Numismatic Dictionary

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There are 60 names in this directory containing the search term currency. Clear results.
auction
A public sale of coins and currency where the items are sold to the highest bidder.

banknote
A type of paper currency issued by a legal bank, whether by a government’s central bank or private bank with the permission of a government, that is payable to the bearer. It is intended to circulate in trade as legal tender in trade.

bit
Numismatically, a bit is one-eighth of a dollar. It comes from the days when the Spanish Milled Dollar, or 8 reals coin, was cut into bits for fractional currency. See also milled dollar or real.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Bureau under the Department of the Treasury that is the official security printer of the United States government. Their primary responsibility is to print U.S. Federal Reserve Notes. See also National Currency Bureau.

Confederate Currency
Currency issued by the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

currency
A system of money used by a particular country. Mostly it is used to described paper money.

decimalization
The process of converting a currency and coinage system from a non-decimal denomination to a decimal (base 10) system.

Demand Notes
The first paper currency printed by the United States government as loans to the government during the Civil War to be paid on demand following a maturity date.

demonetized
Coins or currency that the issuing government declares that they are no longer legal tender. See also legal tender.

dinar
An Islamic gold coin first issued in the latter half of the seventh century. In modern times, the main currency unit in nine mostly-Islamic countries.

dollar
The unit currency of the United States as authorized by the Mint Act of 1792.

Educational Notes
Sometimes called the Educational Series, they were currency notes issued in 1896 in an attempt to educate the public.

encased postage stamps
Invented by John Gault during the U.S. Civil War, it was a quarter-sized slug that was designed to hold a postage stamp to be used in lieu of money because of the shortage of coins and currency.

escudo
Originally, a Spanish gold coin worth one-eighth of a doubloon. Later the currency formerly of Portugal and Chile. Currently, it is the currency of Cape Verde.

euro
The official currency for 19 of the 28 member states of the Eurozone. Several other nations and territories have adopted the euro as its unit currency making it the second most widely circulated currency behind the United States dollar.

F # or F Number
A catalog number for United States currency. See also Friedberg Number.

Federal Reserve Bank Notes
Currency that was an obligation of the Federal Reserve Branch for which it was issued. Also called National Currency.

Fractional Currency
Currency that was issued 1862-1876 to deal with the shortage of coinage. Its issue coincides with the beginning of the Civil War. All fractional currency notes were printed with face values of less than one dollar. There were five issues of Fractional Currency with the first issue known Postage Currency. These are the first currency notes issued by the United States federal government. See also Postage Currency.

Friedberg Number
A system for cataloging United States currency created by Robert Friedberg for his book Paper Money of the United States. The system continues to be used today.

Gold Certificates
Currency issued by the federal government backed by gold on deposit with the United States Treasury.

Green Sheet
Nickname for the publication The Currency Dealers Newsletter, a pricing guide for currency dealers.

greenback
Slang term for legal tender United States currency printed in green on the back of the note.

Hard Times Tokens
Large cent-sized copper tokens struck from 1834 through 1841 that served as an unofficial currency during a coin shortage. Hard Times Tokens looked similar to the Large Cent but had advertizing, political, or satirical messages in their design.

Hawaii Notes
A series of currency issued by the United States with "HAWAII" overprinted on the reverse and brown-colored seal on the front. Issued after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the currency ($1 silver certificate and $5, $10, and $20 Federal Reserve Notes) it would allow the government to quickly demonetize the notes in the event that the Japanese captured Hawaii. See also North Africa Notes.

hologram
An image that appears to be three-dimensional when examined under light. Holograms are used as a security device on currency and credit cards. Some mints print hologram designs on non-circulating legal tender coins.

