Like any industry, coin collecting has its own terms and jargons. If you are a novice coin collector, it is best if you can understand the most commonly used coin collecting terms. Understanding these terms can greatly help in your coin collecting effort. One of the best ways you can learn and understand these coin collecting terms is to read books related to collecting coins. For instance, books such as the official Black Book for coins in the U.S. can provide a complete glossary of coin collection terminologies and concepts.
If you'd rather not buy books, you can use the free resources on the Internet to learn about coin collecting terms. For example, the Professional Coin Grading Service provides a dynamic list of coin collecting terms in its online glossary. This glossary is regularly updated so you can understand the latest terminologies being used in the coin collection market.
Commonly Used Terms in Coin Collection
When you hear the word "bullion", probably the first things that will come to your mind are gold and platinum bars. However, "bullion" is a term that is also used in identifying coins. For example, there are silver coin bullions or gold coin bullions.
You will also regularly encounter the term "coin grades". Grades are simply the numerical or adjectival value of a coin. A grader identifies the amount of wear on the coin. A coin circulated widely can receive too much wear. A coin is basically graded based on the amount of wear it has received.
You should also know how to identify a "mint mark" when evaluating a coin. A mint mark is a special inscription or mark on the coin. It is usually in small letters and identifies the US Mint that produced the coin. Mint marks provide good clues on the value of coins.
You may also find an "uncirculated coin" and wonder what it is. As the term implies, this type of coin has never been used or circulated. What this means is that an uncirculated coin will not have any wear on it There are also different types of uncirculated coins such as Mint State uncirculated, Brilliant Uncirculated, or New.
If you acquire a coin from an auction, the "buyer fee" is the percentage you'll need to pay on top of your winning bid. For instance, you bid $1000 for a coin with a buyer fee of 5% and you win, you will have to pay $1050 ($1000 plus 5% of your bid, which is $50).
Carbon spots refer to the dark (brown or black) spots that are found on a coin's surface. These spots can range in sizes and have different shapes. These carbon spots are the result of oxidation. The presence of carbon spots on a coin can negatively affect its value.
Understanding the Structure of a Coin
It is important also to understand the structure of a coin. There are common terms that are used to identify the parts of a coin. Knowing the official terms for the coin's anatomy could help you in evaluating a coin.
For example, a coin's "edge" refers to its outer border. The edge could be a plain line or composed of letters or different decorations. The coin's edge is different from its "rim". The rim is the raised part on the outer edge of the coin. This design is made to protect the coin from wear and scratches.
The main part of a coin is the "relief". The relief is the main design of the coin usually an image, a face, or a symbol. The relief is set on the coin's "field", which is the smooth part of the coin. It has no image, markings, or design.
There are hundreds of coin collecting terms. It is not easy to memorize all coin collecting terms and lingo. However, you need to remember the most important terms especially those related to coin grading.