Coinage Glossary

Acid Test
A means of determining the fineness of gold through the use of nitric acid and aqua regia.

Actual Gold Content
The amount of gold that exists in an object when all the alloys have been subtracted.

The chemical symbol for silver.

The search throughout history for a chemical process that would turn Base Metals into gold.

A mixture of two or more metals. Metals such as silver, nickel, copper and zinc are frequently mixed with gold to provide certain characteristics, (such as colour or hardness). Common alloys used in the jewellery industry are 22 karat, 18 karat, 14 karat and 9 karat. Pure gold is 24 karat. (See Karat)


The act of testing gold or silver to determine its purity

The chemical symbol for gold.

Austrian 100 Corona
Restrike bullion gold coin containing .9802 ounce of gold.

The system of weights and measures commonly used in the U.S. and Great Britain in which 16 oz. = 1 pound. It is used for most solid objects except precious metals and gems. One avoirdupois ounce equals 28.35 grams or 437.50 grains.

A generic term for a bar of gold or silver and a non-numismatic form of precious metal bullion. Typically 400 oz gold or 1,000 oz silver, but can come in various sizes.

Base Metal
Base metal is a mixture of non precious metals. Typically a metal from the group; copper, aluminum, nickel, tin, zinc and lead. It is frequently used as a base for gold-filled, gold plated or rolled gold plate coverings.
Brilliant Uncirculated (BU)
Generally a generic term used to describe a coin that is near proof like status and has not been circulated.

Precious metals that are at least 99.5% pure in negotiable or trading shape, such as a wafer, bar, ingot, or coin.

Bullion Coin
A legal tender coin whose market price depends on its gold content, rather than its rarity or face value. Typically of BU condition, rather than proof and have little or no numismatic value.

Business Strike
The strike used by the mint to manufacture coins for everyday use. This differs from a proof strike.

Canadian Maple Leafs
Modern gold, silver, and platinum coins minted by the Royal Canadian Mint.

A measure of the weight of precious stones. It is not to be confused with Karat which is a measurement of the fineness of gold.

Central Device
The main design found on either side of a coin. Frequently it is the bust or profile of a person who symbolizes a particular country at a particular time in history or a country\’s coat of arms or insignia.
Denotes money that is no longer in mint state, generally as a result of normal handling and exchange.

Deliberate shearing or shaving from the edge of gold and silver coins. Patterns and mottos are included on edges to discourage the practice.

A piece of metal with a distinctive stamp and of a fixed value and weight issued by a government and used for commerce.

Coin of the Realm
A legal tender coin issued by a government, meant for general circulation.

Legal tender coins or medallions usually minted of gold or silver to commemorate themes, events, places, or people.

A copy is a coin designed to imitate a real coin.

A coin that is extremely worn and/or damaged.

Paper money.

The face value of a coin.

The devices, lettering, etc. appearing on a coin and their arrangement with respect to each other.

An engraved metal object used to strike or stamp a design upon a blank piece of metal to make a coin.

Double Eagles
U.S. $20 gold coins used as legal tender 1850-1933. Double Eagles contain .9675 ounce of gold and come in two designs: the St. Gaudens (Walking Liberty) and the Liberty.

The side of a coin which may be reeded, lettered or plain.

Face Value
The nominal value given to a legal tender coin or currency (for example a 1-oz gold American Eagle has a face value of $50). It is the minimum value guaranteed by the issuer but does not necessarily reflect the current market price of the metal.

Similar to a copy and counterfeit coin but generally made with an inferior metal.

Fiat Money
Paper money made legal tender by law, although not backed by gold or silver.

The open area or background on a coin.

Fine Gold
Pure, 24 karat, .999 fine gold.

Fine Ounce
A troy ounce of gold or silver which has a minimum purity of 99.5% (.995).

Fine Weight
The metallic weight of the pure metal (either gold or silver) that a coin, bar or ingot contains, as opposed to the item\’s gross weight which includes the weight of the alloying metal. Example: a 1-oz American Gold Eagle has a fine weight of one troy ounce but a gross weight of 1.0909 troy ounces.

The purity of a precious metal alloy usually expressed in parts per thousand (for example a gold bar of .995 fineness contains 995 parts gold and 5 parts of another metal. Thus 995 or two nines five is 995/1000 or 99.5% pure). Example: the American Gold Eagle is .9167 fine, which means it is 91.67% gold. A Canadian Maple Leaf has a fineness of .999, meaning that it is 99.9% pure.

