Numismatic Glossary - P

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Mintmark for the cities of: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (US coins except the 1 cent, since 1979, as well as Netherlands East Indies coins during WWII), Perth, Australia (Australian bullion coins, British gold coins), Popayan (Colombian and Spanish-Colombian coins), Dijon (French coins), Pamplona (Spanish coins). The letter "P" also appears on some modern Canadian coins; this is not a mintmark, but an indicator that the coin is made of Plated Steel.
P Mint
Term applied to the coins struck at the main Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The primary currency unit of Tonga; there are 100 seniti to the pa'anga. The name derives from a bean plant grown on the islands..
The fractional currency unit of India, Pakistan and Nepal; there are 100 paisa to the rupee. Originally called the "naya paisa" (new pice), it was named after the predecimal unit, the pice.
Short for Panama-Pacific Exhibition.
Pan-Pac slug
Slang for either of the 1915-dated Panama-Pacific fifty-dollar commemorative coins, the octagonal or the round.
Panama-Pacific Exhibition
A 1915 exhibition held in San Francisco, California to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal.
paper money
Term used among collectors for notes of the entire field of currency, no matter what medium on which they may be printed.
An Ottoman predecimal copper coin, worth 1/40th of a piastre, or kurush. The name was also used for the fractional currency unit of Yugoslavia, with 100 para to the dinar. The name derives from the Persian word for "piece".
The primary currency unit of Macao; there are 100 avos to the pataca.
Synonym for toning.
A test striking of a coin produced to demonstrate a proposed design, size, or composition (whether adopted or not). Patterns often are made in metals other than the one proposed; examples of this include aluminum and copper patterns of the silver Trade dollar. Off-metal strikes such as this also are referred to as die trials of a pattern.
Short for "Professional Coin Grading Service".
PCGS Population Report
Monthly publication by PCGS listing the number of coins graded and their grade. Totals are for coins graded by PCGS since its inception in 1986.
Peace dollar
Common name for the silver dollar struck from 1921 to 1935. Designed by Anthony Francisci to commemorate the peace following World War I, the first year featured another coin designated High Relief. In 1922, the relief was lowered resulting in the Regular Relief type that continued until 1935.
A listing of a coin's current owner plus all known previous owners.
An obsolete currency unit of Hungary. The collapse of the pengo after WWII produced the world's worst ever hyperinflation, with the pengo falling to below one-septillionth of a US dollar. It was replaced by the forint.
The fractional currency unit of Finland, before joining the euro; there were 100 pennia to the markka. The name has the same Germanic source as the German "pfennig" and British "penny".
In American numismatics, slang for the one-cent coin. The name derives from the British coin, formerly used in America before the adoption of decimal currency. The old British penny was worth 1/12th of a shilling, or 1/240th of a pound. It was originally a silver coin in mediaeval times, and was first struck in copper in 1797. Pennies were also struck in numerous British colonies, such as Australia, South Africa etc.. In 1970 the predecimal penny was replaced by a decimal one, worth 1/100th of a pound.
peripheral toning
Light, medium, or dark coloring around the edge of a coin.
The former primary monetary unit of Spain, prior to the adoption of the euro. The former colonies of Equatorial Guinea and Western Sahara have also issued peseta coinage.
A primary currency unit used or formerly used in several Spanish-speaking countries. It is currently in use in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic Mexico and Uruguay. The Philippine piso was also formerly spelled "peso" when the islands were under US administration.
The German equivalent to the English word "penny". Like the English penny, the pfennig was a silver coin in mediaeval times. In the predecimal currencies of the German states, the pfennig was a small copper or billon coin. With the formation of Germany, a new pfennig worth 1/100th of a mark was issued. This denomination was issued by the various incarnations of Germany, up to the introduction of the euro in 2002.
Philadelphia Mint
The "mother" Mint, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. First established in 1792, the Philadelphia Mint has occupied four different locations. Currently, it is located in Independence Square, within sight of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The Philadelphia mint engraves all U.S. coins and medals, manufactures coin and medal dies, manufactures coins of all denominations for general circulation, manufactures commemorative coins, and produces medals. This mint currently uses the "P" mintmark but coins produced prior to 1980 have no mintmark.
Pi (mintmark)
Mintmark for the city of San Luis Potosi on Mexican coins.
The French equivalent of the Spanish word "peso". Used as the primary currency unit in French Indochina, and for an alternate name for Ottoman Empire kurush. It is from this latter usage that the old Cyprus piastre, worth 1/9th of a British shilling, and the fractional currency units of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, were named.
pick off
Slang for a coin bought at a bargain price.
