Numismatic Glossary - M

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M
Mintmark for the cities of: Manila (Spanish-Philippine and US-Philippine coins), Melbourne (Australian coins, British gold coins), Bordeaux (French coins), Milan (Italian coins), Mexico City (early Spanish-Mexican coins).
M Crowned
Mintmark for the cities of: Metz (French coins), Madrid (Spanish coins).
MA monogram
Mintmark for the cities of: Marseille (French coins). The "M" and "A" are superimposed.
Mace
An old Chinese unit of weight, now obsolete, equal to about 3.7 grams. There were 10 candareens to the mace. Chinese silver coins often report their weights in mace and candareens.
MAD
Acronym for misaligned die.
mail bid sale
An auction sale where bidding is limited to bids by mail. (Today, that also may include by phone, fax, or email.)
Maiorina
The name given to the large bronze coins of ancient Egypt, particularly Roman Egypt. It may also have been the unofficial or official name for the base-silver coin known to numismatists as a "follis". From the Greek word for "large".
major variety
A coin that is easily recognized as having a major difference from other coins of the same design, type, date, and mint.
Manat
The primary currency units of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan; there are 100 qapik to the Azeri manat. The Turkmen manat is now a defacto unitary currency, formerly divided into 100 tennisi.
Maria Theresa Thaler
A large, dollar-sized silver coin originally struck during the reign of Austrian empress Maria Theresa, until her death in 1780. Restrikes and reproductions of this coin continued to be made until well into the 20th century, for use as a trade coin in East Africa and Arabia.
market grading
A numerical grade that matches the grade at which a particular coin generally is traded in the marketplace. The grading standard used by PCGS.
Mark
A central European predecimal unit of weight, and later the primary unit of currency of Germany, in which 100 pfennig equalled 1 mark. Now replaced by the euro in Germany itself, the unit survives in the Bosnian marka, comprised of 100 feniga.
marks
Imperfections acquired after striking. These range from tiny to large hits and may be caused by other coins or foreign objects.
master die
The main die produced from the master hub. Many working hubs are prepared from this single die.
master hub
The original hub created by the portrait lathe. Master dies are created from this hub.
Matte Proof
An experimental Proof striking, produced by the U.S. Mint mainly from 1907 to 1916, which has sandblasted or acid-pickled surfaces. These textured surfaces represented a radical departure from brilliant Proofs, having even less reflectivity than business strikes.
Maundy Money
Special NCLT coins issued in Great Britain for distribution by the British monarch in a ceremony held on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. 1 pence, 2 pence, 3 pence and 4 pence coins make up the four Maundy denominations.
Maxi-crown
A very large silver coin, normally larger than will fit into a 2x2, or heavier than 1 ounce.
MD
1. Short for mechanical doubling.
2. Short for medium date.
3. Short for metal detecting.
Medal
A coin-like object, issued either by a government, corporation or private individual, that was not intended for use as money. Often commemorative in nature, medals may be given away as advertisements, sold as souvenirs, or awarded for distinguished service or outstanding achievement.
Medal Orientation
When the rotation axis of the two dies of a coin is zero. 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 "right way up" too. The opposite is "coin rotation".
medal press
A high-pressure coining press acquired by the U.S. Mint, circa 1854-1858, to strike medals, patterns, restrikes, and some regular-issue Proofs.
Medievals (also spelled Mediaevals)
Coins from the "middle ages", between the end of the Ancient period (450-500 AD) and the beginning of the Modern period (1450-1500 AD).
medium date
Term referring to the size of the digits of the date on a coin. (Use of this term implies that a large or small date exists for that coin or series.)
medium letters
Term referring to the size of the lettering of the date on a coin. (Use of this term implies that large or small letters exist for that coin or series.)
melt
Slang term for the intrinsic value of a particular numismatic item.
Mercury dime
Common name for the Winged Liberty Head dime issued from 1916 until 1945. The A.A. Weinman motif was quickly compared to the Roman god Mercury and the name stuck with the public.
metal stress lines
Radial lines, sometimes visible, that result when the metal flows outward from the center of the planchet during the minting process.
