Letter A

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About Good, About Uncirculated, abrasions, accumulation, adjustment marks, AGW (Actual Gold Weight), album friction, album slide marks, alloy, Almost Uncirculated, alteration, American Eagle, American Numismatic Association, ANA, ANACS, ANACS certificate, ancients, annealing, ANS, anvil die, arrows, arrows and rays, arrows at date, artificial toning, assay, attributes, auction, authentication

About Good

One of the lowest coin grades in the coin grading scale. Only the main features of the coin are present in this condition. Peripheral lettering, date, stars, etc. sometimes are partially worn away.

About Uncirculated

The grades AU50, 53, 55, and 58. A coin that on first glance appears Uncirculated but upon closer inspection has slight friction or rub.


Area(s) of a coin where a foreign object or another coin has displaced metal in an abraded fashion. Similar to a bag mark but usually on the high points or open fields and not as deep or acute as the former.


A miscellaneous grouping of coins, often as a monetary hoard. Opposite of a coin collection. A second use is as a grouping of a particular date, type, or series. (Example: an accumulation–of Bust Halves.)

adjustment marks

Pre-striking file marks seen mainly on gold and silver coins prior to 1840. These removed excess metal from overweight planchets. After 1840 these are seldom seen as the filing was on the rim and was usually obliterated by the striking process.

AGW (Actual Gold Weight)

This refers to the amount of pure gold in a coin, medal or bar. Any alloys are part of the gross weight of a gold coin, but not part of the AGW.

album friction

Similar to album slide marks, though the friction may be only slight rubbing on the high points.

album slide marks

Lines, usually parallel, imparted to the surface of a coin by the plastic “slide” of an album.


A combination of two or more metals.

Almost Uncirculated

Alternate of About Uncirculated.


A coin that has a date, mint mark, or other feature that has been changed, added, or removed, usually to simulate a rarer issue.

American Eagle

In 1986, the U.S. Mint began selling silver bullion coins in the denomination of $1. The next year, they added a series of gold coins to the series, eventually expanding to 1/10, ¼, ½, and 1 ounce gold versions. Each coin features a family of eagles on the reverse, hence the name.

American Numismatic Association

A non-profit numismatic organization founded in 1888 for the advancement of numismatics.


Short for “American Numismatic Association.”

ANACS – (American Numismatic Association Certification Service)

Originally, only authentication was offered, grading was added later. The grading service and acronym were sold by the ANA and now operate under this name as a third party
grading service.

ANACS certificate

A uniquely numbered opinion of authenticity and/or grade from the ANA Certification Service. The ANA now only authenticates, having sold the name and grading service.


General term for coins of the world struck circa 600 B.C. to circa 450 A.D.


The heating of a die or planchet to soften the metal before preparation of the die or striking of the coin.


Short for "American Numismatic Society."

anvil die

The lower die, usually the reverse – although on some issues with striking problems, the obverse was employed as the lower die. Because of the physics of minting, the fixed lower-die impression is slightly better struck than the upper-die impression.

See Also --   hammer die


Design element usually found in the left (viewer’s right) claw of the eagle seen on many United States coins. After 1807, there usually were three arrows while prior to that time the bundle consisted of numerous ones.

arrows and rays

Term referring to the quarters and half dollars of 1853. The rays were removed in 1854 because of striking difficulties presented by the busy design.

arrows at date

Term referring to the arrows to the left and right of the date, added to the dies to indicate a weight increase or decrease.

artificial toning

Coloring added to the surface of a coin by chemicals and/or heat. Many different methods have been employed over the years.


To analyze and determine the purity of a metallic alloy.


The elements that make up a coin’s grade. The main ones are marks (hairlines for Proofs), luster, strike, and eye appeal.


An offering of coins for sale where the buyer must bid against other potential buyers, as opposed to ordering from a catalog, price list, or advertisement at a set price.


The process of determining the genuineness of a coin or other numismatic item.