Piece of Eight
An early Spanish silver dollar-sized coin. The "eight" derives from it's face value of 8 reales. As the Spanish mints issued denominations smaller than 8 reales relatively infrequently, these coins would sometimes be chopped up into smaller pieces to provide small change.
A term that means "double thick," it usually refers to French coins that were made in a double thickness to signify double value. Sometimes spelled Piefort.
Pioneer gold
Those privately-issued gold coins struck prior to 1861. These include coins struck in Georgia and North Carolina although no "pioneers" were responsible for the gold mined in those states. Generally associated with the private issues from California and the other post-1848 finds in Nevada, Oregon, and Colorado.
The primary monetary unit of the Philippines; there are 100 sentimo to the piso. The name is the Filipino form of the word "peso".
Short for prooflike.
PL (mintmark)
Mintmark for the city of London on some Australian coins. "PL" derives from the Latin "Pecunia Londinium" (money of London), the mintmark once used on ancient Roman coins struck there.
plain edge
A flat, smooth edge seen mainly on a small-denomination coinage.
The blank disk of metal before it is struck by a coining press which transforms it into a coin. Type I planchets are flat. Type II planchets have upset rims from the milling machine, these to facilitate easier striking in close collars.
planchet defects
Any of the various abnormalities found on coin blanks. These include drift marks, laminations, clips, and so forth.
planchet flaw
An irregular hole in a coin blank, sometimes the result of a lamination that has broken away.
planchet striations
Fine, incuse lines found on some Proof coins, though rarely on business strikes, usually the result of polishing blanks to impart mirrorlike surfaces prior to striking.
A term used to describe a coin to which a thin layer of metal has been applied-for example, gold-plated copper strikings of certain U.S. pattern coins.
Plate Money
Large ingots of copper issued by Sweden in the 1600's and 1700's. Originally intended to serve only as backing for one of the earliest series of banknotes in Europe, these large "coins" entered circulation when confidence in the banknotes collapsed.
Precious metal sometimes used for coinage. The only United States issues struck in platinum are the pattern half dollars of 1814 and the modern platinum Eagles.
A term used to describe a coin that has had a hole filled, often so expertly that it can only be discerned only under magnification.
Philatelic Medallic Cover. A thematic illustrated envelope, often with stamps and an encapsulated medallion with a first day of issue postmark. The medallion and stamps might be of different countries but usually relate to the envelope's theme.
Short for post mint damage. Damage sustained after the coin was struck.
Numismatic Cover. A thematic illustrated envelope, often with stamps and an encapsulated coin with a first day of issue postmark. The coins and stamps might be of different countries but usually relate to the envelope's theme.
Short for Professional Numismatists Guild. PNG's web site can be viewed at:
PNG certificate
Before third-party certification was started by PCGS in 1986, these certificates were the best available protection for the coin buyer. Each PNG dealer could issue a certificate, one copy given to the buyer and one copy sent to the PNG main office. This provided not only a guarantee of authenticity, but also provided a space for a description that could be useful in cases of stolen collections.
This is for "Poor" (the grade) and "1" (the numerical designation that means Poor). A coin of this grade is basically uncollectible due to its terrible condition, but coins of great rarity (such as an 1802 half dime) are still of considerable value and in demand in this grade. In order to "reach" this grade a coin must be identifiable as to date and type and not be horribly damaged (such as holes).
The Bengali rendering of the word "paisa". It is the fractional currency unit of Bangladesh; there are 100 poisha to the taka.
polished die
A die that has been basined to remove clash marks or other die injury. In a positive sense, Proof dies were basined to impart mirrorlike surfaces, resulting in coins with reflective field.
A euphemism for "plastic", used in reference to the high-tech non-paper substrate used to print various forms of foreign "paper money". Australia was a pioneer in this field, and all of it's "paper money" is now made of polymer.
polyvinyl chloride
A chemical used in coin flips to make them pliable.
The grade PO-1. A coin with readable date and mint mark (if present), but little more, barely identifiable as to type. (One-year type coins do not require a readable date to qualify for this grade.)
Pop Report
Short for "PCGS Population Report."
Pop Top
A coin that is on top of the Population Report and scores the maximum number of points on the PCGS Set Registry.
The primary currency unit of Britain and, formerly, many of the British colonies and dominions. The currency unit's name is derived from the weight; in the middle ages, a troy pound of silver would make 240 silver pennies. The British pound was decimalized in 1970, with 100 "new pence" making a pound. It is currently the primary currency unit of Britain, the Falkland Islands, Saint Helena-Ascension Islands, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The currency units of several other countries (eg. Sudan, Egypt, Syria) are named after the British unit.
