Letter B

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A $1,000 face-value bag of coins.

Bag Marks

The abrasions which coins receive through contact with one another. Most coins were thrown into bags soon after minting and shipped everywhere in the country. The coins banged against one another and usually received a considerable number of abrasions. The presence of abrasions does not mean that a coin has been circulated, as all business strikes have some bag marks. Bag marks are a very important consideration in the grading of coins.

Base Metal

Non-precious metal that serves as a base for gold-filled, gold-plated, silver-plated, or any non-precious metal covered by a precious metal.

Base Price

Silver-metal value of one dollar in coin, based on the face value and weight of the coin.

Basining (of Dies)

The process of polishing the field of the die before its use in the coining process. Most prooflike dollars are the result of this process, which is done infrequently and, as a result, are more valuable.


One who believes prices will move lower.


The price offered to buy a particular coin.

Blank or Blank Planchet

A piece of metal intended for coinage, but not struck.

Boiler Room

A room where a group of fast-talking salesman phone the unsophisticated in an effort to peddle coins.


Within the raised rim of a coin was formerly a protective ornamentation either of radial lines or beads. See Denticles.

Branch Mint

Subordinate mints in locales other than Philadelphia. Branch mints are presently operating in Denver, San Francisco and West Point. They formerly operated in New Orleans; Carson City, Nevada; and the two “gold mints” at Charlotte, North Carolina; and Dahlonega, Georgia.


Untoned. Without tarnish or oxidation and with original cartwheel (i.e., frosty) or prooflike luster. A copper coin is usually referred to as brilliant if it has full original red. A silver, nickel or gold coin is usually described as brilliant if it has no toning or oxidation (although it may have some spots or light toning hues about the periphery), and its original luster is more or less intact.

Brilliant Proof

A particular type of proof coin, which boasts a full mirror surface in the fields. See Proof, Matte Proof.

Brilliant Uncirculated (BU)

Literally, not circulated, with mint luster. A coin which is still in Mint State condition. See Uncirculated, Mint state.


A brokerage firm that acts as an agent for a customer and charges the customer a commission for its service.


See Uncirculated.

Bulk Metal

The term used when referring to accumulations of junk coins, sterling silver, scrap jewelry, and so forth.


One who believes prices will move higher.


Precious metal in negotiable or tradable shape, such as a wafer, bar, or ingot; or sometimes as coins or jewelry.

Bullion Coin

Coin that has little numismatic value but is purchased for its precious metal content. The Canadian Maple Leaf and the Mexican 50 Pesos are two examples.

Bull Market

Market where prices are rising or are expected to rise.

Business Strike

A coin which has been struck for circulation.