Coins and Australia - Glossary - Numismatic definitions

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Accumulations are a group of die chips.


A combination of two or more metals.


Antique coins are specially prepared to give the appearance of an old, treasured item. Like any other coin finish, antique coins are made of blanks which are specially cleaned, treated and struck to the Royal Australian Mint. After they are struck, the coins go through a number of extra steps to give them a truly their appearance. Coins are immersed in an electrolysed chemical bath to be cleaned, and are then transferred to chemicals which blacken their surfaces. These darkened coins are then manually buffed on a polishing wheel. Raised areas of the coin are highly polished, lower areas retain their darkness. These buffed coins are coated with a layer of lacquer, which protects them from fingerprints or rubbing against other surfaces. Unlike any other coin finish, antique coins are entirely handmade.


Bag mark

A generic term applied to a mark on a coin from another coin; it may, or may not, have been incurred in a bag.

Base metal

A non-valuable metal used in creating medals or used as an alloy in producing coinage.


An alloy that contains gold or silver with copper or another base metal.


The flat disk of metal before it is struck by the dies and made into a coin.

Blank or Planchet

Metal disc for the minting of a coin, a medal or a token.

Branch Mint

Place where coins, medals and tokens are produced.


A form of surface preparation on proof or uncirculated blanks, using steel balls and detergent to remove any unwanted watermarks from the surface of the blank.



Frosted visual appearance of the design of a coin with a polished appearance of the field.


A unit of weight for precious stones and pearls, now equivalent to 200 milligrams.


The issuance of metallic money of a particular country.


A metal piece that either positions a planchet beneath the dies and/or restrains the expanding metal of a coin during striking. Collars are considered the third die and, today, are used to impart the edge markings to a coin. Collars can be merely a hole in a flat piece of metal or a set of segments that pull away from the coin after it is struck.


A punchmark applied to a coin by someone other than a monetary authority such as an advertiser.



Ornamental pattern used on the edges of coins.


Cylindrical steel piece engraved with the pattern of one side of a coin.

Die alignment

Indicate the relative position of the obverse and reverse dies. If the dies are spaced too close together, the resultant coin may be well struck but the dies wear more quickly.

Die break

An area of a coin that is the result of a broken die. Dies are made of steel and they crack from use and then, if not removed from service, eventually break. When the die totally breaks apart, the resultant break will result in a full, or retained, cud depending whether the broken piece falls from the die or not.



A representation or model of a person on the obverse of a coin.

Eye appeal

The element of a coin's grade that grabs the viewer. The overall look of a coin.


Face Value

Abbreviation : FV

The face value of a coin is the amount that has been struck onto the surface, the denomination that the coin has been given. This can differ from a coin's metal value, in particular for commemorative coins.


Part of a coin characterized by the absence of design.

Frosted Uncirculated

Using the same processes and technology behind uncirculated coins, these coins have the defining feature of a polished, more striking image against a frosted field (background). These coins often become highlights in an uncirculated coin collection, and are an effective way of expressing the passion that collectors have for particular themes or designs.


Groove (Reeded)

Grooves on the edge of a coin produced by the collar.



Minting term for the steel device from which a die is produced.


Key Coin

The major, or most important, coin in a particular series. The key coin is usually the lowest-mintage coin and/or the most expensive coin in a particular set.



A thin piece of metal that has nearly become detached from the surface of a coin. If this breaks off, an irregular hole or planchet flaw is left.



A large celebratory piece, sometimes an award, sometimes created in commemoration. Usually made in high relief. Medals are typically minted in bronze, copper, silver, gold, and white medal.


The number of coins of a particular date struck at a given mint during a particular year.


The letter(s) stamped into the dies to denote the mint at which a particular coin was struck.



Side of the coin with the effigy or with the main design.



A test striking of a coin produced to demonstrate a proposed design, size, or composition (whether adopted or not).


A process in which proof blanks are cleaned in acid to remove oil, directional rolling lines and dirt from their surface.


The blank disk of metal before it is struck by a coining press which transforms it into a coin. Type I planchets are flat. Type II planchets have upset rims from the milling machine, these to facilitate easier striking in close collars.


A model made during the design process, approximately four times larger than the actual size of the final coin or medal.


Coin having a different and more refined manufacturing process than circulation coins. The corners and sides of Proof are polished to give a cameo-like effect. A proof coin is usually struck twice to see every detail.



Abbreviation : RD

Term used for a copper coin that still retains 95 percent or more of its original mint bloom or color.


Abbreviation : RB

A copper coin that has from 5 to 95 percent of its original mint color remaining.


The height of the devices of a particular coin design, expressed in relation to the fields.


The raised area around the edges of the obverse and reverse of a coin.


Troy ounce

One troy ounce is the standard unit used for weighing and pricing precious metals. Coming from Troyes in France, the troy ounce is not the same as an imperial ounce, weighing 1.097 times as much.


A variation in design, size, or metallic content of a specific coin design.



These are the coins which form the basis of many coin collections. They may either have unique designs or be more special versions of the circulating coin designs. They are made from the same materials as circulated coins, but are struck at a slower rate with greater force, leading to a sharper image with more clearly-defined edges. They are also slightly more polished than circulating coins, and are typically packaged in presentation cards.

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