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Dictionary of Coin Collector Terms and Definitions:

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Information about New Presidential Dollar coins:

~Unusual Edge Letters on Dollars

~US mint press release.

~Production Schedule of Dollars to be released

~Legislation Authorizing Presidential Dollars in 2007


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"A Glossary of Coin Collecting Words and Definitions"

Locate the meaning of coin dealer and numismatic words.


that start with the letter

" B "


bag mark

- Mark(s) on a coin that occurred during the production process or while at the mint. Bag marks may occur when coins bump into each other as they are placed in bags at the mint. Larger size coins typically exhibit more bag marks than smaller ones. A coin can still be un-circulated even if it has obvious nicks or bag marks.

bag stain

- discoloration, tarnish, or toning on the surface of a coin because of coming in contact with the cloth of a coin bag.  Long term storage in canvas or cloth bags may cause such bag stains.

bank notes

- paper money.  In the 1800's banks often issued their own paper money.  These bank notes were backed by bank resources, rather than governments.  The term banknote continues to this day, as a reference to paper currency.  See paper money and paper currency.


- usually an "ingot" shaped as a rectangle. Can be gold, silver, or any precious metal. Gold and silver bars vary in size from 1 gram up to thousands of ounces.


- nick name for United States dimes, quarters, and half dollars designed by Charles E. Barber.  Barber coins we minted from 1892 to 1916.  Originally these coins were called Liberty Head because they depict a “liberty head” design on the front (obverse) and a eagle with shield on the reverse. Although Charles Barber designed other coins, only the Barber Dimes, Barber Quarters, and Barber Half dollars have acquired this nickname. (Sometimes misspelled as barbar.)

Barber, Charles E.

- Charles E Barber was chief engraver of the US Mint in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Coins that he designed often have an almost microscopic "B" on them, often at the base of the neck on the portraits.  He designed various United States coins for circulation, commemoratives, and some pattern coins such as the rare $4 Flowing Hair Stella coin.

beads or beading

- round bead-like decorations on the surface of a coin.  When it is placed on a coin for artistic reasons, it is often a circle of beads on the face of a coin, usually near the rim or edge.

bicentennial, or bicentenial coins

- usually refers to special coins minted for the 200th anniversary of the United States of America.  US Quarters, Half Dollars and the Eisenhower dollar dated 1976 had a special commemorative type reverse designs. Some Bicentennial coins were minted in 1975 with the 1976 date.


- the price a dealer (or dealers) are offering to pay for a coin. Sometimes used to indicate a standing offer at that price from a coin dealer or on a trading network. Also, see "site unseen". 


- a low grade of silver.  Although sometimes silver in color, usually made of part silver and part copper.

bimetallic  (Bi Metallic)

- a coin made of at least two different metals that are sealed to each other.  The two different metals in a bi-metallic coin are typically observable, as in the copper-nickel-clad US coins of today.  Example - look at a US dime or quarter from the side and you can observe the copper core bonded between outer layers of mostly nickel.


- see buffalo nickels and buffalo gold coins.


- slang used to indicate one eighth of a dollar. In early days of the USA the Spanish Milled Dollar (pillar dollar or 8 reales) circulated. Due to a shortage of smaller coins these silver dollars were often cut into pieces shaped like slices of pizza. A small piece equal to one eighth of the dollar was called a "piece of eight" or a "bit". The nursery rime "two bits, four bits, 6 bits, a dollar" comes from this time in history."  A bit would be the equivalent of 12 1/2 cents. Example, two bits equals two eighths or a quarter.

