Numismatic Glossary - C

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Mintmark for the cities of: Charlotte, North Carolina (early US gold coins), Ottawa, Canada (British gold coins, Newfoundland coins), Saint Lo (French coins to 1657), Caen (French coins 1693-1771), Castelsarrasin (French coins during WWI and WWII), Frankfurt (German coins), Culiacan (Mexican coins), Cleve (Prussian coins to 1873).
C crowned (mintmark)
Mintmark for the city of Cadiz on Spanish coins.
Term applied to the gold coins struck at the Charlotte, North Carolina branch Mint. This Mint only struck gold coins from its opening in late 1837 until its seizure by the Confederacy. (Those coins struck in late 1837 were dated 1838.)
1. Short for cameo.
2. Mintmark for the city of Chihuahua on Spanish-Mexican 8 reales and Mexican coins. Some Royalist Chihuahua mint 8 reales were cast, with very crudely rendered mint marks
CAC stands for Certified Acceptance Corporation. They take already certified coins and examine them for quality. Only coins that are strong for the grade will receive the CAC sticker. Sometimes the sticker is referred to as a "green bean."
See some CAC examples on eBay.
cabinet friction
Slight disturbance seen on coins (usually on the obverse) that were stored in wooden cabinets used by early collectors to house their specimens. Often a soft cloth was used to wipe away dust, causing light hairlines or friction.
Australian (particularly Queensland) term for shinplaster, privately issued paper money used in rural Australia up to the early 1900's.
Short for Cameo. Also, PCGS grading suffix used for 1950 and later Proofs that meet cameo standards.
The term applied to coins, usually Proofs and prooflike coins, that have frosted devices and lettering that contrast with the fields. When this is deep the coins are said to be "black and white" cameos. Occasionally frosty coins have "cameo" devices though they obviously do not contrast as dramatically with the fields as the cameo devices of Proofs do. Specifically applied by PCGS to those 1950 and later Proofs that meet cameo standards (CAM).
Slang for the coins and other numismatic items of the Canada.
Canadian silver
Slang for the silver coins of Canada. (Mainly struck in 80% fineness.)
An old Chinese unit of weight, now obsolete, equal to about 0.37 grams. There were 10 candareens to a mace. Chinese silver coins often report their weights in mace and candareens.
Cap Bust
Alternate form of Capped Bust
Capped Bust
A term describing any of the various incarnations of the head of Miss Liberty represented on early U.S. coins by a bust with a floppy cap. This design is credited to John Reich.
capped die
The term applied to an error in which a coin gets jammed in the coining press and remains for successive strikes, eventually forming a "cap" either on the upper or lower die. These are sometimes spectacular with the "cap" often many times taller than a normal coin.
carbon spot
A spot seen mainly on copper and gold coins, though also occasionally found on U.S. nickel coins (which are 75 percent copper) and silver coins (which are 10 percent copper). Carbon spots are brown to black spots of oxidation that range from minor to severe - some so large and far advanced that the coin is not graded because of environmental damage.
Carson City Mint
Located in Nevada, this mint produced gold and silver coins from 1870-1893. It was closed from 1885-1889 due to a lack of funding. In 1893 the mint was permanently closed due to internal corruption. In 1895 it was found that several employees and prominent community officials were stealing bullion from the mint and this dashed all hopes of the mint ever reopening. Coins minted in Carson City are among the most popular branch-mint issues. This mint uses the "CC" mintmark.
1. The pleasing effect seen on some coins when they are rotated in a good light source. The luster rotates around like the spokes of a wagon wheel. A term applied mainly to frosty Mint State coins, especially silver dollars, to describe their luster. Also, a slang term for a silver dollar.

2. Any large, heavy coin, such as the British pennies and twopences of 1797.
Cash (Chinese coin)
The traditional form of coinage in China. A cash coin is round, with a square hole, and normally four Chinese characters around the hole on the obverse. This form of coin was cast (not struck) from around 200 BC up until the early 1900's, with very little change in appearance over the centuries. Cash-style coins were also made in neighboring countries such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
cast blanks
Planchets made by a mold method, rather than being cut from strips of metal.
cast counterfeit
A replication of a genuine coin usually created by making molds of the obverse and reverse, then casting base metal in the molds. A seam is usually visible on the edge unless it has been ground away.
Castaing machine
A device invented by French engineer Jean Castaing, which added the edge lettering and devices to early U.S. coins before they were struck. This machine was used until close collar dies were introduced which applied the edge device in the striking process.
A printed listing of coins for sale either by auction or private treaty. As a verb, to write the description of the numismatic items offered.
Mintmark used to signify coins struck at the Carson City, Nevada branch Mint.
