Coin Collecting - Terms & Acronyms

Many of the frequently asked questions about coin collecting have to do with the terms that we use on our site. Here is a list of some of the more common terms and acronyms used in the coin collecting hobby. Although it is not a complete listing, it should give you enough information to help you learn some of the terminology.  For more information on other terms and coin collecting in general, be sure check out our Reference Books page. 

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ACG Accu-Grade - Grading service
AG Almost Good - 3 on the Sheldon grading scale.
ANA American Numismatic Association
ANACS American Numismatic Association Certification Service - Grading service
ASE American Silver Eagle - one ounce silver bullion coins issued from 1986-date.
AU Almost Un-circulated 50-58 on the Sheldon grading scale.
BU Brilliant Un-circulated - an un-circulated coin graded MS-60 or above.
BV Bullion value
Bag Marks Small nicks, scratch and marks resulting from coin movement when transported in bags.
Blast White An extremely white coin.
Bn Brown
Brn Brown
Bugs Bunny A Franklin Half that looks like Franklin has buck teeth.
C C mint mark - Charlotte gold coins only.
CC CC mint mark - Carson City
Cameo A coin, usually a Proof, with a frosted central area surrounded by a mirror like field.
Choice Proof A proof coin graded MS-65 or better
Clad coins that have a core of one type of metal and an outer layer of another
Cleaned A coin that was cleaned at some time.
Commemorative A coin that was issued to honor a special event, place or person
Cud Extra metal on a coin from when the coin is struck by a broken die
D D mint mark - Denver mint 1906 - date or (Dahlonega - gold only 1838-1861)
DCam Deep Cameo - high grade proof.
DD Double Die - A coin that was struck twice with the same die, with one strike slightly off from the other.
DDO Doubled Die Obverse - die variety
DDR Doubled Die Reverse - die variety
DPML Deep Mirror Proof Like - Business strike, with deep mirrored planchet.
Die Crack A mark in the coin caused by a broken or cracked die.
EF Extra Fine - 40-45 on the Sheldon grading scale.
Edge The edge of the coin, it can be plain, reeded or lettered.
F Fine - 12-15 on the Sheldon grading scale.
FBL Full Bell Lines - Franklin Half.
FH Full Head - Standing Liberty Quarter.
FS Full Steps - All 5 steps showing on a Jefferson Nickel.
FSB Full Split Bands - Mercury dime
Field The flat background/surface on a coin, medal or token.
Filler A low grade coin - 1-2 on the Sheldon grading scale.
Full Horn Full horn showing on a buffalo nickel.
G Good - 4-6 on the Sheldon grading scale.
Hairlines Light/very fine scratches in the surface of a coin.
ICG Independent Coin Gradin - Grading service.
Key Date Low mintage / rare coins in a coin series normally the most expensive 
   ie: 1909 S VBD Lincoln cent.
L L mint mark - only found on the 1864 Indian cent. Stands for Longacre the designer.
Luster The brilliance of a coin, resulting from light reflection.
MM Mint Mark
MS Mint state - 60-70 on the Sheldon grading scale.
Matte Proof A proof coin with a fine granular surface - rather than mirror like.
Motto A saying imprinted on a coin - many of the state quarters have the state motto on them.
Mule A coin struck using two different dies not meant to be used together 
  ie: dime on 1 side, penny on the other.
NGC Numismatic Guaranty Corporation - Grading service
NTC Numistrust Corporation - Grading service
O O mint mark - New Orleans mint
OMM Over Mint Mark. Two different mint marks.
Obv Obverse or front of coin.
Obverse Front of coin
P P mint mark - Philadelphia mint
PCGS Professional Coin Grading Service - Grading service
PCI Photo Certified Institute - Grading service
PL Proof Like
PQ Premium Quality
Pattern A coin struck as a test piece for a new design.
Planchet Disc of metal that a coin is struck on.
Porous A coin with a rough or granular/pitted surface from oxidation.
Prf Proof. Type of coin production and / or Grade 60 -70 on the Sheldon grading scale.
Proof Proof. Type of coin production and / or Grade 60 -70 on the Sheldon grading scale.
R# Rarity number 1-10 - The higher the number the rarer the coin is
  R1 - very common
  R10 - next to impossible to find
RB Red and Brown
RD Red
RPD Re-punched Date - date stamped more than once.
RPM Re-punched Mint Mark - mint mark stamped more than once.
Raw Refers to a coin that is not slabbed or certified.
Restrike A coin minted from original dies, but produced at a later date than the originals.
Rev Reverse or back of coin.
Reverse Back of coin.
Rim Nick A nick on the rim / edge of a coin.
S S mint mark - San Francisco mint
SAE American Silver Eagle - one ounce silver bullion coins issued 1986-date.
SEGS Soverign Entities Grading Service - Grading service
SMS Special Mint Set 1965 -1967
Slab A coin graded and encased in a plastic holder by a professional grading service - with a label describing the coin.
T1 Type 1 - original design
T2 Type 2 - design changed from type 1
Toning Coloration on a coin
UNC Un-circulated
VAM# A number assigned to Morgan and Peace Dollar varieties - (Van Allen and Mallis) 1 - 230
VF Very Fine - 20-35 on the Sheldon grading scale.
Variety The differences in the manufacture of the same coin.
W W mint mark - West Point mint
XF Extra Fine - 40 - 45 on the Sheldon grading scale.

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coin collecting information - terms and acronyms
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