PCGS - Professional Coin Grading Service
NGC - Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
ICG - Independent Coin Graders
ANACS - America's Oldest Grading Service
Certified Coin Exchange
PMG - Paper Money Guaranty
SPMC - Society of Paper Money Collectors
ANA - American Numismatic Association


Better Business Bureau
Bank Note Reporter
Coin World
FUN - Florida United Numismatists
ISNA - Indiana State Numismatic Association

John Reich Collector Society
MSNS - Michigan State Numismatic Society
NACA - North American Collectibles Association
Numismatic News
OSNA - Ohio State Numismatic Association
PAN - Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists
SMFCC - Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce
VAM World


 AG - About Good  A well-worn coin, nearly smooth, with few features visible. Better than Fair but less than Good.
 G - Good  A coin which shows a high degree of wear but the date and most letters are still readable.
 VG - Very Good  A coin which has extensive wear but has most letters and devices visible.
 F - Fine  A coin which has extensive wear but still has nearly all its lettering and prominent design features.
 VF - Very Fine  A coin which has had some wear, but has all the lettering and design features clearly readable.
 XF - Extremely Fine  A coin which has only light effects of circulation.
 AU - About Uncirculated  A coin that is close to Uncirculated or MS-60 Grade; Typically, either has full mint sharpness without mint bloom, or has nearly full mint luster with traces of rubbing / wear or enough bag marks to interfere with design details.
 BU - Brilliant Uncirculated  An Uncirculated coin with brilliant surfaces; the coin has never been in circulation; Uncirculated coins can be graded from MS-60 to MS-70.
 MS - Mint State  Coin which has never been in circulation; depending on the number of bag marks and surface contact indications, a Mint State coin can range from MS-60 to MS-70 (not a single mark).
 PR - Proof  Coin which has mirror-like quality given to its fields. Proofs are struck from dies whose fields have been polished to a high mirror-like degree.


 BM  Strike: Branch Mint Proof
 BMCA  Strike: Branch Mint Cameo
 BN  Color: Brown
 CA  Strike: Cameo
 CC  Mintmark: Refers to coins struck at the Carson City branch mint.
 D  Mintmark: Refers to coins struck at the Denver branch mint.
 DC  Surfaces: Deep Cameo
 DDO  Double Die Obverse
 DDR  Double Die Reverse
 DM  Surfaces: Deep Mirror Prooflike
 FB  Strike: Full Bands
 FBL  Strike: Full Bell Lines
 FH  Strike: Full Head
 FS  First Strike (All Eagles, Gold Buffalos Nickels, and Gold Spouse Coins)
 FS  Strike: Full Steps
 O  Mintmark: Refers to coins struck at the New Orleans branch mint.
 P  Mintmark: Refers to coins struck at the Philadelphia branch mint.
 PL  Surface: Prooflike
 RB  Color: Red-Brown
 RD  Color: Red
 S  Mintmark: Refers to coins struck at the San Francisco branch mint.
 SF  Surface: Satin Finifh
 SMS  Special Mint Set
 SP  Specimen
 W  Mintmark: Refers to coins struck at the West Point branch mint.


Here's a list of numismatic terms that have been used frequently by coin collectors over the years. We hope that the coin knowledge we provide will help you make the best choice in selecting the coins for your collection.

