Letter S

Golden Glossary of Coin Terminology

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A coin of which only a small number exist. See Rare.


A collection of two or more coins with one or more common characteristics.

Sheldon Scale

A system of grading, originally introduced by the late Dr. William H. Sheldon, for the purpose of grading larger cents. The system was adapted to all coins in the early 1970s. The Sheldon Scale, as used today, incorporates numerical grades 1 through 70 to correspond with various descriptive grades.

Silver Certificate

Paper currency that was issued as legal tender until the 1960s by the U.S. government to represent deposited silver bullion.


A small silver coin.


A tamper-resistant, acrylic plastic container used by major independent grading services into which certified coins are inserted.


A coin which is undervalued or underpriced.


A coin which a less scrupulous individual might sell at a higher grade than it really merits. The term usually refers to a nearly Mint State coin which is, or could be offered as, a full Mint State coin.

Solid Gold

One of the most misleading designations that the U.S. government allows manufactures of precious-metals products to use. Means simply that the gold product is not “hollow.” The gold item could have as little as nine karats and still be stamped “solid gold.”

Split Grade

A coin whose obverse grade is different from its reverse grade. Example MS63/65 or Proof 63/60.


Used in commodities and foreign exchange to denote something which can be delivered readily. Also refers to the futures contract of the current month; it is still “futures” trading, but delivery is possible at any time.


The difference between the bid and ask or coin price quotation.


Pattern gold coin (1897-1880) with a face value of $4.

Sterling Silver

An object of jewelry, housewares, and so forth, that has a fine silver content of 92% (.925 fine).


The sharpness or lack of sharpness of design in a coin.

Subsidiary Coin

A coin with intrinsic value, whose face value is more than the bullion value.