- a blank piece of metal on which a coin design can be stamped. Also called a planchlet (planchet).  Usually already cut into the shape of a coin - round, flat and plan, without any design. See planchet or flan.
- a surface flaw or appearance of imperfection on the surface of a coin.  Bag marks, discoloration, tarnish, spots, nicks are examples of blemishes.
Blue Book
- Coin collecting price guide that lists the wholesale prices that a US coin dealer might pay.  Has a blue cover, hence the term blue book. Differs from the Red Book in that the Red Book (GuideBook to US Coins) lists the approximate retail values of US coins.
Blue Sheet
- Nickname for the Certified Coin Dealer newsletter.  Printed on bluish paper.  The bluesheet lists various US coins and bid/ask dealer prices for some of these certified/graded coins.  See grey sheet.
- identifies a coin that was returned by a coin grading/certification in a poly bag or flip and not certified/graded because of some problem with the coin. Most coin grading services charge to examine a coin, even if they decide not to grade, slab or certify the coin.   
- A coin that falls on the edge between two grades.  Most often used as "borderline uncirculated", indicating a high grade almost uncirculated coin.  Such a coin might fall in the range of AU55 to AU59 in the coin grading point scale..
- see "show".
branch mints
- minting branches of the U.S. government minting facility.  The Philadephia Mint has been the main mint for US coins.  Other mints are considered branch mints.  See Carson City, Charlotte, Denver, Delognega, New Orleans, San Francisco, and West Point.
brilliant uncirculated
- a descriptive term used to indicate an uncirculated coin that still retains a lot of the brilliant luster. Not a heavily toned coin. BU is used to abbreviate brilliant uncirculated.
broad strike
- When coins are minted a collar surrounds the coin blank and holds it in place.  This collar keeps the metal from spreading out when the coin is struck  If a coin blank is not properly seated in the collar, and it is struck, the result will be an odd size or broadstruck coin.
- an alloy (mixture) of copper, zinc, and tin.  Color usually brownish yellow.
brown spotting
- brown or rust colored spots appearing on the surface of a coin.  Often a form of tarnish or an oxidation type reaction with the coin's surface or something that has adhered to the coin's surface. Some times brownish yellow or red.  See rust spots.
- abbreviation for Brown.  A natural common color for copper coins.  
- a coin that has been brushed or cleaned with a wire brush, or some other material.  The surface will show fine lines, or hairline scratches from the cleaning.       
- Brilliant Uncirculated.  A coin grading term that indicates a coin has no wear, has never been exposed to circulation, and shows a surface brilliance as that of a newly minted coin. Such mint state coins will fall between MS60 and MS70 on the coin grading scale.       
buffalo gold coin
- 1 ounce bullion type of United States gold coins.  First issued in 2006.  Contains 1 ounce of .999 fine (99.9% pure) gold and has a $50 face value.  Official US government legal tender coin issued by the US mint.  Similar in gold content to the Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins. The US mint began producing smaller size buffalo gold coins in 2008, with the introduction of tenth, fourth, and half ounce gold buffalo coins.
buffalo nickel
- old buffalo US five cent coins were minted from 1913 to 1938.  These old nickels depicted an Indian Head design on one side and the Buffalo or American Bison on the other.  The buffalo-bison design was revived in the year 2005 for a one year special minting on the US nickel again.  United States gold coins and a commemorative silver dollar have also been made with a buffalo design.
buffalo round
- buffalo rounds are sometimes call buffalo or indian head silver rounds.  Minted by private mints and refineries they usually contain one ounce of silver. Often they feature a design like that of the old Buffalo nickels with a buffalo on one side and an Indian's head on the other.  Buffalo silver rounds usually sell for close to the value of silver bullion they contain.
- a polishing of a coin sometimes with an abrasive that leaves a finish that attempts to counterfeit mint luster. A buffed coin often is worth less than one that has not been cleaned. See whizzed.
-term used when referring to items made of precious metal. Particularly silver, gold, and platinum. Often produced in the form of ingots, bars, rounds, and coins. Bullion value of a coin would be the "value of the metal" the coin contains.
bullion coin
- coins made of precious metal and traded at current bullion prices, or at a small premium over bullion.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
- United States government agency that produces paper money for the U.S. and some other countries.
burnished blank or burnished die
- treatment of a coin blank or die to give it a special slightly sandy or polished look. Sometimes burnishing is done with chemicals or by special polishing. Starting in 2006 the US Mint made Silver Eagle dollar coins (with the W mint mark) with special burnished coin blanks.  Under magnification you can notice a slight difference in the coin's field or background.
- polishing or rubbing the surface of a coin or coin blank to make it shiny.  Burnishing of a minted coin is often considered detrimental and should be mentioned in any coin description.
bury or buried
- purchasing a coin or coins for more than you can get for them.  Example - A dealer might be buried in bullion gold coins when he purchased them when spot gold was much higher than it is now, and he can no longer sell them at a profit because gold prices have come down.
business strike
- a coin produced for general use and circulation. Non-business strikes would be coins such as proofs, and special uncirculated coins or sets not intended to circulate.
- portrait on a coin, usually displaying the head, or head and shoulders.
buyer fee or buyers fee
- a fee imposed on the buyer in a coin or stamp auction.  Usually calculated as a percentage above the winning bid price.  Example, a bidder bids $200 for a coin and wins the auction.  Because the auction imposes a buyers fee of 5% the bidder will have to pay $210 for the coin ($200 for the bid price Plus 5% or $10 buyers fee).  Some auctions don't have buyer fees.  The auction company should disclose all such fees prior to the opening bid.  See related subject - seller fees.
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Popular search terms:


Liberty gold coin


Buffalo gold coin



Gold price

.999 fine gold



Where the investor goes to buy precious metals.

Buy gold online - quickly, safely and at low prices

Get a FREE gram of gold when you sign up!  For a limited time!

Trade online, in amounts as small as $20 at a time


New Presidential Dollar coins:

~Unusual Edge Letters on President coins

~US mint $ coin press release.

~Production Schedule for upcoming Dollars.

~Legislation Authorizing Presidential Dollar Coins in 2007.


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