So you’ve decided to enter into the fun, challenging world of coin collecting when suddenly words begin getting tossed at you from all angles. Words like, “Numismatist,” “Red Book,” “slabbed,” etc. and you’re left wondering what it all means as though it’s your first day in AP Calculus. In efforts to help rid newcomers of the “first day” jitters, here is a select list of coin collecting lingo to get you started!
Red Book- This is the coin world’s go to for information about American coins. With annually updated pricing for each type of grade and coin throughout the United States history, novice coin collectors should view the Red Book as their new bible.
Numismatics- The term you should familiarize yourself with ASAP. Numismatics is the study of coins and money. Those who participate in this study or are collecting, such as yourself, are known as numismatists.
Coin Grading- This is the process by which a coin is evaluated based on how much or how little wear is present. Being more than just familiar with the different levels of grading will help you significantly in the years to come so that potential buyers and sellers do not rip you off. Knowing the different grades will also help you develop a greater appreciation for the coins in your collection.
Proof Coin- A unique method for a manufactured coin, **remember this is not a coin grade**, struck with specially prepared dies on polished coin blanks. Typical characteristics of proof coins include mirror-like surfaces, intricate designs with high strikes and frosted lettering.
Cull Coin- One person's trash is another’s treasure! That’s how many within the coin world view cull coins. Most of these coins designs are very worn down, damaged, or have an array of other problems that collectors who otherwise are not on a budget would not give the time of day. It is not to say that some are not worthy of owning so that next time you are with a dealer, ask if they have any available. You may just find a diamond in the rough!
Slabbed Coin- “Slab” refers to the coin case, a sealed, tamper-evident plastic holder, in which an authenticated coin has been housed. If a coin has been authenticated and graded by a reputable company such as PCGS, collectors will find these type of collector's items much more valuable. One of the top reasons numismatists love them!
Uncirculated/Brilliant Uncirculated/Mint Coin- Coins which have very little, if any, flaws or signs of wear are grouped into the uncirculated or mint status. These coins typically fetch higher payouts from prospective buyers, so it is important to keep them well maintained should you add one to your collection.
If you like this article, then you might enjoy other articles in our archives, such as 7 Tips For Surviving Your First Coin Show
Liberty Coin & Currency specializes in rare coins and currency. We are a family-owned business located in Portland and Vancouver. We are also gold, silver, diamond, currency and jewelry buyers. Visit us first for a free evaluation.