Numismatic Glossary - D

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D
Mintmark for the cities of: Dahlonega, Georgia (US gold coins from 1838 to 1861), Denver, Colorado (US coins of all denominations from 1906 to the present, as well as Australian coins of WWII), Lyon (French coins), Munich (German coins), Durango (Spanish-Mexican coins) Aurich (Prussian coins to 1848).
D-Mint
Term used for the gold coinage struck at the branch Mint in Dahlonega, Georgia, from 1838 to 1861, and for the coinage struck at the branch Mint in Denver, Colorado, from 1906 to the present.
Dahlonega Mint
After the discovery of gold in the southern United States a new mint was constructed in Dahlonega, Georgia. The first coinage exited its doors in 1838 and it continued minting until it was closed due to the civil war in 1861. The 1861-D gold dollars were struck after the Mint was seized, the mintage figure for this rare issue is not listed in Mint records and has been estimated at 1,000 to 1,500 examples. The Dahlonega Mint struck only gold coins and used the "D" mintmark.
Dalasi
The primary monetary unit of Gambia. Divided into 100 bututs. The name derives from rendering "dollar" in the local Mankinda language.
Daric
An ancient Persian gold coin, of the same basic design as the silver siglos. The daric is the first coin mentioned in the bible (Ezra 8:27).
Darkside
Coin forum slang for "foreign". The term derives from the observation that the stereotypical American coin collector focuses only on American coins and knows more about the darkside of the Moon than they know about foreign coins. Coins that you're likely to find in change (like Canadian coins in the US) are sometimes called "greyside" - not quite as "dark".
date
The numerals on a coin representing the year in which it was struck. Restrikes are made in years subsequent to the one that appears on them. Also, slang for a more valuable issue within a series.
DC
Short for Deep Cameo.
DCAM
Short for Deep Cameo.
DDO
An acronym for Doubled Die Obverse.
DDR
An acronym for Doubled Die Reverse.
dealer
Someone whose occupation is buying, selling, and trading numismatic material.
Decadrachm
Also spelled "Dekadrachm", a large silver coin issued by a few ancient Greek city states and kingdoms. The decadrachms of Syracuse are widely regarded as the most beautiful of all ancient coins.
Decimalization
The process where a country adopts a decimal currency, in which the main monetary unit is worth multiples of 10 or 100 of a smaller monetary unit. Decimalization happened in Britain in 1970, when the old predecimal system of 12 pence to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound was replaced with the current system of 100 new pence to the pound.
Decime
The equivalent if a dime in French-speaking countries. The denomination was struck in post-revolutionary France and Haiti, as well as Monaco, but the term is no longer in use.
Deep Cameo
The term applied to coins, usually Proofs and prooflike coins, that have deeply frosted devices and lettering that contrast with the fields - often called "black and white" cameos. Specifically applied to those 1950 and later Proofs that meet deep cameo standards (DCAM).
deep mirror prooflike
Any coin that has deeply reflective mirror-like fields, the term especially applicable for Morgan dollars. Those Morgan dollars that meet PCGS standards are designated deep mirror prooflike (DMPL).
Denarius
An ancient Roman silver coin. It's name means "tenner" because it was originally worth 10 asses; this was later retariffed to 16 asses.
denomination
The value assigned by a government to a specific coin.
denticles
The tooth-like devices around the rim seen on many coins. Originally these are somewhat irregular, later much more uniform - the result of better preparatory and striking machinery.
dentils
Short for denticles.
Denver Mint
The Denver Mint was established in 1906. It had formerly been an Assay Office since 1863. Today, this Mint manufactures coins of all denominations for general circulation, medals, coin dies, stores gold and silver bullion, manufactures uncirculated coin sets and commemorative coins. This mint uses the "D" mintmark.
design
A particular motif on a coin or other numismatic item. The Seated Liberty, Barber, Morgan, etc. are examples of designs.
design type
A specific motif placed upon coinage which may be used for several denominations and subtypes, e.g., the Liberty Seated design type used for silver coins from half dimes through dollars and various subtypes therein.
designer
The individual responsible for a particular motif used for a numismatic series.
device
Any specific design element. Often refers to the principal design element, such as the head of Miss Liberty.
device punch
A steel rod with a raised device on the end used to punch the element into a working die. This technique was used before hubbed dies became the norm.
