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Coin Collector's Dictionary - A Glossary of Terms

Jon R Warren
Alloy - Coin metal consisting of two or more metals which are melted and mixed together. Example --- the 5 cent nickel is an alloy consisting of 95% copper and 5% nickel.

Alteration -
An illegally changed coin feature (such as date or Mint mark) to make it appear like a more valuable coin. Example --- the 1922 penny is worth 30 times more with the Mint mark "D" than with it. Many 1922-D coins have been unethically altered to remove the Mint mark "D" hoping to sell it to an unknowing buyer.

Abbreviation for American Numismatics Association, established in 1891. Largest organization of coin collectors in the world.

Annealing -
The manufacturing process of heating the coin metal (planchet) just before striking. This softens the metal enough to receive the impression.

American Numismatic Society.

Bag Mark -
A scratch or ding caused by coins rubbing against each other in a Mint bag. Very common, especially with large heavy silver coins.

Bit -
An old Mexican coin circulated in America during the 1800's. This coin was sometimes divided into sections. A "bit" was one eighth of the coin, two "bits" was one quarter of the coin, therefor USA quarter dollars began to be called "two bits."

Blackbook -
Pocket size price guide and reference book of USA coins. Updated and published annually since 1962.

Blanking -
The manufacturing process of passing the coin metal strip through a punch press to "bang" out the round metal coin blanks (planchets).

Blemish -
A minor nick, mark, dent or discoloration on the coin's surface.

Bluebook -
Handbook of USA coins published annually since 1941. Gives average prices dealers pay for coins.

Broadstrike -
A coin with a larger than normal diameter. This is caused by the coin being struck with the protective collar in place.

Brockage -
A coin error in which one side of the coin has a "mirror image" of the other side. This is caused by the failure of the coin to be automatically ejected from the holder on the coin press.

Bronze -
An alloy metal consisting of copper and tin. Zinc is sometimes included.

Bullion -
Coins produced of high purity metal, such as 999 fine silver or gold coins. Also, blocks of pure gold or silver.

Cast Coin -
A coin manufactured by a process of pouring metal into a mold, rather than die striking.

Quarter Eagle
- A USA $2.50 face value gold coin, minted from 1796 to 1929.

Redbook - A guidebook of USA coins published and updated annually since 1947, Gives average selling prices by dealers for USA coins.

Reeded Edge - Grooved lines that run vertically around the coin. Used on all modern USA coins from dime to dollar to discourage dishonest practice of clipping off part of the metal.