GLOSSARY

A

Alloy A combination of two or more metals ex. Kruggerand
American Eagle A modern bullion coin struck by the United States Mint in the form of silver (since 1986), gold (since 1987), and platinum (since 1997).
Ask The price that a dealer offers to sell

B

Bear Market A time in the stock market where it experiences a general decline, generally at around 20% over a two-month period. Not to be confused with “correction,” which is a short-term trend that occurs over a duration of less than two months.
Bid The price that a dealer is willing to buy
Blank A metal disc before it is struck into a coin. Also may be referred to as a “planchet.”
Bullion Gold, silver, platinum, or palladium in the form of bars or ingots with a purity of a minimum of 99.5%. Trades below, at, or slightly above their intrinsic metal value.
Bullion coin A coin made of gold, silver, platinum or palladium with a symbolic face value, but derives its value from the market of its underlying metal. Bullion coins also trade at a slight premium over their metal content, unlike numismatic coins which trade on its rarity and artistic value.
Bullion value See Intrinsic value
Bull Market A time in the stock market where it experiences a general upward trend. Typically associated with increased investor confidence and increased investing in anticipation of future price increases. Bullish market trends often begins before the general economy shows clear signs of recovery, such as rising market indices (e.g. NASDAQ) and high number of trades.
Business Strike A coin struck for general circulation, rather than for collectors

C

C A mint mark on a coin to indicate that it was struck at the Charlotte, North Carolina branch of the United States Mint
Canadian Maple Leaf A modern bullion coin minted by the Royal Canadian Mint
CC A mint mark on a coin to indicate that it was struck at the Carson City, Nevada branch of the United States Mint. Very rare and coveted by collectors.
Correction A short-term trend (less than two months) in the stock market where it experiences a general decline before prices return to pre-correction levels

D

D A mint mark on a coin to indicate that it was struck at the Dahlonega, Georgia branch (1838-1861) or Denver, Colorado branch (1906-present) of the United States Mint.
Dahlonega A branch of the United States Mint located at Dahlonega, Georgia that struck gold coins from 1838-1861, when it was seized by the Confederacy.
Die One of two steel rods that is engraved, punched or hubbed with the date, lettering, devices and other emblems used to strike one side of a coin.
Die Variety Any distinct variation from a specific issue caused by using errors in the preparation or maintenance of the coin dies, e.g. double dies, repunched mintmarks and dates, variations in the placement or alignment of mintmarks, letters and numbers, devices, etc., changes to the die surfaces from overpolishing or die-clashes, and a number of other minor variations in the final strike of the coin. Not to be confused with error coins, where the errors are caused by the manufacturing process itself e.g. off-center strikes, wrong planchet types, planchet preparation mistakes, etc.
Double Eagles A United States gold coin used from 1850 to 1933 with a legal tender of $20. Double Eagles contain 90% gold and 10% copper alloy. Derived its term from the “Eagle” coin, which is a $10 coin. Examples: Liberty Head, Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

E

Eagle A gold coin struck by the United States Mint before 1933 with a legal tender of $10. The largest of the four circulating monetary denomination base-names coins in the United States: cent, dime, dollar, and eagle. Not to be confused with the “American Eagle” modern bullion coins.
Engraver The person responsible for the design and/or punches used to construct a particular coin.
Face value The legal monetary value that is stamped on a coin or printed on a bill itself by the minting authority. Similar: Symbolic face value
Exergue The space on the reverse of a coin typically below the central design and often containing information such as the mint year, mint facility, etc.

F

Fiat money 1. Coins and paper money that possess legal tender as appointed by an authoritative order of the government but do not hold precious metal value or backed by gold or silver. 

2. The flat or curved part of a coin without a design

Field The open area, background or blank area on a coin other than the exergue.
Fineness The portion of precious metal in a coin or bar expressed in terms of one thousand parts or a percentage of one thousand parts. Example: The South African Kruggerand bullion coin is .9197 fine, therefore containing 91.97% gold.
Fine weight The weight of precious metal contained in a coin, ingot, or bar as opposed to the item’s gross weight, which includes the weight of the alloying metal. Fine weight is determined by multiplying the gross weight by the fineness.

G

Gem A term used to describe coins that grade “Mint State” or “Proof 65” and better.
Gold standard A monetary system in which the nation’s currency is defined in terms of gold and that any and all of the legal tender is interchangeable with gold.
Grain The oldest weight unit for gold, based on a single seed of a cereal. 1 troy ounce = 480 grains.