Five/Ten Nabawi Silver Dirham
A modern silver bullion medallion privately minted in Malaysia with the terminology originated by 24 Qirats Sdn Bhd in 2010 to describe the multiple of a coin that most closely resembles in weight and purity to the Sasanian Drachma that circulated as the Silver Dirham during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and that was adopted as a Prophetic weight and measure in setting the Nisab for Zakat, a central pillar of Islam

Fools Gold
Iron pyrite is often mistaken by novices for gold. Although its color resembles gold, its properties are very different from gold. It is hard and brittle while gold is soft and malleable.

A coin with an odd metal content amount. The British Sovereign contains a gold metal content of .2354oz and is a good example of a fractional.

A precious yellow metallic element that is resistant to oxidation and is highly ductile and malleable. In the United States, a metal must have 10 Karats of gold or more to be called gold.

Gold Colour
Variations in the alloys used with gold create different colours of gold such as yellow, green, red and white. The most common alloys used with gold are: silver, copper, zinc, and nickel. Silver and zinc tend to give gold a greenish hue, copper a reddish cast and nickel a white colour.

Gold Eagles
Gold Eagles

Gold Electroplate
Process by which 24 karat gold is deposited on another metal electrolytically. The plating must be at least seven millionths of an inch thick

Gold Nugget
Placer gold which has been washed out of the rocks generally into river beds where it has been beaten by the water and rocks into a \”nugget\” shape.

Gold Plate
A common term for electro-gold plating.

Gold Standard
The term to designate the monetary standard of a country who’s currency is backed up by physical bullion and where the notes and coins of a country can be exchanged for the underlying metal.

The earliest known unit of weight and was originally one grain of wheat or barley. It is equal to 0.0648 grams Troy and 24 grains are equivalent to one pennyweight. There are 480 grains in a Troy ounce and 437.5 grains in an Avoirdupois ounce.

A basic unit of weight measurement equivalent to .0322 Troy ounces. 31.1035 grams = 1 Troy ounce.

A mark or impression made on gold and silver bullion which indicate the producer and purity of the particular item.

A generic term used to describe a gold or silver bar.

Intrinsic Value
The value of a coin’s metal content.

A measure of gold fineness or purity, scaled from 1 to 24. Pure gold is considered to be 24 karat and has at least 999 parts pure gold per 1 thousand. For this reason, the actual gold content of any object is the percentage relationship of its purity to 24. For example, 18 karat gold = 18/24 = 75% pure gold. That’s 750 parts pure gold and 250 parts alloy fine.

A standard gold bar containing 1 kilogram (32.1507 troy ounces) of fine gold and traded widely around the world.

1,000 grams (32.1507 troy ounces).

Australian platinum coin, minted since 1987 and is .995 fine.

Legal Tender
The coin or currency identified by a government to be acceptable as a medium of exchange and which may be legally offered in payment of an obligation.

The inscription on a coin.

London Fix
The London Gold Fixing. A meeting of representatives from five major Bullion Banks at 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. each day to determine (fix) a benchmark value for gold that is used to settle various contracts between buyers and sellers.

A frosty appearance on the surface of a coin, usually an uncirculated coin.

In Islam, Mahr is a mandatory required amount of money or possessions (sometimes a combination of the two), given by the groom to the bride at the time of nikah (marriage) . In Malaysia known as Mas Kahwin, for the exclusive use for the bride. Mahr is not dowry, nor a gift but a mandatory requirement for all Muslim marriages. Mahr or mas kahwin in Nabawi Gold DInar and Silver Dirham is recommended
Market value
The price at which a coin or bullion item trades.

A round piece of metal resembling a coin but not a coin of the realm. A medallion may be issued by a government or private mint. The 4.5-gram Nabawi Gold Dinar is a privately-minted medallion.

Metric Ton
1,000 kilograms or 32,151 troy ounces.

Mexican 50 Peso (Centenario)
A gold coin first issued in 1921 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mexico\’s independence. The Mexican 50 Pesos in the bullion coin market normally are restrikes, minted from 1943 onward. The coin weight is 1.2057 troy ounce and is .900 fine.

The place where a coin or bar was manufactured.

Mint Mark
A letter or symbol stamped on a coin to identify the minting facility where it was struck.

Mint State
Describes an uncirculated coin in \”perfect\” condition.

The total amount of coins struck of a specific coin.

Nabawi Gold Dinar
A modern gold bullion coin privately minted by 24 Qirats(Malaysia) that most closely resembles in weight and purity to the Byzantine Solidus that circulated as the Gold Dinar during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and that was adopted as a Prophetic weight and measure in setting the Nisab for Zakat, a central pillar of Islam.

