Numismatic Dictionary

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There are 55 names in this directory containing the search term silver. Clear results.
adjustment marks
Scratches or file marks on a silver of coin made by the Mint to reduce the weight of the coin so that the amount of metal does not exceed its value. This usually can be seen on pre-1807 coins.

Chemical symbol for silver. See also silver.

A low-density silvery non-precious metal that is the third most common metal in the Earth’s crust. Many countries have used aluminum as a low-cost alternative to other metals for their low denomination coins. Its chemical symbol is Al.

An alloy of gold or silver with copper or other base metals that were used for striking coins of small denomination.

Canadian silver
Slang term for the silver coins of Canada.

Carson City
The state capital of Nevada that housed a branch of the United States Mint. The Carson City Mint was established in 1863 but was not operational until 1870 to support the assay and minting of silver from the Comstock Lode. It was operated through 1883 when silver coinage minting was reduced. Production was resumed in 1885 to be ended permanently in 1893. Coins struck in Carson City have a "CC" mintmark.

The effect caused by the natural luster silver coins when tilted back and forth, beams of light seem to shine from the center of the coin. It is also a slang term for a silver dollar.

Civil War Tokens
Tokens issued during the Civil War that were usable in place of scarce coins. Most Civil War Tokens were struck on copper planchets but some later tokens were struck on brass, silver, and other white metals. Many of the tokens were designed to look similar to United States coins and most included political messages.

Classic Era
Term referring to coins minted from 1792 through 1964 when silver and gold coins of the United States were issued for circulation. Gold coins were only minted until 1933. See also Modern Era.

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

Crime of 73
Nickname for the Coinage Act of 1873. The act ended the right of silver bullion holders to have the U.S. Mint assay and strike silver coins as well as ended bimetallism by putting the United States on the gold standard. The results were economic deflation and contention from gold interests and others that saw bimetallism as a way to expand the economy. (This is only a brief summary and is recommended that you seek other references for more information)

A small Roman silver coin first minted about 268 B.C.E. during the Second Punic War.

A gold or silver coin used as a trade coin in Europe from the later medieval centuries until the mid-20th century.

Feuchtwanger Metal
A metal alloy proposed to the Treasury by a New York City dentist, Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger, consisting of .53 copper, .29 zinc and .18 nickel for use in minor coinage. It is simiar to the allow called German Silver or Nickel Siver. See also nickel silver.

The purity of a precious metal measured as a ratio to the number of parts per 1,000 units by its weight. For example, the American Silver Eagle has a fineness ratio of .999 meaning that the coin contains 999 parts per 1,000 total parts of silver by weight. Non-precious metals are usually not specified.

Nickname for the United States three-cent silver coin struck from 1851 through 1873. The nickname was also used for the Canadian silver five-cent coin struck from 1870 through 1921.

German Silver
A synonym for a Feuchtwanger Metal.

Gobrecht Dollar
Silver dollars dated 1836,1838, and 1839 named for their designer, Christian Gobrecht, Chief Engraver from 1840-1844.

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 dime
A silver coin with a five-cents face value minted in the United States from 1794-1873.

half disme
A silver coin with a five-cents face value minted in the United States in 1792. See also half dime.

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.

Refers to the multi-colored, rainbow-like toning on a coin’s surface, especially of a silver coin.

Maria Theresa Thaler
The name given to any silver coin that was used in world trade, primarily in the eastern Mediterranean, since 1741. The trade coin's size and weight were standardized in 1951. It was named after Empress Maria Theresa, ruler of the territories of central Europe from 1745 until her death in 1780. Maria Theresa thaler coins struck after 1780 were dated 1780 in her memory.

Maundy money
Maundy money, or the Queen’s Maundy money, is a symbolic handout to poor elderly recipients who served the sovereign of England. Modern Maundy money are non-circulating legal tender silver coins that are given with a small amount of circulating money instead of gifts of clothing and food. The ceremony derives from an instruction of Jesus at the Last Supper that his followers should love one another. Traditions, such as washing of the feet (mandatum) and other gifts, have evolved to a symbolic handout of money.

milled dollar
A silver coin struck in and for commerce in the Spanish colonies of the Western Hemisphere. See also reales.