Metical
The primary currency unit of Mozambique; there are 100 centavos to the metical.
Mil
Sometimes spelled "mill". A fractional currency unit worth one-tenth of a cent, or one-thousandth of the primary currency unit. The US government has never issued coins denominated in mils, but state Tax Tokens are. Countries which have issued coinage denominated in mils are: Cyprus, Hong Kong, Israel, Malta, Palestine.
Military Payment Certificate (MPC)
Paper money issued by the US military for use by the troops posted in foreign countries. It was used rather than "regular money" to try to stamp out black market trade between the soldiers and the local population.
Millieme
A variant on the denomination "mil". Countries which have issued coinage denominated in milliemes are Egypt and Libya. Another variant spelling is "millim", used in Sudan and Tunisia.
milling mark
A mark that results when the reeded edge of one coin hits the surface of another coin. Such contact may produce just one mark or a group of staccato-like marks.
minor variety
A coin that has a minor difference from other coins of the same design, type, date, and mint. This minor difference is barely discernible to the unaided eye. The difference between a major variety and a minor variety is a matter of degree.
mint
A coining facility.
mint bloom
Original luster that is still visible on a coin.
mint set
A set of Uncirculated coins from a particular year comprising coins from each Mint. (Usually, this term refers to government issued Mint Sets, although for many years, it has been loosely used for any set of Uncirculated coins from a particular year. Also, the government Mint Sets issued from 1947 until 1958 were double sets.)
mint set toning
This term refers to the colors and patterns coins have acquired from years of storage in the cardboard holders in which Mint Sets were issued from 1947-1958. Since 1959, Mint Sets have been issued in plastic sleeves, thus they do not tone as spectacularly.
Mint State
The term corresponding to the numerical grades MS-60 through MS-70, used to denote a business strike coin that never has been in circulation. A Mint State coin can range from one that is covered with marks (MS-60) to a flawless example (MS-70).
mintage
The number of coins of a particular date struck at a given mint during a particular year.
mintmark
The tiny letter(s) stamped into the dies to denote the mint at which a particular coin was struck.
misaligned die
An error that occurs when the two dies fall out of alignment and are not exactly parallel.
mis-struck
Term applied to the error coins that have striking irregularities.
mishandled Proof
A Proof coin that has been circulated, cleaned, or otherwise reduced to a level of preservation below PR-60.
Miss Liberty
Term applied to the various incarnations of the emblematic Liberty represented on United States coinage.
Mite
The English spelling of "myte", a small German coin worth half a pfennig. The name has been attached to the "Widow's Mite", a coin of ancient Judaea.
ML
Short for medium letters.
Mo
Mintmark for Mexico City (Spanish Colonial and Mexican coins). The small "o" is placed directly above the "M".
Mohur
An Indian gold coin, tariffed at 15 silver rupees.
Mon
Japanese cash-style coin, issued up to the mid 1800's.
Monetary Union
When two or more countries issue a common currency. The European Union euro, the East Caribbean States dollar, and the French Pacific franc are all examples of modern-day monetary unions.
Money
Anything which is recognized within a given geographical area as an object of fixed value, convenient for use in trade for goods and services. For example: coins, tokens, paper money, glass beads, animal furs, cowry shells and tea bricks have all been used as different forms of money. The word derives from the temple of Juno Moneta in Rome, the location of the Roman mint and treasury.
Mongo
The theoretical fractional currency unit of Mongolia; historically, there were 100 mongo to the tugrik, but inflation has rendered the mongo valueless.
Monogram
A device on a coin consisting of a letter or letters, often intertwined in an ornate fashion as to be almost illegible. Many Scandinavian coins, for example, use a monogram rather than a coat of arms or portrait, to symbolize the monarch. Some mintmarks are made of two or more letters, intertwined or ligatured in monogram form.
monster
Slang for an incredible coin, usually one that grades MS/PR-67 or higher. A secondary use is as an adjective, such as monster luster or monster color.
moose
Slang for an incredible coin, usually one that grades MS/PR-67 or higher.
Morgan
Short for "Morgan dollar."