CC monogram
Mintmark for the city of Besancon (French coins). The two "C"s are entwined back-to-back, making a curved "X" shape.
Short for Certified Coin Dealer Newsletter.
Short for Certified Coin Exchange
Short for Coin Dealer Newsletter
Ce (mintmark)
Mintmark for the city of Real de Catorce on Mexican coins.
Primary monetary unit of Ghana. Divided into 100 pesewas. In 2007 the "old cedi" was replaced by the "new cedi" at a rate of 10,000 old to the new. "Cedi" is the name for the cowry shell in the local Akan language.
A compilation of the known specimens of a particular numismatic item.
A denomination valued at one-hundredth of the primary monetary unit, used by numerous countries as the minor unit in their decimal currency systems. The first country to issue cents was the United States, which has struck cents continuously since 1793 except for 1815. Other countries use variations on the word "cent", particularly Romance language countries in which the word "cent" means "one hundred".
The fractional currency unit of Lithuania; there are 100 centu to the litas.
An equivalent of a cent used in Spanish or Portuguese-speaking countries.
An equivalent of a cent used in Italian-speaking countries. Also a variant used in some Spanish-speaking countries. The plural in Italian is "centesimi".
An equivalent of a cent used in French-speaking countries.
An equivalent of a cent used in a few Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries. The Andorran "centim" is a local variant on the spelling of this word.
Certified Coin Dealer Newsletter
The official name for the Bluesheet that lists bid/ask/market prices for third-party certified coins.
Certified Coin Exchange
The bid/ask coin trading and quotation system owned by the American Teleprocessing Company.
An abbreviation for "Choice."
Chain Cent
The popular name for the Flowing Hair Chain cent of 1793, the first coins struck in the newly occupied Mint building.
The name of a bronze unit of currency in several ancient Greek city-states. In Athens, there were 8 chalkoi to the obol.
Chapman Proof
Those 1921 Morgan dollar Proofs supposedly struck for coin dealer Henry Chapman. These have cameo devices and deeply mirrored surfaces like most Morgan dollar Proofs.
Charlotte Mint
Located in North Carolina, the branch Mint at Charlotte operated from 1838-1861 and was closed due to the Civil War. The Charlotte mint struck only gold coins (mostly from local, native ore), all of which bear the "C" mintmark.
A method used by forgers to create a mint mark on a coin. It involves heating the surfaces and moving the metal to form the mint mark.
Sometimes spelled "chhertum". The fractional currency unit of Bhutan; there are 100 chetrum to the ngultrum.
An adjectival description applied to coin's grade, e.g., choice Uncirculated, choice Very Fine, etc. Used to describe an especially attractive example of a particular grade.
Choice Unc
Short for Choice Uncirculated.
Choice Uncirculated
An Uncirculated coin grading MS-63 or MS-64.
The fractional currency unit in North Korea; there are 100 chon to the won. Coins denominated in chon have not been issued by the South, but the North has issued numerous NCLT coins denominate in chon.
A term applied to a coin that has wear, ranging from slight rubbing to heavy wear.
A term applied to coins that have been spent in commerce and have received wear.
circulation cameo
A state of preservation on a well-circulated coin that exhibits naturally darkened/toned fields in conjunction with lighter/less toned devices. The contrast between the darker fields and lighter devices, when significant, presents similarly to the cameo contrast seen on some proof coins.
circulation strike
An alternate term for Business Strike or Regular Strike. A coin meant for commerce.
A form of tetradrachm struck at several ancient Greek cities during Roman times, these were the largest Roman silver coins. Tariffed at three Roman denarii or four local drachms. The name derives from the sacred box of Dionysius, frequently depicted on these coins.
Mintmark for the city of Genoa during the French occupation of that city, 1813-14.
A term used to describe any of the modern "sandwich" coins that have layers of copper and nickel. (A pure copper core surrounded by a copper-nickel alloy.) Also used for the 40-percent silver half dollars.
clad bag
Usually applied to a one-thousand dollar bag of 40-percent silver half dollars although it also could apply to any bag of "sandwich" coins.
clash marks
The images of the dies seen on coins struck from clashed dies. The obverse will have images from the reverse and vice versa.
clashed dies
Dies that have been damaged by striking each other without a planchet between them. Typically, this imparts part of the obverse image to the reverse die and vice versa.
Classic Era
The term describing the period from 1792 until 1964 when silver and gold coins of the United States were issued. (Gold coins, of course, were not minted after 1933.)
Classic Head
A depiction of Miss Liberty that recalls the "classic" look of a Roman or Greek athlete wearing a ribbon around the hair. The motif was first used on the John Reich designed struck from 1808 until 1814. The next year, the half cent was changed to this design. This head was also copied by William Kneass for the quarter eagle and half eagle designs first struck in 1834.
