Coin Investing & Collecting Glossary

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Date

The year that appears on a coin, which is usually and legally the year of manufacture, although there are some exceptions to this rule.

Debase

Reduce the intrinsic value (bullion content) of a coin, while leaving the face value untouched.

Defective Die

Coins which show raised metal from a large die crack or a small rim break.

Denticles

The toothlike projections which make up the inner rim on some coins. They were discontinued on most U.S. coins in the early 20th century.

Devices

The principal design elements of a coin, such as the head of “Liberty” on the obverse of a silver dollar and the eagle on the reverse, for example.

Delivery

Changing ownership or control of a commodity under very specific terms and procedures established by the exchange where the contract is traded.

Die

The engraved punch used to strike coins.

Die Cracks

Raised lines which appear on a coin as a result of that coin having been struck by a cracked die.

Die Rust

Pitting or roughness appearing on a coins as result of that coin having been struck by a rusted die.

Die Scratches

Raised lines which appear on a coin as a result of scratches on the die used to strike that coin. Die scratches (and similarly, die cracks and die clashes) do not diminish the value of a coin nearly as much as scratches acquired after the coin is struck. In many cases, they do not affect the value of the coin at all.

Die Variety

A coin which has different characteristics from all other pieces struck from different dies of the same year. Usually refers to those die varieties which exhibit unusual characteristics which set them apart from their counterparts.

Die Wear

The loss of detail on a coin, due to wear on the die used to strike is (rather than wear on the coin itself).

Dime (or Disme)

U.S. silver coin (1796-1964). One-tenth of a dollar. Disme was the term used in 1792. Dimes are now struck in cupronickel.

Dipped

A coin which has been immersed in a mildly acidic or alkaline solution is said to have been dipped. The term dipped is not considered necessary in a catalog description of a coin, unless the dipping has caused noticeable dulling of luster, or an otherwise unnatural appearance (usually on copper coins).

Dollar (U.S.)

U.S. coin issued in silver (first dated 1794), gold (first dated 1849), and cupronickel (first dated 1971). Equal to 100 cents.

Double Eagle

U.S. gold coin (1849-1933) with a face value of $20.

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