A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z





CABINET
- Until about the time of World War I, this was the traditional method of storing coins, ie. in a wooden cabinet. The cabinet consisted of a number of shallow trays which could be pulled out like drawers. The trays were lined with felt and may or may not have been slotted to hold the coins. The coins were usually stored obverse down. See also Cabinet Friction.
CABINET FRICTION
- Slight surface wear on a coin, token or medal caused by sliding friction between it and the tray in which it is contained. See Rub.
CABINET PIECES
- Coins in a collector's coin cabinet.
CAMEO CONTRAST
- The "frost" or "frosting" is a matte type surface on the devices of a Cameo coin and can range in appearance from white to gray (less white) to silver (no white). The fields of a Cameo coin can range from "black" (deep mirror) to silver appearing (semi prooflike). The Cameo contrast is the contrast in appearance between the devices and the fields. The degree of contrast can be subdivided into degrees as Slight, Excellent, and Outstanding. Outstanding contrasts are also known as Black and Whites. See also Mirror Depth.
CAMEO DEVICES
- Frosty white appearing devices.
CANADIAN NUMISMATIC JOURNAL
- The monthly publication of the CNA.
CAPITAL HOLDER
- Reference to a popular clear plastic (lucite) holder for storing more expensive coins and manufactured by Capital Plastics of Ohio.
CARBON SPOT
- A dark discolouration upon the surface of a coin thought to be composed of organic material such as wood, sawdust, coal particles, etc., which was residing on the planchet prior to annealing. The extreme heat of the annealing process reduced this organic material to a cinder. Removal is usually not possible without damaging the coin. Also used loosely to refer to any dark detracting discolouration upon a coin which is not removable without damaging the coin. Coins improperly stored can develop such problems.
CARTWHEEL
- A large coin generally of silver dollar size or larger.
CARTWHEEL LUSTRE
- When a coin is twisted around in proper lighting, the lustre appears to rotate as the spokes of a turning wheel (hence cartwheel). Phony coins that have been cast will not display this effect.
CAST COINS
- Coins which are not made in the usual manner of striking with dies, but by pouring molten metal into a mold.
CAST FAKES
- A counterfeit coin produced by a casting process. Most cast coins have defects which are discernible upon close inspection.
CATALOGUE
- Reference to a pricing guide. For Canadian coins the "Catalogue" is usually a reference to "The Charlton Standard Catalogue" or "Coins of Canada" by Haxby and Willey.
CATALOGUE VALUE
- The retail price of a coin in a given grade as listed in the catalogue.
CATC
- Canadian Association of Token Collectors.
CAVEAT EMPTOR
- Let the buyer beware (Latin).
CAVITY
- The recessed impression of a coin in a die.
CENTRAL DEVICE
- The main configuration on either side of a coin.
CHERRY
- A slang expression originally to refer to a choice coin, usually unknown to the owner as such. Now more commonly meant to be the best quality coin eg. in a collection for sale, or as in an original roll, etc. See Steal.
CHERRY PICKING
- A slang expression originally referring to the act of selecting a choice coin from someone's stock, when the owner is ignorant of its special desirability. Now means the act of selecting the best quality from a group with both buyer and seller being aware of its desirability.
CHOCOLATE BROWN
- An adjective to describe the tone on some copper coins.
CHOICE BU
- An uncirculated coin with above average strike and lustre, and fewer abrasions or bagmarks that usual. Official standards associate this adjective with the Sheldon numerical grade MS-65. However, it is now more commonly (and confusing) accepted by the industry to mean MS-63. See Gem BU.
CIRCULATED
- Any coin that has been in circulation or has any evidence of wear. See also Uncirculated.
CIRCULATING MEDIUM
- A nation's coinage issued for general circulation.
CLAD COINAGE
- The term for the sandwich coins (eg. present US coinage) with a copper centre onto which is bonded an outer layer of copper-nickel or silver.
CLASHED DIE(S)
- Obverse and reverse dies which have come together in the striking process without a planchet in place resulting in damage to the dies. coins produced thereafter from such a pair of dies usually show mirror image traces of the die on the opposite side.
CLASH MARKS
- See Die Clash Marks, Clashed Die(s).
CLCC
- Canadian Large Cents Club.
CLEANING
- Refers to the removal of surface dirt or changing the surface colouration or texture of a coin by dipping, applying chemicals or otherwise artificially treating it. This often reduces the value of the coin and is not a recommended practice. Generally experienced numismatists agree that a coin should not be cleaned unless there are spots of oxidation, pitting which might worsen with time, or unsightly streaking or discolouration that will make the coin generally unappealing. See also Processing.
