Numismatic Glossary - B

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Mintmark of the cities of: Rouen (French coins 1852-1857), Hannover (German coins 1866-1873), Vienna, Austria (German coins during the Nazi occupation of that city, 1938-1945), Bologna (Italian coins1861-1946), Brussels, Belgium (on Netherlands coins), Breslau (Prussian coins1750-1820), Bern (Swiss coins).
Greek god of the wine, also known in Greece as Dionysos, on old roman coins with a whine cup, and a panther (cougar) on the coins of emperor Gallienus (253-268) only the cougar is shown, together with the text LIBERO P. CONS. AVG. only a few emperors chose the sign of Bacchus.
A generic term for the cloth sacks in which coin are stored and transported. These came into use in the mid-nineteenth century and replaced wooden kegs for this purpose.
bag mark
A generic term applied to a mark on a coin from another coin; it may, or may not, have been incurred in a bag.
bag toning
Coloring acquired from the bag in which a coin was stored. The cloth bags in which coins were transported contained sulfur and other reactive chemicals. When stored in such bags for extended periods, the coins near and in contact with the cloth often acquired beautiful red, blue, yellow and other vibrant colors. Sometimes the pattern of the cloth is visible in the toning; other times, coins have crescent-shaped toning because another coin was covering part of the surface, preventing toning. Bag toning is seen mainly on Morgan silver dollars, though occasionally on other series.
Northern Italian denier, and token, first from the 13th on to the 16th century.
Currency of Thailand 1 baht = 100 satang.
Currency of the Sultanate states of Oman and Muscat.
A token with two faces to each other, as picture on a coin this is often shown by the coins of Ferdinand and Isabella from Spain.
Currency of Panama, named after the explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa (+/- 1475-1519)
French name for the screw press.
Balance half merk
Silver coin from Scotland issued during the time of James VI. The reverse shows a sword and a balance.
Bank-wrapped rolls
Rolls of coins that were wrapped at a Federal Reserve Bank from original Mint bags. Such rolls are often desirable to collectors because they have not been searched or "picked" by collectors or dealers. Sometimes abbreviated as OBW, for "original bank wrapped."
Paper money issued on the authority of a bank, as opposed to a private individual, business, or government department. The term was in common use as a generic word for all kinds of paper money, but this usage has now been phased out (especially in America) in favor of the word "currency".
Barber coinage
Common name for the Charles Barber designed Liberty Head dimes, quarters, and half dollars struck from 1892 until 1916 (1915 for the half dollar).
Jean Jacques (1793-1855) die cutter for the coins of Louis Philippe and Lodewijk Napoleon. Also the engraver for the French notes of the Bank the France.
basal state
The condition of a coin that is identifiable only as to date mint mark (if present), and type; one-year-type coins may not have a date visible.
basal value
The value base from which Dr. William H. Sheldon's 70-point grade/price system started; this lowest-grade price was one dollar for the 1794 large cent upon which he based his system.
baseball cap coin
Slang for a Pan-Pac commemorative gold dollar coin. The figure wears a cap similar to a baseball cap.

The process of polishing a die to impart a mirrored surface or to remove clash marks or other injuries from the die.
Silver coin from Switzerland with the value of 1/3th taler or 4 Kreutzer.
A Scottish coin made of bullion, a very low silver coin, later replaced with copper. The value was 6 Scottish pennies or a half English penny.
Mintmarks for the Strasbourg mint.
beaded border
Small, round devices around the edge of a coin, often seen on early U.S. coins. These were replaced by dentils.
Carl Wilhelm (1772-1830) a very well known coin falser, he reproduced antique coins in large sums, the coins look even too perfect and are very hard to define from the original. His working period was from 1815-1825, many of his dies are shown in the Berlin Coin and token cabinet.
Dutch coin a medal cutter.
Gold gulden with Johannes the Baptist on its front, issued bij Jan van Beieren (1420-1425) ruler of a part of Holland.
Currency counting unit used in Belgium, 1 belga = 5 francs, used from 1926 until 1946.
Acronym for Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Also known as stuiver, a very popular coin in the Netherlands first issue was in 1619 till late 18th century.
BG Gold
Term sometimes applied to California fractional gold coins as encompassed in the Breen-Gillio reference work titled California Pioneer Fraction Gold, including additional discoveries.
BI monogram
Mintmark for the city of Birmingham, England, on Italian coins of the 1800's. The "B" and "I" are superimposed.
The buying quotation of a coin either on a trading network, pricing newsletter, or other medium.
Either the dealer issuing a quotation on one of the electronic trading systems or a participant in an auction.
bidder number
The number assigned by auction houses to the various participants in their auction. In the past, codes or nom de plumes were also commonplace at sales.
A lincoln cent error caused by a die break between the "B" and the "E" in Liberty, giving the appearance of "BIE".
This is the name for coin where 2 faces are on one side, for example the god Janus, on roman coins.
Silver coin of the Roman Empire with on the reverse a biga = kart with 2 horses, and the goddess of victory. The coins are minted from 217 until 64 BC.
An alloy of very low, and often indeterminate, silver content. Billon usually has a silver fineness of less than .500 fine. Thus, US "wartime nickels" (.350 fine) can be said to be made of billon. Many German and Dutch predecimal coins are made of billon, as were ancient Roman coins of the late Empire.
Acronym for Buy it Now
A double Aureus from the Roman Empire, minted under Caracalla (198-217)