H

Half Eagle Mainly, a $5 face value gold coin in the United States minted during 1795-1929 for circulation. Literally named for half the value of an Eagle. Since 1980s, produced as commemorative and bullion coins.
Hallmark A mark or stamp on a precious metal to indicate its producer, purity or other characteristics.
Hedge Any technique designed to minimize loss or risk by positioning in one market in order to offset exposure to adverse or unexpected price fluctuations in some opposite position in another market.

I

Intrinsic value Value of the precious metal content in a coin

J

K

Karat A unit of measurement from 1 to 24 used to indicate the proportion of gold in an alloy. 24k = Pure gold; 18k = 75% gold. Not to be confused with “carat,” which denotes the weight of a diamond
Kilogram 1,000 grams or 32.1507 troy ounces
Koala A platinum coin with a .995 fineness minted by the Australian Mint since 1987
Kruggerand A South African gold coin with .9197 fineness produced by the South African Mint Company. First minted in 1967 to encourage the South African gold market

L

Legal tender Coins, paper bills and other types of currency issued by the government as official money that may be accepted as payment for legal debts and obligations
Legend An inscription on a coin such as a phrase or information about who minted the coin and for what purpose. Example: “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”
Liquidity The degree of ease an item can be converted to cash
London Fix Two daily bidding sessions in London of five major gold firms to “fix” or set the internationally recognized benchmark price for gold.

M

Market price The price at which a coin or bullion item trades
Metric ton 1,000 kilograms or 32,151 troy ounces
Mint mark Letters or symbols stamped on a coin to indicate which mintage facility it was struck
Modern issue Current coins struck for circulation or for sale to investors or collectors
Motto A phrase or slogan on a coin that expresses an important ideal Example: “In God We Trust”

N

Nugget 1. A modern gold bullion coin with a fineness of .9999 minted by Australia 

2. A precious metal naturally formed in a lump or irregularly-shaped mass found in nature

Numismatic coins Coins in which their prices depend more on its rarity, condition, date and/or mintage rather than its gold or silver content

O

O A mint mark on a United States coin to signify coins minted from the New Orleans Mint in Louisiana
Obverse The front or main side of a coin that bears the principal stamp or design
Ounce A unit of weight equivalent to 31.1035 grams. In precioaus metals, referred to as “troy ounce.”

P

Pattern A coin created as an experiment or trial coin to test a new design, denomination or metal, but is not approved for general circulation. Usually struck in metals other than the one proposed.
Philharmonic A modern gold bullion coin with a fineness of .999 minted by the Austria
Press Any coining machine
Proof Coins of a regular issue struck specially using special dies and planchets to produce a virtual flawless surface and sharper detail than its normal strike. Typically produced for the collector market

Q

Quarter Eagle A $2½ gold coin

R

Rally An advancing price movement after a period of little movement or a decline in the market
Rarity The number existing of any numismatic item, which can be of a particular grade and higher
Red Book Nicknamed for “A Guide Book of U.S. Coins,” the Red Book is an essential and comprehensive guide for U.S. coin collectors that lists all known U.S. coins along with photos, descriptions, original mintages and general retail prices. The Red Book is issued annually and features a bright red cover.
Regular Strike Synonymous with business strike
Restrike An officially issued reproduction of a former circulating coin
Reverse The back of a coin

S

S Mint Termed for coins struck at the branch mint in San Francisco, California
Silver Eagle A modern 1 ounce silver bullion coin issued by the U.S. Mint
Slabbed Coins Coins encapsulated in plastic to protect against wear, generally by one of the major grading services
Sleeper A coin that is undervalued or underpriced
Sovereign An English gold coin with a face value of one pound and possesses a gold content of 0.2354 troy ounce
Spot Price The daily quoted market value of a precious metal such as gold, silver, or platinum in bullion form
Spread The difference between the buying price and the selling price of a precious metal or trading unit
Symbolic Face Unit A nominal value assigned to legal tender coins that are sold for their metal content. Example: 1 oz Gold American Eagle carries a $50 face value, but sells for the value of gold content plus a 5%-8% premium

T

Territorial Gold Coins and bars struck by private mints during various gold rushes. These include coins not struck in territories.
Troy Ounce A unit of weight for precious metals. One troy ounce equals 31.1035 grams or 480 grains.
Type Coin A representative coin, usually a common date, from a particular issue of a specific design, size or metallic content

U

Uncirculated A coin in new condition, sometimes described as “Brilliant Uncirculated” or “BU.” Often used interchangeably with Mint State.

V-X

Y

Yield A measure of the annual return on an investment expressed as a percentage
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