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Common Coin Terms for Collecting and Coin Searching

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As you get into the wonderful world of currency searching, it is important to understand some of the common coin terms used in the hobby. Below is a table of the common coin terms and definitions. We add things to this list as necessary, it is obviously not a hugely extensive list of common coin terms, but nevertheless a good source to get you started.

Happy coin searching folks!

AssayA means of guaranteeing the quality and purity of gold or silver.
Bag marksSmall nicks and abrasion marks coins may receive during initial transportation process.
Brilliant UncirculatedNew coins that are in immaculate condition and have never been in circulation.
Buy/Sell SpreadsThe difference between buying and selling prices relative to the spot price.
CirculatedCoins that have been distributed and used as public currency.
ConditionThe grade of a coin (Mint State, Extremely Fine, etc.)
DateThe year of issue for a coin.
GradeAn evaluation of the amount of wear on a coin. The Sheldon scale rates coins from 1- 70 numerically, while the adjective scale runs from Basal to Mint State. Color considerations and strike quality can also be factors in grading.
Legal TenderCoins that can be used as national currency.
LiquidityThe ease of buying and selling.
MintThe facility that manufactured the coin.
ObverseThe front side of a coin, usually depicting a head or face.
PopulationRefers to how many coins have been certified by a given grading service in that particular grade.
ProofThese coins have been struck with special dies that create greater pressure for a more highly polished and clear design. Collectible and often trade at higher premiums.
PurityThe percentage of precious metal content of a coin.
ReverseThe back side of a coin.
Spot PriceThe up-to-date value of a precious metal determined by latest market trades.
WeightThe weight of a coin.
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