Some coin terms and examples

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What is a coin die?

A coin die is a metal stamping tool engraved with the negative of a design, from which the positive image is transferred to the coin blanks during minting.Examples: In ancient times, coin dies were engraved by hand, but in modern times this is done by machines.

What is the Obverse of a Coin?

The obverse of a coin is the front, main, top, or "heads" side of a coin, usually bearing a portrait. The opposite of the reverse side.Examples: The obverse of the Buffalo Nickel depicts a Native American, and the reverse bears a buffalo.

Also Known As: heads

What is a Bag Mark on a Coin?

A bag mark is a ding, scratch, indentation, scrape, or other blemish caused by the coins bumping against each other in mint distribution bags. Bag marks, a form of contact marks, become more common and more severe the larger the coin is. Bag marks look like dents and dings caused by the edges of other coins, but sometimes take the form of reeded edge impressions.

Also Known As: Contact marks

Examples: Bag marks on Presidential Dollars are often mistaken for "dropped letters" when the edge lettering of one coin leaves its mark on another.

What is a Die Crack on a Coin?

A die crack is a mark appearing on a coin, usually in the form of a fine raised line or small blob. This happens because the coin die which struck the coin had a crack or small break in it that got transferred to the planchet during striking. Although most die cracks are considered a defect, some of them are collectable, such as the spiked head type.


Examples: The coin was a wonderful specimen except for the die crack across the Queens cheek.

These few coin terms will help you in your decision and quest in building your collection.




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