Morgan dollar
The common term used for the Liberty Head silver dollar struck from 1878 until 1904 and again in 1921. George Morgan was the assistant engraver but his design was selected over William Barber's for the dollar. Morgan was passed over for the Chief Engraver's job when William Barber died in 1879. Charles Barber, William's son, received the job and Morgan remained an assistant until Charles died in 1918. Morgan was then elevated to position of Chief Engraver, which he held until his death in January, 1925.
mottled toning
Uneven toning, usually characterized by splotchy areas of drab colors.
Motto
A slogan or statement that can appear on a coin, often in conjunction with a coat of arms. "In God We Trust", "E Pluribus  Unum" and "Liberty" are all mottoes which regularly appear on American coinage.
MS-60
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "60" (the numerical designation of that grade). This is the lowest of the eleven Mint State grades that range from MS60 through MS70. An MS60 coin will usually exhibit the maximum number of marks and/or hairlines. The luster may range from poor to full, but is usually on the "poor" side. Eye appeal is usually minimal.
MS-61
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "61" (the numerical designation of that grade). This grade meets the minimum requirements of Mint State plus includes some virtues not found on MS60 coins. For instance, there may be slightly fewer marks than on an MS60 coin, or better luster, or less negative eye appeal.
MS-62
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "62" (the numerical designation of that grade). This grade is nearly in the "choice" or MS63 category, but there is usually one thing that keeps it from a higher grader. Expect to find excessive marks or an extremely poor strike or dark and unattractive toning. Some MS62 coins will have clean surfaces and reasonably good eye appeal but exhibit many hairlines on the fields and devices.
MS-63
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "63" (the numerical designation of that grade). The equivalent of "choice" or "Choice BU" from the days before numerical grading was prevalent. This grade is usually found with clean fields and distracting marks or hairlines on the devices OR clean devices with distracting marks or hairlines in the fields. The strike and luster can range from mediocre to excellent.
MS-64
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "64" (the numerical designation of that grade). This grade is also called "Borderline Gem" at times, as well as "Very Choice BU." There will be no more than a couple of significant marks or, possibly, a number of light abrasions. The overall visual impact of the coin will be positive. The strike will range from average to full and the luster breaks will be minimal.
MS-65
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "65" (the numerical designation of that grade). This grade is also called "Gem" or "Gem Mint State" or "Gem BU." There may be scattered marks, hairlines or other defects, but they will be minor. Any spots on copper coins will also be minor. The coin must be well struck with positive (average or better) eye appeal.
MS-66
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "66" (the numerical designation of that grade). This is not only a Gem-quality coin, but the eye appeal ranges from "above average" to "superb." The luster is usually far above average, and any toning can not impede the luster in any significant way. This is an extra-nice coin.
MS-67
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "67" (the numerical designation of that grade). A superb-quality coin! Any abrasions are extremely light and do not detract from the coin's beauty in any way. The strike is extremely sharp (or full) and the luster is outstanding. This is a spectacular coin!
MS-68
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "68" (the numerical designation of that grade). A nearly perfect coin, with only minuscule imperfections visible to the naked eye. The strike will be exceptionally sharp and the luster will glow. This is an incredible coin.
MS-69
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "69" (the numerical designation of that grade). Virtually perfect in all departments, including wondrous surfaces, a 99% full strike (or better), full unbroken booming luster and show-stopping eye appeal.
MS-70
This is for "Mint State" (the grade) and "70" (the numerical designation of that grade). A perfect coin! Even with 5X magnification there are no marks, hairlines or luster breaks in evidence. The luster is vibrant, the strike is razor-sharp, and the eye appeal is the ultimate. Note: Minor die polish and light die breaks are not considered to be defects on circulation strike coins.
Mule Error
This is a rare Mint error where the obverse die is of one coin and the reverse die is of another coin. The most famous of the Mule errors is a Sacagawea dollar/Washington quarter Mule, where a Washington quarter obverse is paired with a Sacagawea reverse.
Mun
The Korean name for cash-style coins, issued in Korea up to the late 1800's.
mutilated
A term used to describe a coin that has been damaged to the point where it no longer can be graded.

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