CLEAR FIELDS
- A slang expression referring to the condition of a coin's fields and meaning "free of visible "blemishes." Also sometimes ambiguously referred to as Clean fields.
CLIPPED PLANCHET
- Incomplete planchet. Planchet not full round, due usually to slippage of the sheet causing planchet punch to overlap a previously punched hole or the edge or end of the strip.
CLIPPING
- When coins were hammered during the early days of coinage, some people would clip a metal rim from around the coins. The coins appeared undamaged to the casual observer while the person doing the clipping had enough extra metal from many such clippings to make a small profit when these were melted and sold.
CNA
- Canadian Numismatic Association
CNRS
- Canadian Numismatic Research Society
COIN
- A piece of metal with a distinctive design, fixed value, and specific weight and diameter, that was issued by a government as money.
COINAGE
- The whole of a nation's coins.
COIN BLEMISH
- See Blemishes.
COIN CABINET
- See Cabinet.
COIN CARE
- Primarily of concern to the long term collector and particularly one interested in high quality uncirculated coins. Requires the storage of the coin in a non contaminated holder at reasonable temperature and humidity conditions to prevent spotting, discolouration, etc. Usually a regular check on such coins each six months is made to detect the appearance of new spots or growth of previous ones. Depending on each situation appropriate action is taken to retard or eliminate the damage.
COIN CLUB
- Usually a local group of coin collectors who meet regularly to discuss coins, related educational topics, etc.
COIN GRADE
- Coins are graded into one of two general categories - circulated or uncirculated. Within each are a number of grades which further define its condition which in turn determines its price. Circulated coins are primarily judged on the basis of the degree of wear of the coin, the less the better. Uncirculated coins have no wear at all and are judged according to at least three factors - the qualities of the lustre, surfaces, and strike. Connoisseurs add a fourth which is the quality of the original toning.
COIN HOLDER DAMAGE
- Loosely stored coins are subject to a variety of physical damage such as scrapes, hairlines, and rubs. All result in lowering their values.
COINING PROCESS
- The application of a device to a piece of metal by a coin issuing authority whereby it becomes a coin. The process may be accomplished by casting, roller, rocker-die pressure of high pressure impact. In modern times the process usually involves stamping the coin in a die cavity formed by two dies coming together against a piece of metal (planchet) within a closely fitting collar die.
COIN MAINTENANCE
- See Coin Care.
COIN OF THE REALM
- The circulating medium of a nation
COIN SHOW
- Varies in size from small annual club shows to major international events usually centered around a bourse floor where dealers and collectors buy and sell coins. Also in evidence are a number of coin displays where collectors compete for prizes.
COLLAR
- The part of the die which affixes to the edge of the planchet to prevent movement during striking. Reeded edge coins are made by having the collar grooved; 12-sided 5 cent pieces are made having regular round blanks struck in a 12-sided collar.
COLLECTION
- An orderly, classified group of assembled items, usually with completeness as a goal. See also Accumulation.
COLLECTOR
- One who collects coins in an organized way, around some objective, and usually as a hobby past-time. A Type collector collects on the basis of the Type or Design of a coin. A Date collector collects on the basis of the Date appearing on the coin. Similarly a Variety and Error Collector will collect Varieties and Error coins respectively
COLLECTOR-INVESTOR
- A growing segment of the numismatic area since the early 1970's. One who has all of the interest and objectives of a true collector hobbyist but who also sees coins as an investment medium. Will often acquire multiple copies of the same coin for this purpose if the price and quality meet predefined investment criteria.
COLOUR
- The toning or tarnish on coins.
COLOUR BUFF
- A collector who is interested in toned coins more than brilliant ones.
COLOUR QUALITY
- The toning on one coin can be judged relative to that on another by relating to the quality of the colours by assessing their Colour Flow, Colour Harmony, and Colour Balance. Impairments and unattractive toning are negative factors.
COMMERCIAL GRADE
- Same as Borderline, Slider Grades. Coins so referenced or graded are called, advertised, priced, and sold as eg. Gem BU when in fact they are truly graded as very nice Choice BU's, likely because they have very nice eye appeal. A sloppy and unprofessional grading practice.
COMMEMORATIVE
- A piece issued to mark, honour, or observe an event, place or person, or to preserve its memory.
COMMON
- Reference to a coin that exists in quantity in a particular grade. As opposed to Scarce or Rare. Usually an item regularly available at competitive prices. See Availability.