A term applied to a coin whose original surface has been removed. The effects may be slight or severe, depending on the method used.
Slang for a coin struck from a clipped planchet.
A term for an irregularly cut planchet. A clip can be straight or curved, depending upon where it was cut from the strip of metal.
clogged die
A die that has grease or some other contaminant lodged in the recessed areas. Coins struck from such a die have diminished detail, sometimes completely missing.
close collar
The edge device, sometimes called a collar die, that surrounds the lower die. Actually open and close collars are both closed collars - as opposed to segmented collars. The close collar imparts reeding or a smooth, plain edge.
Closed collar
Alternate form of close collar
The name given to the series of crudely-struck silver and gold coins, particularly from the Spanish-American mints from the 1500's to the 1700's. The name comes from the Spanish phrase "cabo de barre", cut off the bar, describing the method of preparing the blanks for these coins by slicing pieces off of a roughly cylindrical ingot of precious metal. The name can also be applied to any series of coins where the blanks were prepared in similar fashion, such as Russia; the word "ruble" also means "cut".
Metal formed into a disk of standardized weight and stamped with a standard design to enable it to circulate as money authorized by a government body.
coin collection
A systematic grouping of coins assembled for fun or profit.
coin collector
An individual who accumulates coins in a systematic manner.
Coin Dealer Newsletter
Weekly periodical, commonly called the Greysheet, listing bid and ask prices for many United States coins.
coin friction
Term applied to the area resulting when coins rub together in rolls or bags and small amounts of metal are displaced.
Coin Orientation
When the rotation axis of the two dies of a coin is 180 degrees. That is, when a coin's obverse is facing the viewer "right way up" and the coin is held at top and bottom and turned over, the reverse now appears "upside down". The opposite is "medal orientation".
coin show
A bourse composed of coin dealers displaying their wares for sale and trade.
Coin Universe
Internet site established in 1994 for the trading of numismatic items
Coin World
Weekly numismatic periodical established in 1960.
The issuance of metallic money of a particular country.
Monthly numismatic magazine.
Coins Magazine
Monthly numismatic periodical.
A metal piece that either positions a planchet beneath the dies and/or restrains the expanding metal of a coin during striking. Collars are considered the "third" die and, today, are used to impart the edge markings to a coin. Collars can be merely a hole in a flat piece of metal or a set of segments that pull away from the coin after it is struck.
An individual who amasses a systematic group of coins or other numismatic items.
The primary monetary units of Costa Rica and El Salvador. The plural is colones. "Colon" is the Spanish name for Christopher Columbus.
Short for "commemorative."
Coins issued to honor some person, place, or event and, in many instances, to raise funds for activities related to the theme. Sometimes called NCLT (non-circulating legal tender) commemoratives.
commercial grade
A grade that is usually one level higher than the market grade; refers to a coin that is "pushed" a grade, such as an EF/AU coin (corresponding to 45+) sold as AU-50.
commercial strike
A synonym for regular strike or business strike.
A numismatic issue that is readily available. Since this is a relative term, no firm number can be used as a cut-off point between common and scarce.
common date
A particular issue within a series that is readily available. No exact number can be used to determine which coins are common dates as this is relative to the mintage of the series. (i.e. A 1799 eagle is a common date within its series just as an 1881-S silver dollar is a common date within the Morgan series. Obviously, the 1799 eagle is rare compared to the 1881-S dollar.)
Communion Token
Tokens used in certain closed-communion churches, particularly Scottish (Presbyterian), to gain entry to the communion service.
complete set
A term for all possible coins within a series, all types, or all coins from a particular branch Mint. Examples would include a complete set of a series (The three-dollar series can have but one complete set, that being the Harry Bass Foundation set that includes the unique 1870-S. Yes, it is possible that the cornerstone coin could appear someday and change the unique status; a complete gold type set would include examples of all types from 1795 until 1933; a complete set of Charlotte Mint gold dollars must include the 1849-C Open Wreath example of which there are but four currently verified.)
The state of preservation of a particular numismatic issue.
Condition Census
A listing of the finest known examples of a particular issue. There is no fixed number of coins in a Condition Census with 5, 6, 10, and other totals used by different surveyors.
condition rarity
A term to indicate a common coin that is rare when found in high grades. Also, the rarity level at a particular grade and higher.
consensus grading
The process of determining the condition of a coin by using multiple graders.
contact marks
Marks on a coin that are incurred through contact with another coin or a foreign object. These are generally small, compared to other types of marks such as gouges.
contemporary counterfeit
A coin, usually base metal, struck from crudely engraved dies and made to pass for face value at the time of its creation. Sometimes such counterfeits are collected along with the genuine coins, especially in the case of American Colonial issues.