Horse Blankets
Nickname for the large-size currency notes that were issued prior to 1929. Large-size currency measures 7 3/8-inches long by 3 1/8-inches wide. Modern, small-size currency measures 6 1/8-inches long by ​2 5/8-inches wide.

jeton
A token or coin-like medals produced in Europe from the 13th through the 17th centuries. They were produced as counters for use in calculation on a lined board similar to an abacus but found use as a substitute currency.

large notes
Descriptive term for United States currency issued before 1929. These notes were 7 1/2 inches long and 3 1/8 inches wide.

leaf print
An anti-counterfeiting mechanism for currency in which a leaf is used to create a unique design. The leaf print process was invented by Benjamin Franklin.

legal tender
Coins and currency issued by a government or other official authority that can be legally used in commerce or to pay public debt.

Lira
A word derived from the Latin for pound, it was the primary currency of Italy dating back to the founding of Venice. The term was adopted by other countries like Malta, San Marino, Vatican City, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Currently, it is the primary currency of Turkey.

micro-printing
Very small printing used during the currency making process to help prevent counterfeiting.

Military Payment Certificates
A form of currency that was used to pay military personnel in foreign countries or be used in on-base or military-controlled stores.

National Bank Notes
Currency issued only by federally chartered banks that bought bonds to insure the notes’ value.

National Currency

National Currency Bureau
Agency formed to handle currency for the government following passage of the National Bank Act of 1863. Its name was later changed to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

North Africa Notes
A series of currency ($1, $5, and $10 silver certificates) used to pay troops fighting in the North Africa Campaign during World War II. These notes featured a yellow seal to allow them to be easily identified should they fall into enemy hands. See also Hawaii Notes.

Numismatics
The study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects.

P# or P Number
A catalog number for foreign currency. See also Pick Number.

paper money
Currency that is made from a type of paper, usually a cotton- based linen.

Pfennig
Primary unit of German coins and currency that existed from the 9th century until modern Germany adopted the Euro.

Pick Number
A cataloging system for currency created by German notaphilist Albert Pick for his book The Standard Catalog of World Currency. Today, the catalog is maintained by Krause Publications.

Postage Currency
Small, rectangular paper that looked like postage stamps but larger without gum on the reverse to be used in commerce issued 1862-1863. See also Fractional Currency.

pound
Pound, or pound sterling, is the unit currency of the Great Britain. The pound was introduced by King Henry II to represent one troy pound of silver. Since a pound was made up of 240 pennyweights, the penny was introduced to represent one pennyweight of silver.

reprint
Numismatically, it is a later printing of currency using the same printing plates as the original. Reprints are made for presentation or collection and altered in some way to distinguish it from the original printing.

security thread
A plastic-like ribbon embedded into currency paper during its manufacturer to prevent counterfeiting.

serial number
A sequence number printed on currency to indicate order of production. Serial numbers have also been used on medals.

shinplaster
A slang term used for paper money with a low face value. Citizens of both the United States and Canada used this term for their respective fractional currency issued during the 19th century.

Silver Certificates
Currency issued by the federal government backed by silver on deposit with the United States Treasury.

silver dollar
Silver coin that served as a cornerstone of U.S. currency from 1792 through 1935.

small notes
Descriptive term for United States currency issued starting in 1929. These notes are 6⅛ inches long and 2⅝ inches wide.

specie
Refers to hard money, such as coins made from precious metals, as opposed to currency.

star notes
A currency note whose serial number begins or ends with a star. The star is used to denote that the note is a replacement note for one found to be defective or damaged during the printing process.

Treasury Notes
Currency issued in 1890-1891 used to buy silver bullion and redeemable in gold coin.

uncut sheet
A sheet of currency notes that were not cut by the printer. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing sells uncut sheets as souvenirs.

United States Notes
First currency authorized by the Legal Tender Act of 1862 and the first notes printed by the National Currency Bureau backed by a bank’s assets.

United States Secret Service
The agency under the Department of Homeland Security that is responsible for protecting United States currency from counterfeiting. A branch of the U.S. Secret Service provides protection to the president, vice president, their families, and other national officials.

watermark
A design embedded into currency paper during its manufacture to prevent counterfeiting

Yen
Standard currency unit of Japan.

Yuan
Standard currency unit of the People's Republic of China.

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