Coin Collecting Dictionary


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Learn the importance of numismatic language, the meaning and definitions of coin collecting terminologies

Numismatics or coin collecting is a very complex hobby considering its early beginnings and its developments as time went on.  The first key to understanding and dealing with numismatics is to learn the language it uses. That is why our site features a coin collecting glossary  or numismatic dictionary for you.

The complexities of coin collecting

Coin collecting is known as the hobby of kings during the middle ages because only nobles and monarchs could afford to collect coins. Collecting coins is also called the King of Hobbies because it is believed to be the oldest hobby. Its history can be traced back from the Roman civilization during the reign of Augustus Caesar.

The hobby of collecting coins is a serious endeavor – probably even the most serious among all collecting hobbies.  More than just being a pastime or a business venture, it is also a scholarly and historical pursuit.  Numismatics is not only the study of coins and currencies; it is also a study of history, geography, old and new society, math, commerce, economy, and many more.

The purpose of learning the numismatic language

Language in general has different functions, two of which are the interactional and transactional uses. The interactional language is what is used in everyday conversations to build and maintain relationships. It is not necessarily used to send information. Examples are greetings and expressions like “How are you?” and “Hello”.

On the other hand, transactional language is used to convey facts and other useful information usually for a particular audience or a group of people.  Medical jargons, law enforcement terms, and other technical terminologies are examples of transactional language.

The numismatic terminologies also fall under the transactional language.  There are certain words and terms that are used only within the coin collecting hobby and market to complete transactions or dealings.  You will learn more about these words as you read on.

Understanding numismatic language & coin collecting terms

To understand fully the coin collecting hobby and market, you should begin with knowing the meaning and definitions of each word used in numismatics.

For example, how will you grasp the idea of the coining process when you do not know the coin collecting terminologies such as mint, anvil die and hammer die, coin blank or planchet, coin chamber, and strike?

If you do not know the coin jargons, will you ever understand what is coin grading about? Will you comprehend the idea behind determining coin values? Worse, if you are not familiar enough with the coin collecting terms, you will miss knowing that some coins that you keep are valuable and worthy investments.

Bullion coins, for example, are highly collectible by many coin investors because of their melt value.  Bullions coins are those made of precious metals like gold and silver.  Melt value, on the other hand, is another term for intrinsic value of the coin. This is calculated by multiplying the current market price of the metal (e.g. price of gold) with the weight of the coin.

Coin collecting is known as the hobby of kings during the middle ages because only nobles and monarchs could afford to collect coins.  Collecting coins is also called the King of Hobbies because it is believed to be the oldest hobby.  Its history can be traced back from the Roman civilization during the reign of Augustus Caesar.

The hobby of collecting coins is a serious endeavor – probably even the most serious among all collecting hobbies.  More than just being a pastime or a business venture, it is also a scholarly and historical pursuit.  Numismatics is not only the study of coins and currencies; it is also a study of history, geography, old and new society, math, commerce, economy, and many more.

Coin grading – One of the common terminologies used in the coin collecting market is coin grading. It is the process of evaluating the grade and condition of a coin.

The coin collecting language and its transactional function

As said earlier, the coin collecting terminology is mainly for a transactional purpose, to complete transactions, dealings, and conversations within the coin collecting community. It is a tool for communication and the way to understanding.

To make such idea concrete, here are examples of individuals whom you meet and deal with within the coin collecting market. By knowing these people and their roles, you will realize how much you need to be acquainted with numismatics terms and definitions.

Coin graders – They evaluate the state of your coins – are your coins in good, mint, or poor condition. They examine hairlines, scratches, dirt, and anything that affects the eye appeal of the coin.

To quantify the condition of coins, coin graders use a certain scaling standard called the Sheldon Scale. They use the terms, mint state, gem proof, circulated, and others.

Appraisers – They determine the worth of coins based on different factors such as grade, condition, the type of coin, its age, etc.  It is their expertise to analyze the coin collecting market – how coin market values are affected by economy or how economies can be helped by valuable coins.

Appraisers have an in-depth comprehension on the business side of the coin collecting hobby, they know information that ordinary collectors themselves could not understand fully.

Coin collectors – Coin collectors can be plain hobbyists or professionals. They are not primarily the entrepreneurial type but they are knowledgeable about the hobby.

Collectors can make rough estimates of coin grades and prices because of their experience and familiarity with coin collecting.  However, unless they are certified coin graders or appraisers, their estimations are not considered as professional opinion.

Coin dealers – They buy, sell, and trade coins for and with the collectors. Dealers can be composed of appraisers, graders, and professional collectors as well.

Other coin experts – Numismatics who are highly skilled about coins, currencies, banknotes, and others.  They may be studying coins for other reasons than collecting.

You see now that diverse and well-versed individuals compose the coin collecting community.  If you do not know the numismatic terminologies and their definitions, how are you going to talk with these people? Or how are you going to listen to them?

Learning the coin collecting terminologies for protection

It may not be mentioned above, but among the individuals you are going to meet in the hobby are the scams.  Quite expectedly, the usual victims of fraudulent transactions are the novice collectors who are still learning the ins and outs of the coin collecting market.

But you can protect your self from becoming a victim of fraud. Arm your self with knowledge and you can begin with learning the terminologies used in coin collecting or numismatics. Keep a coin collecting dictionary and glossary handy for quick but efficient reference.