Continental dollars
1776 dated "dollars" struck in pewter (scarce), brass (rare), copper (extremely rare) and silver (extremely rare). Although likely struck sometime later than 1776, these saw extensive circulation. The design was inspired by certain Benjamin Franklin sketches. Some of these were possibly struck as pattern "cents" instead of "dollars."
copper spot
A spot or stain commonly seen on gold coinage, indicating an area of copper concentration that has oxidized. Copper spots or stains range from tiny dots to large blotches.
The alloy (88% copper, 12% nickel) used for small cents from 1856 until mid-1864.
Copper-Nickel Cent
The cents issued from 1859 until 1864 in the copper-nickel alloy. These were called white cents by the citizens of the era because of their pale color compared to the red cents of the past.
Slang for half cents, large cents, and pre-Federal copper issues.
Any reproduction, fraudulent or otherwise, of a coin.
copy dies
Dies made at a later date, usually showing slight differences from the originals. Examples include the reverse of 1804 Class II and III silver dollars and 1831 half cents with the Type of 1840-57 reverse. Also used to denote counterfeit dies copied directly from a genuine coin.
The primary monetary unit of Nicaragua; there are 100 centavos to the cordoba. Named after the founder of Nicaragua, Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba. The cordoma has been revaluated twice in recent years, due to hyperinflation.
Coronet Head
Alternate name for Braided Hair design by Christian Gobrecht (also called Liberty Head design).
Damage that results when reactive chemicals act upon metal. When toning ceases to be a "protective" coating and instead begins to damage a coin, corrosion is the cause. Usually confined to copper, nickel and silver regular issues, although patterns in aluminum, white metal, tin, etc., also are subject to this harmful process.
The price paid for a numismatic item.
Literally, a coin that is not genuine. There are cast and struck counterfeits and the term is also applied to issues with added mint marks, altered dates, etc.
A stamp or impression placed on a coin after it has left the Mint of origin. Counterstamps were frequently used as advertising gimmicks on large cents and other coins. The counterstamp leaves a permanent impression on the metal and may hurt the value of the coin. It may also help the value, as in the case of an Ephriam Brasher counterstamp.
counting board
An abacus-like arrangement used with jetons or rechenpfennig, which assisted with calculating in Roman numerals, and also with reckoning amounts of money in complicated pre-decimal and multinational monetary systems.
counting machine mark
A dense patch of lines caused by the rubber wheel of a counting machine where the wheel was set with insufficient spacing for the selected coin. Many coins have been subjected to counting machines - among these are Mercury dimes, Buffalo nickels, Walking Liberty half dollars, Morgan and Peace dollars, and Saint-Gaudens double eagles.
Cow (mintmark)
Mintmark for the city of Pau (French coins). Coins from this mint are also distinguished by the addition of the letters "BD" (abbreviation for "Duke of Bearn") to the king's titles
Cowry shells
Seashells which became a form of primitive money used in various parts of the world, especially in areas far from the sea or where cowry shells were not abundant, particularly in China, the west coast of Africa, and the Pacific islands. The species known as "money cowries" (Cypraea moneta) was most commonly used for this purpose. Bone, stone, jade and copper imitations of cowries were the earliest known objects specifically made for use as money, in China, circa 2000 BC. In modern times, the "cauri" was a fractional currency of Guinea prior to the reintroduction of the Guinean franc, and the Ghanian cedi is also named after the shell.
A word that is used to describe a coin that graded the same at two different grading services. Also written as two words: cross over. "I was sure that the coin wouldn't cross over, so I didn't buy it." or "That coin's definitely a crossover."
A large silver coin of Great Britain and the British colonies, valued at 5 shillings. The name is also used in a more general sense, of any large silver coin roughly the same size as a crown.
An area of a coin struck by a die that has a complete break across part of its surface. A cud may be either a retained cud, where the faulty piece of the die is still in place, or a full cud, where the piece of the die has fallen away. Retained cuds usually have dentil detail if on the edge, while full cuds do not.
A coin that is basically non-collectible due to its extremely bad condition. A coin that will not even qualify for a grade of Poor-1, usually because of extensive environmental damage or other post-striking damage.
Any alloy of copper and nickel. Now usually used in reference to the modern "sandwich" issues. The copper-nickel cents, three-cent nickel issues, and nickel issues are also cupro-nickel.
A synonym for "money", the word has in recent years (particularly in America) taken on the more specific meaning of "paper money" or "banknotes".
CUZco monogram (mintmark)
Mintmark for the city of Cuzco on Peruvian and Spanish-Peruvian coins.
Abbreviation for catalog value, the value a coin has according to the book or catalog most usually referenced for that particular coin type.
Short for civil war token.

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