Coin Glossary

You can find most popular coin collecting phrases in this coin glossary.

Coin Glossary


PCGS - See the "Professional Coin Grading Service". See Coin Grading

pattern - a coin that was struck as an experiment or as a trial piece. Usually, a new design or made of experimental metal alloys. U.S. Pattern coins from recent years are illegal to own because they are still considered government property. However, older patterns were released to dignitaries, etc and are legally available to buy or sell in the numismatic market place.

peace dollar - United States silver dollar made during the years 1921 to 1935. This design was first minted after World War II, and has the word "peace" on the reverse.  Hence the nick-name "peace" dollar caught on. Made of 90% pure silver and weighing a little less than an ounce.

peace medal - a U.S. five cent coin featuring a design similar to the original Indian Peace Medal commissioned for the Lewis and Clark's expedition. It depicts two symbols of peace and friendship in the center: hands shaking and crossed peace pipes.

pennyweight - a penny weight is a means of weighing precious metals. Comes from the British weight system. There are 20 pennyweights in a troy ounce.

planchlet - a blank round piece of metal from which the coin is struck.

platinum - a precious metal scarcer than gold! Metallic silver-like in color. 

pop -abbreviation for "population".  Used in reference to the population, or number, of coins graded or certified by a grading service for a specific date or mintmark.  Example, "the PCGS pop for MS69 2003 silver eagles is 3,500".

PR69 The attribute "PR" is an abbreviation for "proof".  The numbers that follow (in this example 69) indicate the quality of the coin.  The quality numbers run from 1 to 70, with a 70 being an absolutely prefect coin.  See related topic-  " MS69 ".

precious metal - metals of value. Typically gold, silver, platinum. However, can include palladium and rhodium.

price guide - coin collecting book that lists typical selling prices of coins in various grades. 

private striking from mint dies – these are coins struck from dies sold by the mint as scrap metal primarily by or for Joseph Mickley and Montroville Dickeson.

private pattern from non mint dies – these are coins struck by outside companies either under contract for the mint or in the hopes of getting a mint contract.

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) - one of the most popular and respected independent coin grading services in the USA.  For a fee they will grade, certify a coin as genuine, and seal it in a protective capsule type display holder.  See Coin Grading

proof - a coin produced from polished dies and/or planchlets. Most often each proof coin is struck twice/or more which gives the coin a very sharp degree of detail and mirror like surface. Proof coins are usually made for numismatic purposes, presentations, or souvenirs. Proofs are usually not made to circulated in commerce. Mishandling can lower the value and grade of a proof coin. Proofs are sold by the mint during their year of production at a premium to cover their special manufacturing costs. Sometimes sold only in sets.

proof set - a group of the different denominations of the proof coins made for one year. Sometimes packaged as a set by the mint. Example: One of each proof: cent, nickel, dime, quarter, and half.  Occasionally there will be some coins that are not included in the proof sets.

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