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Abrasion - Scratches or scuffs on the surface of a coin. Sometimes the over polishing of dies is referred to as die abrasion

Adjustment - To fine tune something. Sometimes referring to the adjustment made on the pressure of the dies to mint coins. Die adjustment strikes will have weak, even areas on both sides suggesting a low pressure strike.

Album - A book style holder for organising coins. Some collectors will use a 3 ring binder with pages to store coins in 2X2 cardboard holders.

Alloy - A substance composed of two or more metals

Altered - Changed or manipulated. Counterfeiters will alter the date of a common cent to that of a more rare date. Sometimes 1944-D cents are altered to create a counterfeit 1914-D cent.

Annealing - Coin blanks are heated, then cooled and rinsed to prevent them from becoming brittle and breaking during the striking process. This heating and cooling process is know as "annealing".

Authentic - Not a counterfeit or replica coin. A coin issued by the government as official coinage.

Bag - Bag usually refers to a canvas sack cents are put in at the mint. A mint sealed bag is sewn shut.

Bag Mark - Marks or scuffs on a coin caused from bumping into other coins at the mint or in the original mint bag.

Binder - Typically refers to a 3 ring notebook that holds removable pages used to store coins in.

Blakesly Effect - When examining clipped planchets, the side of the coin opposite of the clip will exhibit what is know in the coin industry as the "Blakesly Effect". During the upsetting process or rimming of planchets, if a section of the planchet is missing, there will be an absence of pressure in that area causing the opposite side of the coin to be flat and not as formed.

Blank - A disk of metal after it has been punched from a sheet of flat metal. After the blank is milled to form the edge it is referred to as a planchet. Many collectors today do not understand the difference between the two and will sometimes even refer to something as a "blank planchet".

Blemish - An imperfection on the surface of a coin. Spots and light scratches may be referred to as blemishes.

Brass - A copper based alloy containing Zinc.

Broad Strike - The result of a coin being struck when not properly seated in the collar. This will cause the coin to spread out and have a larger than normal diameter.

Brockage - A coin that has an incuse mirror image of itself imprinted on top of the original image.

Bronze - An alloy of Copper and Tin

Business Strike - A coin minted for general circulation.

Bust - A portrait of a person on a coin. The head ans shoulders of Lincoln is the bust on Lincoln cents.

Cameo - Referring to proof coins, it is the mirror like image of the field areas with the more frosted look of the raised areas of the coin.

Cent - One hundredth of one dollar. Sometimes referred to as a "penny".

Certified - A coin that has been shown to be authentic by a professional third party grading service.

Cherry Pick - To select only the best of a group of coins. Sometimes searching through circulated coins for varieties is referred to as cherry picking.

Circulated - A coin that shows wear from being used.

Coin - A piece of metal minted and issued by a government for use as money

Collar - The part that surrounds the rim of a coin as it is being minted to prevent it from changing shape as the dies strike the coin.

Condition - Usually refers to the physical state of a coin, or how much wear it shows.

Contact Mark - See bag mark

Copper - A ductile metal used as part of the composition of Lincoln cents

Copy - A reproduction of a key date coin with the word "COPY" stamped on it, usually to fill a void in an album. A copy has no value to collectors.

Corrosion - A chemical reaction on the surface of a coin. Copper cents stored in holders containing PVC with have a greenish corrosion on the surface. Damage caused from corrosion is irreversible.

Counterfeit - Fake. A coin altered to resemble another, more valuable coin.

Cud - Extra metal connecting to the rim on the surface of a coin caused by a broken die.

Cull - A damaged coin that has little or no value over face value.

Damage - Injury or destruction to a coin. Holes are a form of intentional damage. Coins can be damaged in countless ways such as being ran over, smashed, bent, or otherwise mangled.

Denomination - The difference in monetary face value of coins. Lincoln cents are one cent or 1/100 of a dollar.

Design - The image on the surface of a coin.

Designer - The person who designs or plans a certain image for a coin.

Die - In coinage, a die is a hardened cylinder shaped piece of steel used to stamp the design into one side of a coin. A single set of dies may strike hundreds of thousands of coins before they are taken out of use.

Die Clash - When a set of die strike each other without a planchet between them. This sometimes leaves an impression of the opposite die. Coins that are made from these damaged dies will show the clash marks.

Die Crack - A crack in a die. This will show on coins made from the damaged die as a raised line.

Die Defect - A defect in the die. Any coins minted from a defective die will show the same damage as the die.

Die State - As a die aged or is used, it changes. Sometimes it will develop cracks or abrasions that are transferred to the coin. Each of these changes is a different die state, the state the die was in when it struck the coin.

