The following terms appear are commonly used in numismatics. A basic understanding of them can make the new collector's experience in this hobby more enjoyable. Abrasion:
A mark on a coin caused by contact with another coin.
A mark on a coin caused by contact with other coins when placed inside a bag for shipment to a bank. Most large-sized gold coins, show extensive bagmarks from this process.
A design element employing a raised circle with the outer circumference called the rim. On Liberty Head gold coins, the border consists of beads.
A coin which was struck for general circulation. Business strikes were intended to be used in the normal course of commerce.
Impressions of a portion of the detail of one side of a coin onto another in the field of a die facing it. Clashmarks occur when dies strike each other during the coinage process without a planchet or blank between them.
The relative rarity of a specific issue in a specific grade when compared to another issue in the same grade.
A ranking of the five or six finest known examples of a specific issue.
A piece of fabricated steel which stamps the design into a planchet.
Distinct varieties within a specific issue caused by using and/or combining new dies within a coinage run.
The cylindrical boundary of a coin.
Raised ribs on the edge of a coin which serve as an anti-counterfeiting device. All Liberty Head gold coins have a reeded edge.
A combination of characteristics such as luster, strike and coloration which make a coin, literally, "appealing to the eye."
The rating of a coin's place on a numerical scale which encompasses the range between extreme wear and perfection.
Fine scratches which are caused by cleaning a coin with an abrasive.
A group of coins, which can vary greatly in size, which have been taken off the market by a non-numismatic source and which re-enter the market through a numismatic source. A hoard may contain one specific date or many dates. When a hoard contains multiple examples of one date, this issue will lose value but other dates which share its design may gain value through increased collector demand.
A date in a series which is recognized as an especially difficult date to locate in all grades. As an example, key dates in the Type Three double eagle series are the 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887 and the 1891.
A letter or symbol that identifies the mint that produced a coin. As an example, the letter "S" indicates that a United States coin was struck at the San Francisco Mint.
A coin with no wear. Mint State coins are rated on a scale which goes from Mint State-60 to Mint State-70.
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, an East Coast third party grader and authenticator of coins.
The front or the "head" side of a coin.
A term which refers to the total number of examples known of a specific issue.
The Professional Coin Grading Service, a West Coast third party grader and authenticator of coins.
The chain of ownership of a coin or a collection. A coin pedigreed to a famous collection typically carries a premium over a non-pedigreed coin.
A listing published by both NGC and PCGS which lists the number of coins graded and how the individual coins break down. Each date in the various gold series is listed in both services' reports.
Within the parameters of this book, the term "Premium Quality" refers to coins which grade About Uncirculated-50 or higher for rare dates and Mint State-62 or higher for common dates.
A coin which is struck specially for collectors on a polished planchet. Proof coins receive multiple blows of the dies and afforded special care and handling.
A coin struck for circulation which has some of the reflective qualities of a Proof coin. Liberty head gold coins that are Prooflike can sell for substantial premiums.
The back or the "tail" side of a coin.
A coin which is underrated and undervalued is said to be a "sleeper." In the Type Three double eagle series, the 1891 is one example of an issue that is currently regarded as a sleeper.
Type One Double Eagle:
A United States twenty dollar gold piece struck at either the Philadelphia, New Orleans or San Francisco mints between 1850 and 1866. This type is most easily identifiable by the absence of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse.
Type Two Double Eagle:
A United States twenty dollar gold piece struck at either the Philadelphia, Carson City or San Francisco mints between 1866 and 1876. This type is most identifiable by the presence of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse and the value denoted as TWENTY D.
Type Three Double Eagle:
A United States twenty dollar gold piece struck at either the Philadelphia, New Orleans, Carson City, San Francisco or Denver mints between 1877 and 1907. This type is most identifiable by the value denoted as TWENTY DOLLARS.
A coin which shows inferior detail as a result of the striking process. A weakly struck coin is only accorded a reduced value if most examples of the specific date in question are well struck.
A coin which shows good detail as the result of the striking process. A well struck coin is accorded high value if most examples of the specific date in question are weakly struck.
A coin with no wear. See "Mint State."