Numismatic Dictionary

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There are 33 names in this directory containing the search term copper. Clear results.
Abyssinian Gold
A type of brass made of 90-percent copper and 10-percent zinc that has a gold-like color.

base metal
A metal with low intrinsic value that is usually worth less than the coin. Examples of base metals used for coins are copper, nickel, tin, steel, and aluminum.

brass
An alloy of copper and zinc.

brilliant
Bright and shiny coin with its original finish. A copper coin is one that has maintained it full original luster described. See also red.

bronze
An alloy of copper and tin.

brown
Term applied to a copper coin that no longer has the red color of copper.

brown
A term used to describe the color of a copper or copper-plated coin that has less than 5-percent of its original color because of natural oxidation.

clad
A term used to describe modern coins that have layers of copper-nickel surrounding a layer of copper in the middle. These are sometimes referred to as "sandwich coins."

coinage silver
An alloy consisting of 90-percent silver and 10-percent copper.

copper
A non-precious reddish-brown soft metal that has been traditionally used to strike lower denomination coins. Sometimes written using its chemical symbol of Cu for its Latin name cuprum.

copper spot
A spot or stain seen on gold coinage, indicating an area of copper that has oxidized.

copper-nickel
The alloy copper and nickel used for small cents from 1856 through mid-1864.

coppers
Term used for copper coins struck before in the pre-Federal period (prior to 1792), half cents, and large cents.

Cu
Chemical symbol for copper. See also copper.

cupro-nickel
Any alloy of copper and nickel. See also copper-nickel.

cupronickel
An alloy of copper and nickel. See also copper-nickel.

goloid
An alloy of silver, gold and copper patented by Dr. William Wheeler Hubbell. Goloid consists of 1 part gold (about 3.6-percent), 24 parts silver (about 87.3-percent) and 2.5 parts copper (about 9.1%). Coins were not minted using goloid because they were indistinguishable from other silver coins and susceptible to undetectable counterfeiting.

Half Cent
A United States copper coin struck from 1793 through 1857 whose face value was one-half of one cent. See also bit.

Large Cent
A United States copper coins struck from 1793 to 1857 whose face value was one-cent. During its existence, large cents ranged in size from 23.5 mm in diameter to 29 mm. The size was reduced to 19 mm beginning in 1857.

nickel
A non-precious silvery-white metal that has been a used for coin production since the mid-19th century. United States coins have been alloyed with copper for strength and to keep the costs down. Sometimes written using its chemical symbol of Ni.

nickel silver
Sometimes referred to as "German silver," nickel silver is an alloy of 60- percent copper, 20-percent nickel, and 20-percent zinc. It is named because of its silvery appearance even though it does not contain any silver. Nickel silver had been used to strike European coins prior to the adaptation of the Euro.

pewter
A grayish soft metal made of 85-95 percent tin. For coin making, the balance of the alloy is usually copper but lead has been used in some poorer countries. When used as a coinage metal, the planchets are small to prevent bending. Pewter is not used in the United States.

porous
A numismatic item with a rough or granular surface resulting from oxidation. Commonly used to describe old copper coins.

red
A term used to describe the color of a copper or copper-plated coin that maintains at least 95-percent of its original color.

red brown
A term used to describe the color of a copper or copper-plated coin that maintains between 5-percent and 95-percent of its original color because of natural oxidation.

rose gold
An alloy of at least 75-percent gold with the balance of copper made to give the metal a rose or pinkish hue.

satin luster
Fine, silky finish seen mostly on copper and nickel business strike coins. Almost no "cartwheel" effect is seen on coins with satin luster.

Shield Nickel
Five-cent coin minted from 1866 to 1883, was the first non-copper coin that did not contain precious metals.

Shotgun Cents
Lincoln Cents struck from 1942-1945 were made using the copper reclaimed from shotgun shells gathered from the military training camps during World War II.

silver-clad
A clad coin whose outer layers are made from .80 silver and .20 copper surrounding an center core made from .209 silver and .791 copper. This gave the effective makeup of 40- percent silver and 60-percent copper. The only coins struck using this type of composition were Kennedy half dollars struck from 1965 until 1970.

sterling silver
An alloy of silver that contains 92.5-percent silver and the balance a non-precious metal, usually copper.

Wartime nickel
Five-cent coins struck during World War II with the composition 56-percent copper, 35-percent silver, and 9-percent manganese.

zinc
An inexpensive silvery metal that is used as part of an alloy to make planchets. The 1943 Steel Cent was made from zinc-coated steel. Lincoln cents made since 1982 are copper-coated zinc coins. Its chemical symbol is Zn.

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