 Alloy  Combination of two or more metals.
 Altered Date  False date altered on a coin to make it appear more valuable.
 Aesthetic Appeal  The artistic appeal a coin has for the viewer and it can be a combination of attractive toning or luster, attractive planchet, and other attributes.
 Arrows  Design element usually found in the left (viewer’s right) claw of the eagle seen on many United States coins.
 Arrows and Rays  Term referring to the quarters and half dollars of 1853. The rays were removed in 1854 because of difficulties presented by the busy design.
 Arrows at Date  Term referring to the arrows to the left and right of the date, added to the dies to indicate a weight increase or decrease.
 Artificial Toning  Surface coloration, oxidation, toning applied to a coin artificially using chemicals, heat or fumes.
 Attributes  Elements that make up a coin’s grade. The main ones are marks (hairlines for Proofs), luster, strike, and eye appeal.
 Authentic  As represented; genuine.
 Bag Mark  Surface mark (nick, abrasion, scuff) acquired by a coin through contact with other coins in a mint bag.
 Barber Coinage  Common name for the Charles Barber designed Liberty Head dimes, quarters, and half dollars struck from 1892 until 1916.
 Beaded Border  A circle of beads around the rim of a coin, serving as decorative or protective border.
 Billon  Low grade silver (less than 50%) mixed with another metal.
 Brilliant Proof  Coin with mirrorlike fields and brilliant surfaces.
 Bronze  Alloy of copper, zinc and tin.
 Bullion  Precious metal (gold or silver) in form of bars or plate.
 Burnished  Polished, usually with an engraving tool to remove portions of a coin’s surface, to remove scratches, initials, or other marks, sometimes leaving a depression in the coin.
 Business Strike  Refers to a coin minted for circulation and commerce; opposite of Proof.
 Cameo  The central device or portrait of a coin is frosted; coin with satin or mirror-like surface, and which is set against a field which is Proof, thus highlighting the central portrait.
 Carbon Spot  Oxidation spot or area which usually forms on the surface on a copper, bronze, or nickel coin as a result of moisture.
 Cartwheel luster  Frosty mint luster or brilliance as found on a business strike coin, which, when held at an angle to the light and turned slowly, gives a moving "cartwheel" effect.
 Cent  One one-hundredth of the standard monetary unit.
 Certified Coin  A coin examined, graded and authenticated by an independent grading service; usually encapsulated in plastic.
 Choice  Signifies that a coin is one of the better examples of its class (ex. Choice Proof).
 Circulation Strike  Uncirculated coin intended for eventual use in commerce, as opposed to a Proof coin.
 Clash Mark  Outlines and traces of designs seen in the field of a coin caused by damage occurring when two dies come together without an intervening planchet. This causes certain obverse die designs to be transferred to the reverse die, and vice versa.
 Cleaning  The process of treating a coin to remove dirt, verdigris, and sediment from the surfaces. Also, the application of a chemical or of abrasive agents to a coin to remove toning or to change the coloration or the surface.
 Clipped  A term for an irregularly cut planchet. A clip can be straight or curved, depending upon where it was cut from the strip of metal.
 Coinage  The issuance of metallic money of a particular country.
 Commemorative  Coins issued to honor some person, place, or event and, in many instances, to raise funds for activities related to the theme.
 Copper-Nickel  The alloy (88% copper, 12% nickel) used for small cents from 1856 until mid-1864.
 Coronet Head  Alternate name for Braided Hair design by Christian Gobrecht (also called Liberty Head design).
 Corrosion  Damage that results when reactive chemicals act upon metal. When toning ceases to be a "protective" coating and instead begins to damage a coin, corrosion is the cause.
 Counterfeit  False coin, imitation of a genuine piece.
 Countermark / Counterstamp  Stamp or mark impressed on a coin to verify its use by another government or to indicate revaluation.
 Cud  An area of raised metal at the rim of a coin where a portion of the die crack broke off, leaving a void in the design.
 Designer  Artist who created a coin's design.
 Die  A piece of metal engraved with a design and used for stamping coins.
 Die Crack  A fine, raised line of a coin, caused by a broken die.
 Dipped Coin  Refers to a coin that has been cleaned chemically to remove oxidation or foreign matter.
 Double Eagle  The United States twenty-dollar coin.
 Double Die  Coin struck from a die that has been given two misaligned impressions from a hub.
 Eagle  U.S. ten-dollar gold coin.
 Engraver  The person who cuts the design into a coinage die.
 Field  The background portion of a coin's surface not used for a design or inscription.
 Filler  A coin in rare condition but rare enough to be included in a collection.
 Fineness  Purity of gold, silver or other precious metals, expressed in terms of one thousand parts. 90% pure gold =.900 fine.