The preferred name for the Ethopian dollar; divided into 100 santeem (or cents).
A colloquial name for a "real", one-eighth of a Spanish dollar. The name derives from the tendency to chop Spanish dollars into pieces when small change was scarce. The term survives in the common American expression "two bits", meaning a quarter dollar. The "bit" was also a minor currency unit used in the Danish West Indies (now the US Virgin Islands): there were 5 bits to a cent.
Belgium Franks, Belgium currency before the euro came in 2002.
Black holder
Usually refers to the original holders used by NGC to grade their coins, circa 1987. They were not popular with collectors initially due to the fact that copper coins nearly disappeared in them, and it was rejected in favor of the standard white holders.
See some NGC black holders on eBay
Forgeries of English copper coins of King George III, made in Canada, they got the name after a blacksmith who started to make them for own profit.
Blakesley effect
The weakness opposite the clip on a clipped planchet error coin. This occures during the upsetting process, because of the clip there is a lack in pressure to upset the rim directly opposite the clip.
Name for silver coins from the 14th to 16th century with a high silver value.
The flat disk of metal before it is struck by the dies and made into a coin.
A term applied to an element of a coin (design, date, lettering, etc.) that is worn into another element or the surrounding field.
Pierre, French coin novice that was one of the inventors of the screw press.
A blue-cover, wholesale pricing book for United States coins issued on a yearly basis.
Slang for the Certified Coin Dealer Newsletter.
The designation BM refers to "Branch Mint," meaning any US Mint other than Philadelphia. You will usually find this designation used to describe Branch Mint Proof coins, such as the 1879-O BM Proof Morgan dollar, 1893-CC BM Proof Morgan dollar, etc.
Short for Brown
body bag
Slang term for a coin returned from a grading service in a plastic sleeve within a flip. The coin referred to is a no-grade example and was not graded or encapsulated. Coins are no-grades for a number of reasons, such as questionable authenticity, cleaning, polishing, damage, repair, and so on.
Boeket tokens - Bouquet Sou
Tokens from the bank of Montreal and Banque du Peuple, called so because the flowers on the front side.
Copper coin from the republic of Yemen, 40 Bogash is 1 Ryal.
Currency of Venezuela, 1 Bolivar = 100 centimos, the name Bolivar comes from the south American freedom fighter Simon Bolivar (1783-1830).
The primary currency unit of Bolivia; there are 100 centavos to the boliviano. The name of this unit (and the country) derives from Simon Bolivar, liberator and independence leader.
Emergency currency in the Dutch East Indies made from 1796 until 1818, made from Japanese copper bars with two dies on both sides, one side the year, and the other side the value.

Bonnet Piece
Golden coin of Scotland, equal to a ducat, first issued in 1539, and it was the first Scottish coin known with a date on it.
Small Polish coins of bad quality, made in 1649-1660, named after the Polish mint master Titus Livius Borotinki.
Term synonymous with coin show.
bourse floor
The physical area where a coin show takes place.
boy wonder
Slang name for a young coin dealer who bursts upon the numismatic scene and quickly becomes a top flight dealer.
Belgium Franks, Belgium currency before the euro came in 2002.
A one side hammered coin of the province of Overijsel (the Netherlands), 64 braamse is one stuiver.
A very thin coin, struck with only one die, with the main obverse design shown in mirror-image and incuse on the reverse. It looks similar to a brockage, but a bracteate was intentionally struck that way, nd is not a mint error. Bracteate pfennigs were common in mediaeval Germany.
Braided Hair
Style of hair on half cents and large cents from 1840 onward consisting of hair pull back into a tight bun with a braided hair cord.
branch mint
One of the various subsidiary government facilities that struck, or still strikes, coins.
Brasher Dubloon
Very rare American coin from 1787, made by Ephram Brasher.
Silver coin of 2 and later 2 groot (great) first time issued by Jan zonder Vrees (Jan without Fear) 1404-1419 in Vlaanderen at 1409.
breast feathers
The central feathers seen on numerous eagle designs. Fully struck coins usually command a premium and the breast feathers are usually the highest point of the reverse. (They are the most deeply recessed area of the die, so metal sometimes does not completely fill the breast feather area, usually because of insufficient striking pressure. Incorrectly spaced or lapped dies will also cause "striking" weakness.)
Slang for the late Walter Breen. Often heard in context of Breen letter, Breen said, Breen wrote, and so on. A controversial personal life has dimmed the impact Breen had on numismatics.
Breen Book
Slang for Walter Breen's magnum opus, Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, published in 1988.
Breen letter
A document, usually one page, written or typed by Walter Breen giving his opinion on a particular numismatic item. Before certification, this was the usual method employed by collectors and dealers desiring to sell an esoteric item such as a branch-mint Proof, early Proof, and so on.
Numbering system base on the book on California fraction gold coins by Walter Breen and Ron Gillio titled California Pioneer Fraction Gold.
A coin with full luster, unimpeded by toning, or impeded only by extremely light toning.
Brilliant Uncirculated
A generic term applied to any coin that has not been in circulation. It often is applied to coins with little "brilliance" left, which properly should be described as simply Uncirculated.
British Armed Forces Special Vouchers (BAFSV)
Currency for use within the British military, equivalent to the US Military Payment Certificates (MPCs).