Didrachm
An ancient Greek silver coin, worth two drachms.
die
A steel rod that is engraved, punched, or hubbed with devices, lettering, the date, and other emblems.
die alignment
Term to indicate the relative position of the obverse and reverse dies. When the dies are out of alignment, several things can happen: If the dies are out of parallel, weakness may be noted in a quadrant of the coin's obverse and the corresponding part of the reverse; and if the dies are spaced improperly, the resultant coins may have overall weakness; if the dies are spaced too close together, the resultant coin may be well struck but the dies wear more quickly.
die break
An area of a coin that is the result of a broken die. This may be triangular or other geometric shape. Dies are made of steel and they crack from use and then, if not removed from service, eventually break. When the die totally breaks apart, the resultant break will result in a full, or retained, cud depending whether the broken piece falls from the die or not.
die clash
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.
die crack
A raised, irregular line on a coin, ranging from very fine to very large, some quite irregular. These result when a hairline break occurs in a die.
die line
These are the raised lines on the coins that result from the polish lines on the die, which are incuse, resulting in the raised lines on the coins.
die rust
Rust that has accumulated on a die that was not stored properly. Often such rust was polished away, so that only the deeply recessed parts of the die still exhibited it. A few examples are known of coins that were struck with extremely rusted dies - the 1876-CC dime, for one.
die stage
There are two definitions for this term. One, many numismatists use it as a synonym for "die state." Two, some numismatists use the term "die stage" to refer to the specific status of a certain die state. For instance, in die state XYZ this coin exhibits a large cud at six o'clock, but in this particular die stage the cud isn't fully formed.
die state
A readily identified point in the life of a coinage die. Often dies clash and are polished, crack, break, etc., resulting in different stages of the die. These are called die states. Some coins have barely distinguishable die states, while others go through multiple distinctive ones.
die striations
Raised lines on coins that were struck with polished dies. As more coins are struck with such dies, the striations become fainter until most disappear.
die trial
A test striking of a particular die in a different metal.
die variety
A coin that can be linked to a given set of dies because of characteristics possessed by those dies and mparted to the coin at the time it was struck. In the early years of U.S. coinage history, when dies were made by hand engraving or punching, each die was slightly different. The coins from these unique dies are die varieties and are collected in every denomination. By the 1840's, when dies were made by hubbing and therefore were more uniform, die varieties resulted mainly from variances in the size, shape, and positioning of the date and mintmark.
die wear
Deterioration in a die caused by excessive use. This may evidence itself on coins produced with that die in a few indistinct letters or numerals or, in extreme cases, a loss of detail throughout the entire coin. Some coins, especially certain nickel issues, have a fuzzy, indistinct appearance even on Uncirculated examples.
dime
The denomination, one tenth of a dollar, issued since 1796 by the United States.
Dinar
An early Islamic gold coin. The name derives from the Roman denarius. In the early days of the Caliphate, the Islamic dinar and the Byzantine solidus weighed the same, and were accepted at par. The primary monetary units of many Arab nations, namely Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Tunisia and Iraq, are all named after this coin. The dinar was also the primary monetary of old Yugoslavia, and some of it's successor states (Macedonia and Serbia), though these are named after a mediaeval Serbian silver coin, rather than the Arabic coin. The Andorran "diner" is a local variant on the spelling of this word.
ding
Slang term for a small to medium size mark.
dipped
A term applied to a coin that has been placed in a commercial "dip" solution, a mild acid wash that removes the toning from most coins. Some dip solutions employ other chemicals, such as bases, to accomplish a similar result. The first few layers of metal are removed with every dip, so coins repeatedly dipped will lose luster, hence the term "overdipped".
dipping solution
Any of the commercial "dips" available on the market, usually acid-based.
Dirham
An early Islamic silver coin. The name derives from the Greek and Sassanian drachm. The primary monetary units of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, a secondary monetary unit of Jordan, and the fractional monetary units of Libya and Qatar are all named after this coin. The Tajikistan fractional unit, the diram, is also named after this coin.
disme
The original spelling of dime, the s silent and thought to have been pronounced to rhyme with steam. (This variation was used in Mint documents until the 1830s and was officially changed by the Coinage Act of 1837.)
DMPL
Short for deep mirror prooflike.
Do (mintmark)
Mintmark for the city of Durango on Mexican coins.