Die Variety - The specific die that was used to make a number of coins. For example a repunched mint mark on a die is a type of die variety different from other dies.

Doubled Die - Refers to a coin that was struck with a die that received two misaligned impressions from the hub. The coin will show a doubled image over the original image.

Double Strike - When a die bounces and leaves a second image that is slightly offset from the first. The first image will become flat in appearance behind the secondary image.

Edge - The side of the coin that is neither the obverse or the reverse side.

Effigy - The likeness of a person (Lincoln) on the obverse side of a cent

Elongated Coin - A cent that has been put through a roller to roll it into a flat, oval shape.

Encapsulate - To seal a coin in a plastic holder. Usually done by a professional third party grading service. Sometimes referred to as a slabbed coin.

Engraver - The person who engraves the image of a coin into the die.

Error - A mistake.

Face Value - The monetary value of a coin. Lincoln cents have a face value of one cent or 1/100 of a dollar.

Filler - Usually a coin that is damaged or worn too bad to be properly graded. An inexpensive way to fill a void, such as a key date, in a collection.

Field - The flat background part of the coin.

Flan - Sometimes blanks or planchets are referred to as flans.

Flip Strike - An error cause by a coin flipping over after being struck and being struck again by the opposite die. Both sides of the coins will show a faint image of the other side.

Finning - When a thin flange rises vertically from the rim of a coin. This is caused by excessive pressure causing the metal to be pressed up between the die and the collar. Sometimes from a tilted die. It can be in a small area or the coin or cover the entire circumference.

Gem - Used to describe the high quality of a coin.

Gouge - A mark on a coin caused by something hard or sharp striking the coin and causing damage.

Grade - The rating system used to describe a coins condition. Business strike coins are graded on a scale of 1 - 70.

Hub - A type of puches that impresses the coins mirror image into a die.

Hairline Scratch - A very light scratch on the surface of a coin or die.

Head Side - The front or portrait side of a coin.

Incuse - Opposite of being raised off of the surface, instead being pressed below the surface.

Intrinsic Value - A coins market value based on the price of the metal it is made from.

Junk - Damaged or otherwise culled coins are referred to as junk. The term is used more with Silver coins than with Lincoln cents.

Key Date - A low mintage coin which commands a higher value by collectors.

Legal Tender - Coins that are legal to use to pay a debt.

Legend - The main lettering on a coin.

Luster - The ability of a coins surface to reflect light as it was when it was first minted. Cents showing original mint luster are graded as mint state or about uncirculated.

Master Die - The die used to make hubs that are in turn used to make the dies that strike the planchet to mint coins.

Mint - The place where coins are minted. Lincoln cents are made at three different mints, Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Mint Error - A mistake made during the minting process.

Mint Mark - The letter below the date on Lincoln cents that marks which mint the coin was made at. Cents with no mint mark are made at the Philadelphia mint.

Mint Roll - A roll of cents of the same year that has been rolled at the mint.

Mint Set - A special set of business strike coins issued by the mint for collectors. They are sealed in a plastic holder to keep them in mint state condition.

Mintage - The number of cents minted for a particular year.

Motto - The motto on Lincoln cents is "IN GOD WE TRUST"

Mule - A coin struck by two dies that did not belong together. An example would be a coin with a Lincoln cent obverse design and a dime reverse.

Mylar - A type of plastic considered safe to for long term coin storage.

Numismatist - Someone who collects or studies coins.

Numismatics - The hobby of collecting coins or currency.

Obverse - The heads side of a coin.

Off Center - When a planchet is no not centred as the die strikes it the image is impressed to one side ot the other. This is called an off center strike.

Offset Laser Proof Frosting - When the frosted part of a die is not aligned with the details. This only occurs on frosted Proof coins or frosted enhanced mint coins.

Original Roll - A roll of cents that was packaged by the mint or a bank from a mint bag of newly minted coins.

Over Strike - Usually referrs to a coin that was stamped on top of a coin that was already stamped. Sometimes the two designs can be from different denominations.

Patina - The surface film that builds up on coins over a period of time.

Pattern - Experimental coins that were never intended for circulation.

Penny - A cent is sometimes called a penny.

Plain - When referring to Lincoln cents and most other coins, plain means no mint mark. Plain Lincoln cents are minted at the Philadelphia mint.

Planchet - A coin blank that has been milled to put an edge on it.

Portrait - The front image on a cent such as Lincoln's bust.

Proof - A type, not a grade of coin that was made for collectors, using highly polished dies and not issued for general circulation.

