Coin Glossary

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

Coin Glossary


SBA - See Susan B Anthony dollar.

Sacagewea dollars -  United States small dollar coins with a design of the Indian Sacagewea on the obverse. Reverse depicts an eagle in flight.  First year of mintage was in the year 2000. Although golden in color, they are made of a combination of copper and manganese brass. 

series - collection of coins of one denomination that contains all the dates and mint marks of that design. For example a Lincoln Cent Wheat back series would contain one of each date cent minted from 1909 to 1958, including each mint mark as well.

show - to display or show a group of coins. Coin shows (or bourses) occur often in many areas. There dealers may set up tables to display their inventory in an attempt to sell, buy, or trade coins with the public and / or other dealers.

silver Clad - term referring to US Half Dollars made from 1965 to 1970. Made with an outer layer of 80% silver and 20% copper bonded to an inner core of 20.9% silver and .791% copper. Overall 40% silver.

silver eagle - nickname given to one ounce United States "Silver" dollars made from 1986 to the present.  Design is of a walking liberty on the obverse (front) and and eagle on the reverse. 

site unseen - an offer to purchase a coin at a certain price without seeing the item. Although site unseen bids are common, the coin will still have to meet the grading criteria from the bidder's perspective. Site unseen auction bids are sometimes used when a coin is graded/certified by a third party grading service, such as with slabbed coins.

slab or slabbed - slang for a holder holding a coin that has been encapsulated by a coin grading service. Usually, the coin will graded, authenticated, and encapsulated in a sonically sealed holder, often by a 3rd party grading service. See PNG, NCG, ANACS, PCGS.

slab - term used to identify a hard plastic encapsulation method that some coin grading services use to package/protect a coin. Usually a slabbed coin is graded and certified by the grading service as genuine. Often slabs are rectangular in shape and sealed to protect the coin from the elements.

slider -a term meaning the coin simulates a higher grade than it really is. Often a slider has been cleaned, treated, or whizzed to give the appearance of being uncirculated. Worth less than the coin that has not been cleaned or treated.

spot - the price quoted for large transactions of precious metal. These large metal bars are stored in a certified warehouse. The spot price does not include broker commissions, shipping, postal insurance, etc. Spot prices may change by the minute during active trading. When purchasing precious metals in the form of coins or smaller bars, expect to pay a premium for the manufacture, some kind of commission or markup, and postage/insurance to receive your precious metals.

spotting or spot - a mark or marks on a coin of a different color. Often looking like spots of something on the coin. Usually, it is a form of tarnish or staining. Spotting may have a negative effect on the value of a coin depending on how severe it is, etc. Most professionals will advise you not to try to clean a spot (or spotting) off of a coin, as it may create friction or surface damage that may hurt the coins value even more.

state quarters - The 50 State Quarter program was started in 1999 by the US government mint. 5 quarters are produced each year commemorating the joining of states to the United States of America.  Quarters are issued in the order that states joined the union.

strike - a process of stamping a design into a coin planchet (blank). Usually metal dies with designs engraved in them are used. If the dies are struck weakly or just average it may effect the coin's value negatively vs. a well struck coin. Some U.S. mints were known for making weakly stuck coins during certain years.

Susan B. Anthony dollar - The United States government made a silver dollar with Susan B. Anthony's portrait in 1979 to 1981, and then again in one more year, 1999.  These "SBA" dollars were short lived and saw little use in commerce.  The size is smaller than the old silver dollars and slightly larger than a quarter. 

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