Dobra
The primary currency unit of Sao Tome e Principe; historically, there were 100 centimos to the dobra, but due to inflation it is now a de facto unitary currency.
doctored
Term used for a numismatic item that has been enhanced by chemical or other means. Usually, this is used in a derogatory way.
dollar
The denomination, consisting of one hundred cents, authorized by the Mint Act of 1792. This is the anglicized spelling of the European Thaler and was used because of the world-wide acceptance of the Thaler and the Spanish Milled dollar or piece-of-eight.
Dong
Primary currency unit of Vietnam, as well as the former states of North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The dong is theoretically subdivided into 10 hao and 100 xu, although inflation has rendered the dong into a defacto unitiary currency.
Double
A predecimal monetary unit formerly used on the British dependency of Guernsey. Named after an older French monetary unit, the double tournois. There were 8 doubles to a Guernsey penny.
Double Eagle
Literally two eagles, or twenty dollars. A twenty-dollar U.S. gold coin issued from 1850 through 1932. One gold double eagle dated 1849 is known and is part of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. Nearly half a million examples dated 1933 were struck by the U.S. Mint, but virtually all were melted when private gold ownership was outlawed that year.
double(d) die
A die that has been struck more than once by a hub in misaligned positions, resulting in doubling of design elements. Before the introduction of hubbing, the individual elements of a coin's design were either engraved or punched into the die, so any doubling was limited to a specific element. With hubbed dies, multiple impressions are needed from the hub to make a single die with adequate detail. When shifting occurs in the alignment between the hub and the die, the die ends up with some of its features doubled - then imparts this doubling to every coin it strikes. The most famous doubled die is the 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln cent. PCGS uses doubled die as the designation.
double struck
A condition that results when a coin is not ejected from the dies and is struck a second time. Such a coin is said to be double-struck. Triple-struck coins and other multiple strikings also are known. Proofs are usually double-struck on purpose in order to sharpen their details; this is sometimes visible under magnification.
Doubloon
A early Spanish gold coin. The name originally applied to the gold excelente of Ferdinand and Isabella, and was later transferred to the 2 escudo coin issued by Spain and the Spanish colonies in the Americas. The name has now been linked to the Age of Pirates, the gold analog of the silver "piece of eight". The name has also been appropriated for tokens produced for the New Orleans Mardi Gras.
DPG
Short For Daily Price Guide, specifically the Coin Universe Daily Price Guide
Drachm
A small ancient Greek silver coin. The word means "handful" and derives from the value of a handful of iron bars, the currency used in ancient Greece before the invention of coinage. The name is also given to the large, thin silver coins of the Sassanian Empire.
Drachma
Monetary unit of modern Greece, used from the early 1800's until the adoption of the euro in 2002. The name is derived from the ancient Greek drachm.
Dram
The primary currency unit of Armenia; there are 100 luma to the dram. The name derives from the Arabic dirham and Greek drachm.
Draped Bust
The design attributed to Mint engraver Robert Scot that features Miss Liberty with a drape across her bust. Scot presumably copied the design after a portrait by Gilbert Stuart.
drift mark
An area on a coin, often rather long, that has a discolored, streaky look. This is the result of impurities or foreign matter in the dies. One theory is that burnt wood was rolled into the strips from which the planchets were cut, resulting in these black streaks.
Dryer Coin
A type of damage to a coin caused by sometimes lengthy stays within the inner workings of a commercial clothes dryer. A dryer coin generally exhibits mashed edges resulting in a smaller diameter and wider thickness. Read more in this great forum topic.
Ducat
European gold trade coin from the late mediaeval and early modern period. The name derives from ducatus, the Latin form of the title of the Doge of Venice, where the ducat was first issued in 1284. The coin was copied throughout mainland Europe, and coins of the ducat standard - 3.49 grams of .983 fine gold (23½ carats) - were struck in several European countries up to the 20th century, and continue to be struck in the Netherlands.
Duit
A small copper Dutch coin, struck in the Netherlands and in Dutch colonies from the 1500's to the 1800's.
dull
Term for a numismatic item that is lack luster. This may be the result of cleaning, oxidation, or other environmental conditions.
Dump
Any coin which is unusually thick for it's size. Often applied to the native coinage of India, and to any small coin punched out of the centre of a larger one; the New South Wales "Dump" was punched out of the centre of a Spanish dollar.
Dupondius
A medium-sized ancient Roman bronze or orichalcum coin. It's name means "two pounder" because the original dupondii actually weighed two Roman pounds of copper.

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