COMMON DATES
- Refers to the more easily obtained dates in a given coin series. The most common is the Type date. See also Key Date.
COMMUNION TOKEN, CHURCH TOKEN
- A cheque, usually of base metal, issued on loan by a given church to one of its communicants which witness his eligibility to take communion in that church. He surrenders it to the church upon presenting himself for communion.
CONCAVE SURFACE
- A curved surface that is depressed to the viewer, as in the depressed cavity of a dish or bowl. Some Canadian coins are so shaped. See Convex.
CONCOCTION
- An item which resembles a numismatic item but whose design was never authorized or originated by any governing authority; nor authorized as an experimental design, pattern, or trial piece; nor was manufactured in any official government mint. See also Official Fabrication.
CONDITION
- See Coin Grade.
CONDITION CENSUS
- Term introduced by Dr. Wm. H. Sheldon to denoted the finest specimen and average condition of the next five finest known of a given variety of U.S. large cents. Cataloguers are gradually extending the use of this term to other series and countries as well.
CONDITION RARITY RATING
- An unofficial absolute rarity rating scheme that indicates the number of expected examples of a coin (by denomination and date) to exist in Original Gem Uncirculated (65) or better condition.
CONJOINED
- See Accolated.
CONNOISSEUR COLLECTOR
- A collector of only very high quality uncirculated coins that likely grade on MS-65 or better and usually have beautiful original toning. One who appreciates the artistic quality of a coin as portrayed by its design, near flawless state and colourful appearance. See Numismatic Fine Art.
CONSIGNMENT
- A method of selling coins using the services of a dealer or auction as the sales agent. The ownership of the coin remains with the consignor until the coin is sold and paid. The agent usually charges 10-20% of the sale until the coin is sold and paid. The agent usually charges 10-20% of the sale price as his fee.
CONTAMINANT
- Generally any foreign object, liquid, or gas that will react with the metal of a coin and cause damage (usually permanent) to the coin.
CONTRARIAN VIEW
- Buy when nobody want what you're buying and sell when everyone wants what you own.
CONVEX SURFACE
- A curved surface that appears as a bulge to the viewer, as in the outer surface of a ball. some Canadian coins have this property.
COPPER BLEEDING
- Reference to the copper coloured spots that sometimes appear on gold coins. Reflects the fact that the gold alloy (gold, copper) is not completely homogenous at the point where the spot is located and that a concentration of copper ("bleeding") has surfaced.
COPPER COIN
- A coin containing 95% or more pure copper. Lower grade copper alloys are usually bronze or brass.
COPY
- A legitimate imitation of a coin, token, or medal, usually made for museum or study purposes. There is usually some means of distinguishing such pieces from the original items imitated. See also Counterfeit, Replica, Reproduction, Facsimile.
CORONET
- A tiara or female headpiece, plain or beaded.
CORROSION
- Generally any change caused on the metal of a coin by chemical attack which may vary from light surface damage to complete destruction of the coin. The toning seen on many coins is a form of corrosion.
COUNTERFEIT
- An object made to imitate a genuine numismatic piece with the intent to deceive or defraud, irrespective of whether the intended fraus is primarily monetary or numismatic.
COUNTERSTAMP
- A design, group of letters or other mark stamped on a coin for special identification or advertising purposes. Counterstamped coins are graded the way regular (uncounterstamped) coins are but the nature and condition of the counterstamped must also be described. An example of a counterstamped coin is the J.O.P. Dollar by Joseph Oliva Patenaude a Nelson, BC jeweler.
CPMS
- Canadian Paper Money Society.
CRITERIA COIN
- A truly non-competitive coin in terms of its overall condition for a particular date or series (Type). Of such outstanding condition relative to all other know examples of that denomination either by date or type that it likely has few equals. A coin against which all others may be compared. To certain collectors such coins command substantial price premiums. See also finest known.
CROWN
- A general term embracing most silver coins from about 20-30 grams in weight and from 33-50 millimeters in size. The term has become applicable also to most nickel-alloy coins of the same range of size and weight.
CULL
- A coin that is bent, severely damaged, very worn and otherwise of very little numismatic interest. Mint production culls are those coins that are of inferior quality and are pulled aside for recycling rather than be put into circulation.
CUPRONICKEL
- An alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel.
CURRENCY
- That which is current as a medium of exchange. The money in actual use.
CURRENT
- Coins and paper money still in circulation.
CURVATURE OF THE FIELD
- The recess or concave indentation of a coin's surface.
CUTTING THE DATE
- The hand process of affixing the date to a die.




A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


 

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