by a line and sometimes containing a date (year) or other information.

error - a coin that has some type of production defect on it. Modern production procedures attempt to keep error coins from being released.

essai – this is any coin struck from pattern dies to test a new design or concept.

experimental piece – this is any coin, pattern or production piece either struck in a new metal or alloy for the purpose of testing the alloy or to test a new edge device. Often, these were struck from pattern dies.This description is different from that used by Judd or Taxay who also used this term to include holed planchets and a couple of other patterns.

Note: Certain metallurgical trials can only be determined by analysis. This is especially true for the Postage Currency patterns. In many cases, weight alone is insufficient for proper classification. As an aid to collectors of this series, the Judd numbers for the 1863 Postage Currency coins have been enhanced using David Cassel's Decimal Numbering System.

extra fine - Coin grading term indicating a coin with wear on the higher points.  Most details of the coin design are visible and readable.  Sometimes called extremely fine. See Coin Grading

Coin Collecting News
$2 coin celebrates 30th birthday at Royal Australian Mint
You may not have as many jingling in your purse or pocket as you did a few years ago, but the durability of the $2 coin means it could be around for decades to come, despite Australia's shift towards a cashless society. It's 30 years today since the small ... more info

How a Few Nickels Grew Into a Multi-Million Dollar Coin Collection
In the late 1980s, William Morton-Smith, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based doctor, was rummaging through a garage that contained some of his deceased parents’ belongings. He opened the drawer of an old desk, and “there was a bunch of loose coins,” says ... more info

How a coin led Ace Staffing Unlimited's top exec to move to Florida (Video)
Two decades ago, Tanya Meyer knew she wanted to leave Wisconsin. But she wasn't sure where to go. So she took a personal risk and based that decision on a coin flip: heads, Florida; tails, California. "It was heads." Today, she is president of Mount Dora ... more info