Polyvinyl Chloride - PVC - An additive used in plastic to make it more pliable. Coin holders containing PVC can permanently damage copper coins.

Punched - Stamped or pressed into. Until 1990, the mint marks were punched into the dies by hand after the design had been engraved. This is why we sometimes find repunched mint marks. The punch operator would sometimes need to punch the letter into the die more than once.

Rare - Scarce or not common.

Raw - Not slabbed or professionally graded. A coin without a holder.

Relief - The raised part of the design on a coin.

Replica - A copy.

Repousse - In metal work means hammered into relief from the back side of the metal.

Reverse - The tails side or back of a coin.

Riddler - Works like a sieve to sort out planchets that are not the proper size.

Rim - The raised edge of a coin on the front and back sides.

Roll - A container, usually paper, that holds 50 cents.

Seigniorage - The profit margin from minting coins. The difference between the cost to mint a coin and the coins monetary value.

Slab - A professional coin holder.

Slider - A coin that usually claims a grade higher than it should, most likely from being cleaned or whizzed. These coins are not as valued by collectors as original coins that have not been cleaned. Some collectors will refer to coins as "sliders" if they think they could grade a step up from thier current grade. An example might be a coin in AU condition taken from circulation and getting it to grade uncirculated MS.

Spot - Corrosion or another stain on a coins surface.

Strike - To hit something. When the dies hit the planchet, this is called striking.

Tails Side - The reverse or back side of a coin.

Toning - Different color shades that develop on coins over time.

Type - Coins that are the same or different. Memorial cents are a different type of coin that the wheat cents.

Uncirculated - A coin that has not been in circulation and show no wear.

Unique - One of a kind.

Upsetting Mill - Blanks re fed into an upsetting mill to raise the rim on them to make a planchet.

Variety - Differences in the design of a coin.

Wheat Back - The design used from 1090-1959 that has two wheat heads on the reverse.

Whizzed - Brushed or cleaned coin. Doing this will lower the collector value of a coin drastically.

Year - The year a coin was minted.

Zinc - A white metal alloyed with Copper to make brass. The core of modern Lincoln cents is made of Zinc then plated with Copper.


AB - About Good - a grading term used to describe a coin.

ANA - American Numismatic Association.

AU - About Uncirculated - a grading term used to describe a coin.

CAM - Cameo, used to describe a type of proof finish.

D - Denver Colorado. Mint mark.

DCAM - Deep Cameo, used to describe a type of proof finish.

DD - Doubled Die

DDD - Die Deterioration Doubling

DDO - Doubled Die Obverse. Die variety.

DDR - Doubled Die Reverse. Die variety.

EDS - Early Die State. An early stage die state.

EF - EF40, EF45 Extremely Fine. Coin Grade.

F - F-12, F-15 Fine. Coin Grade.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

FR - FR-2, Coin Grade.

G - G-4, G-6 - Good - a grading term used to describe a coin.

ICGS - Independent Coin Grading Service.

LDS - Late Die State. A late stage die state.

MD - Mechanical or Machine Damage.

MS - MS60-MS70 Mint State. Business strike. Coin Grade.

NGC - Numismatic Guarantee Corporation. Professional coin grading service.

NN - Numismatic News.

P - Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Mint mark. No "P" mint mark on Lincoln cents

PCGS - Professional Coin Grading Service.

PCI - Photo-certified Coin Institute. Professional coin grading service.

PF - Proof

PL - Proof Like

PNG - Professional Numismatists Guild

Pr - Pr-1. Poor Coin grade.

PVC - Poly Vinyl Chloride

R# - Rarity scale. R1 most common - R8 least common.

RB - Red/Brown - A term used to describe the color of a coin.

RD - Red - A term used to describe the color of a coin.

RPD - Repunched Date

RPM - Repunched mint mark.

S - San Francisco California. Mintmark.

UNC - Uncirculated - a grading term used to describe a coin.

VDB - Victor David Brenner - June 12, 1871 – April 5, 1924 Designer of the Lincoln cent.

VG - VG-8, VG10 - Very Good. A grading term used to describe a coin.

VF - VF20, VF30, VF35 - Very Fine. A grading term used to describe a coin.

VLDS - Very Late Die State

XF - XF40, XF45 - Extremely Fine. A grading term used to describe a coin.

Grading Terms

Coins are graded on a number system from 1-70

Poor-1 - Poor

Fr-2 - Fair

AG-3 - About Good

G-4/6 - Good

VG-8 - Very Good

F-12 - Fine

VF-20 - Very Fine

EF-40/45 - Extremely Fine

AU-50 - About Uncirculated

MS60-MS70 - Mint State

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