Nabawi Silver Dirham
A modern silver bullion coin privately minted by 24 Qirats (Malaysia) that most closely resembles in weight and purity to the Byzantine Solidus that circulated as the Gold Dinar during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and that was adopted as a Prophetic weight and measure in setting the Nisab for Zakat, a central pillar of Islam.

A modern gold bullion coin minted by Australia that is .9999 fine.

Numismatic Coins
Coins whose prices depend more on their rarity, historical significance, condition, dates, and mint marks other than the value of the precious metal they contain. Generally, premiums for numismatic coins are higher than for bullion coins.

The scientific study of coins and currency and their history.

The front side of a coin which contains the principal design. The device on the obverse usually consists of a portrait and date.

A unit of weight. In the precious metals industry, an ounce means a troy ounce equal to 31.1035 grams.

Paper Gold
Contracts to buy or sell gold which do not involve an actual exchange of physical metal. Paper gold could be used to describe futures contracts, options or certificates.

An American unit of weight for gold in which one pennyweight equals 24 grains or 1/20 of a Troy ounce.

Refers to actual underlying metal as opposed to a claim on the metal represented by paper gold.

A blank piece of metal used for stamping a coin or medallion.

Platinum Eagles
Modern platinum bullion coins minted by the U.S. Treasury.

Precious Metals
Metal of great value being gold, silver, platinum and other platinum group metals.

The dollar amount or percentage a coin sells above the spot price of its metal content. The premium includes the costs of fabrication, distribution and a minimal dealer fee. Rare coins carry an additional premium called numismatic value.

Highly polished dies and special plainchants are used to produce coins with a mirror-like finish. Proof coins are created by striking the coin multiple times, using higher pressure, and polishing the dies. A proof strike is very different from a business strike and proof coins are generally made for collectors and not for normal use. Proof refers to the manner in which a coin was minted and not to its condition.

An advancing price movement following a decline in a market.

The separating and purifying of gold and silver from other metals.

Government issued reproductions of a former circulating coin. Restrikes are new coins made from old dies which is why they are referred to as new mintings. They generally have the same specifications as the original coins of which they are copies – this includes the same dates, composition, and dimensions. Restrikes are considered bullion coins because such a large number were made that they have no numismatic value. In fact, the original coins made from the dies used for restrikes have no numismatic value because there is no way to tell them from the copies.

The back side of a coin.

A disc shaped non-numismatic piece of precious metal bullion.

Safe Deposit Box
A safe deposit box is a type of safe usually located at a bank or private operators, rented to customers for storing of valuables.

Silver Eagles
Modern 1-oz silver bullion coins.

English gold coin with a face value of one pound sterling and a gold content of .2354 ounce.

The current market price of a precious metal based on delivery in two business days. The closing spot price varies with markets located in numerous cities and countries throughout the world. When buying gold and silver in the United States, the price will generally be based on the prices in New York or Chicago.

Symbolic Face Value
The nominal value given to legal tender coins sold for their metal content. Example: the 1-oz Gold Eagle carries a $50 face value but sells for the value of its gold content plus a premium of 5% to 8%.

A unit of weight of India equal to 180 grains or 0.375 troy ounce (11.7 grams).

Tola Bars
Gold bars measured in tolas, the most popular of which is the 10-tola cast bar (3.75 troy oz).  Although manufactured in Europe, tola bars are traded primarily in the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and Singapore

Troy Ounce
A unit of measure equivalent to 31.1034768 grams or 480 grains. When the price of gold or silver is quoted per ounce, the ounce being referred to is a troy ounce, not a standard (Avoirdupois) ounce. One troy ounce equals 1.09711 Avoirdupois ounces. It takes 14.5833 troy ounces to equal one standard (Avoirdupois) pound. The name troy is derived from the town in the Champagne region of France called Troyes which was an important center of commerce for precious metals during the middle ages.

Two-Nines Five
Gold with a purity of 99.50%. This is the standard accepted by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) for delivery against \”Spot\” bullion contracts.

A coin in new condition, sometimes said to be brilliant uncirculated or BU. The term is often used interchangeably with Mint State.

A generic term used to describe small gold bars, (usually less than 50 grams). So-called because they are thin and resemble a wafer biscuit.

Metal lost during handling and contact with other objects.

White Gold
A gold alloy containing whitening agents such as silver, palladium or nickel as well as other base metals. Often used as a setting for diamond jewelry.