Short for premium quality.
Short for Proof.
A term used for any non-decimal monetary system. The British system of 12 pence to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound, and the Spanish colonial system of 34 maravedis to the real and 16 reales to the escudo, are both examples of predecimal monetary systems.
premium quality
A term applied to coins that are the best examples within a particular grade.
presentation striking
A coin, often a Proof or an exceptionally sharp business strike, specially struck and given to a dignitary or other person.
Any of the various coining machines. Examples include the screw press and the steam-powered knuckle-action press.
Prestige Set
A limited-issue Proof set from the U.S. Mint. Only released between 1983 and 1997, these sets included the Commemorative issues for the year, in addition to the regular mintage, and came encased in a book-like suede container. The lower-mintage years, especially 1996, trade at significant multiples of the original issue price.
price guide
A periodical, whether electronic or paper, listing approximate prices for numismatic items, whether wholesale or retail.
Primary monetary unit
The unit of currency used as the money of account in a particular country. All other units are considered as fractions or (in some cases) multiples of this unit. In the US, the primary currency unit is the dollar; the dime would be a secondary currency unit, and the minor or fractional currency unit is the cent.
A term applied to coins in original, unimpaired condition. These coins typically are graded MS/PR-67 and higher.
prisoner cent
A Lincoln Memorial cent resulting from clashed dies. This makes Lincoln's bust on obverse appear to have bars on either side of it.
Proclamation Coin (Australian context)
A coin listed in, or associated with coins listed in, an official proclamation written by Governor Philip Gidley King of New South Wales in 1800 which specified the legal tender values for British and foreign coins circulating in the colony. Such coins are highly sought after by Australian collectors as "the first Australian coins".
Proclamation Coin (European and Latin American context)
A commemorative medal issued to commemorate a significant national event (coronation, royal wedding, independence, new constitution, etc). Financed by a local dignitary, struck either at an official or unofficial mint, and distributed to the public at the official announcement ceremony. Although they were often issued to the same size and weight as ordinary coins and frequently entered circulation, they are not considered to be officially issued coins and are not listed in the coin catalogues.
Professional Coin Grading Service
Established in 1985, this was the first third-party grading service to grade, encapsulate, and guarantee the authenticity for numismatic material. Based in Newport Beach, California.
Professional Numismatists Guild
A dealer organization begun in 1955. The membership is restricted by financial and longevity requirements.
A coin usually struck from a specially prepared coin die on a specially prepared planchet. Proofs are usually given more than one blow from the dies and are usually struck with presses operating at slower speeds and higher striking pressure. Because of this extra care, Proofs usually exhibit much sharper detail than regular, or business, strikes. PCGS recognizes Proofs (PR) as those struck in 1817 and later. Those coins struck prior to 1817 are recognized as Specimen strikes (SP).
Proof set
A coin set containing Proof issues from particular year. A few sets contain anomalies such as the 1804 dollar and eagle in 1834 presentation Proof sets.
Proof dies
Specially prepared dies, often sandblasted or acid-picked, that are used to strike Proof coins. Often, the fields are highly polished to a mirrorlike finish, while the recessed areas are left "rough"; on coins struck with such dies, the devices are frosted and contrast with highly reflective fields. Matte, Roman, and Satin Proof dies are not polished to a mirror-like finish.
Proof-only issue
A coin struck only in Proof, with no business-strike counterpart.
Term to designate a coin that has mirror-like surfaces, the term especially applicable to Morgan dollars. Those Morgan dollars that meet PCGS prooflike standards are designated PL.
Term synonymous with pedigree.
Short for post strike damage. Damage sustained after the coin was struck.
PTS monogram (mintmark)
Mintmark for the city of Potosi on Bolivian and Spanish-Bolivian coins.
A steel rod with a device, lettering, date, star, or some other symbol on the end which was sunk into a working die by hammering on the opposite end of the rod.
Short for polyvinyl chloride.
PVC damage
A film, usually green, left on a coin after storage in flips that contain PVC. During the early stage, this film may be clear and sticky.
PVC flip
Any of the various soft coin flips that contain PVC.
The Burmese equivalent of the Indian "paisa". It is the fractional currency unit of Burma/Myanmar, with 100 pyas to the kyat.
Box used to contain random samples of freshly-minted British coins, which are ritually tested for weight and purity every year at the "Trial of the Pyx".

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