Modern Era
Term used to describe coins produced since 1965. At this time, all circulating coins were made using base medals except for the Kennedy half-dollar from 1965-1969 when the amount of silver was reduced to 40-percent.

New Orleans
Louisiana’s largest city and main entry port on the Mississippi River, New Orleans was the home of a branch of the United States Mint. It was established in 1838 and operated until 1861 when the Confederate Army captured it during the Civil War. ADM David Farragut recaptured it in 1862. Following the passage of the Bland-Allison Act in 1878 that required the federal government to buy large quantities of silver, it was recommissioned as a mint in 1879 and operated until 1909. Coins struck in New Orleans have an "O" mintmark.

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.

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.

A silvery precious metal that has the lowest melting point of the Platinum Group Metals. Its chemical symbol is Pd.

A dense, malleable, and non-conductive silvery precious metal. Its chemical symbol is Pt.

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.

Prestige Proof Sets
Sets containing silver proof coins for the year that included the commemorative coin for that year. Prestige Proof Sets were produced in the 1990s. See also proof.

rainbow toning
Toning which is usually seen on silver dollars stored in bags. A full spectrum of colors is represented; beginning with yellow, then green, to red, to blue, and sometimes even black.

Also spelled "reale" with the plural spelled "reales," is Spanish for "royal" meant to represent the silver unit coin of the Spanish colonies in the western hemisphere.

A shiny grayish-white precious metal. Sometimes written using its chemical symbol of Ag for its Latin name argentum.

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.

silver nickel
Synonym for Wartime nickel.

A clad coin whose outer layers are made from .80 silver and .20 copper surrounding a 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.

So-Called Dollar
A medal the size of a silver dollar that commemorates a person, place, event, or conveys a political or satirical message.

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

A term used to describe silver European coins usually the size of a U.S. silver (large) dollar. The word is pronounced as “tailor.” In some German dialects, it is pronounced daler which is where the term dollar is derived.

three-cent piece
A coin minted by the U.S. Mint whose face value is 3-cents. A silver coin was produced 1851 -1872 and nicknamed a trime. A version of the coin was produced in nickel from 1865-1889 and was nicknamed a three-cent nickel.

Trade Dollar
A silver dollar made using 420 grains of silver struck for the purpose of trade with the Orient. It was first struck in 1873 and discontinued in 1878. Proof versions were issued as late as 1885 when the coin was demonetized. Trade dollars regained legal tender status when the Coinage Act of 1965 was passed.

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

Trial of the Pyx
The annual test of gold and silver coins to ensure they are have been properly minted. The pyx is an official container that holds samples from each coinage run. The Royal Mint holds an annual Trial of the Pyx. In the United States, the Assay Commission was dissolved in 1980, ending the annual practice.

The nickname for the silver Three Cents coins struck from 1851 through 1873. Synonym for a silver three-cent piece.

Van Allen-Mallis
Unique number assigned to each die variety combination of Morgan and Peace dollars known to the authors of The Complete Catalog and Encyclopedia of United States Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars. Numbers assigned are called VAM numbers, an abbreviation of the authors Leroy Van Allen and A. George Mallis.

An alloy similar to German Silver but consists of 81% Copper, 10% Zinc and 9% Nickel that was developed by the Pobjoy Mint. Since Virenium has a lower percentage of white metals than German Silver, coins struck using the allow have a light gold color. See also German Silver.

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

West Point
West Point is a city in Orange County, New York that is the home of the United States Military Academy. The silver bullion depository was opened in 1937 on the Academy campus. Coin production began in 1974 to supplement the production at the Philadelphia Mint. It was granted mint status in 1988. Non-circulating coins struck at West Point have the "W" mintmark. No mintmarks were struck into circulating coins and none are struck into precious metal coins produced for the bullion market.

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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