Coin struck without a collar, thus when the coin is struck the metal is allowed to expand and increase in diameter. May be centered or uncentered, but must not have any missing lettering or design detail.
Golden English coin from 1656, minted under Cromwell during the Commonwealth (1649-1660) with the weight of 9,1 grams 900/1000 fine.
A brockage is a Mint error, an early capped die impression where a sharp incused image has been left on the next coin fed into the coining chamber. Most brockages are partial; full brockages are rare and the most desirable form of the error.
Broken Bank Notes
Common term for private bank paper money issued in the USA prior to 1865.
An alloy of copper, tin and zinc, with copper the principal metal.
The term applied to a copper coin that no longer has the red color of copper. There are many "shades" of brown color - mahogany, chocolate, etc. (abbreviated as BN when used as part of a grade).
Known name for small bullion coins from the Prince-bishopric of Liege, Belgium.
Japanese gold and silver coins minted in the period of 1573-1860.
Short for Brilliant Uncirculated.
BU rolls
Wrapped coins (usually in paper) in specific quantities for each denomination. Fifty for cents, forty for nickels, fifty for dimes, forty for quarters, and so on.
buckled die
A die that has "warped" in some way, possibly from excess clashing, and that produces coins which are slightly "bent." This may be more apparent on one side and occasionally apparent only on one side.
Small silver coin from Algeria, from the 19th century first in 1808-1830, they had a value of 24 kopper mazunas.
Buffalo nickel
Slang for the Indian Head nickel struck from 1913 to 1938. The animal depicted is an American Bison.
bulged die
A die that has clashed so many times that a small indentation is formed in it. Coins struck from this die have a "bulged" area.
Slang for coins, ingots, private issue, and so on that trade below, at, or slightly above their intrinsic metal value. Only the precious metals (gold, silver, platinum, and palladium) are included as bullion. Copper cents could also technically be classed as bullion.
bullion coin
A legal tender coin that trades at a slight premium to it's melt value.
Popular name for the bronze pennies of queen Victoria of England made from 1860 till 1894.
Burgundies guilder
See Andries gulden.

This word has two distinct meanings in the world of numismatics, so you have to consider the context in order to discern the correct meaning. The word "burnished" can refer to specially prepared planchets (usually 18th century) that were used for specimen coins or other special coins of the era. These planchets were burnished at the Mint prior to the striking of the coin. As a second meaning, "burnished" can refer to any coin that was abrasively cleaned after it left the Mint, and the word is often used as a synonym for "whizzed" (the worst kind of cleaning, where the metal is actually moved around).
A process by which the surfaces of a planchet or a coin are made to shine through rubbing or polishing. This term is used in two contexts - one positive, one negative. In a positive sense, Proof planchets are burnished before they are struck - a procedure done originally by rubbing wet sand across the surfaces to impart a mirror like finish. In a negative sense, the surfaces on repaired and altered coins sometimes are burnished by various methods. In some instances, a high-speed drill with some type of wire brush attachment is used to achieve this effect.
burnishing lines
Lines resulting from burnishing, seen mainly on open-collar Proofs and almost never found on close-collar Proofs. These lines are incuse in the fields and go under lettering and devices.
Slang for a coin that has been over-dipped to the point were the surfaces are dull and lackluster.
business strike
A regular issue coin, struck on regular planchets by dies given normal preparation. These are the coins struck for commerce that the Mint places into circulation.
The head and shoulders of the emblematic Liberty seen on many United States issues.
Bust dollar
Slang for silver dollars struck from 1795-1803. (Those dated 1804 were first struck in 1834 for inclusion in Proof sets. Those Proofs dated 1801, 1802, and 1803 were also struck at dates later than indicated.)
Smallest currency unit of Gambia, struck sinds 1971, there are coins known of 1, 5 and 10 butut.

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