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Coin Lingo information on Rare Coins
 
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M

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.
marks
Imperfections acquired after striking. These range from tiny to large hits and may be caused by other coins or foreign objects.
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.
MD
Short for medium date.
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. (What’s the melt value of that ten Lib?)
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.
mint
A coining facility.
mint bloom
Original luster that is still visible on a coin.
Variation of mintmark
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 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. (This may not equal the “official” mintage for that calendar year, especially for pre-1840 coinage. The Mint reported coins struck in the calendar year, regardless of the date(s) on the issue. For instance, the 1804-dated dollar was included in Proof Sets struck in 1834 because the “official” mintage figures for 1804 included silver dollars although it is now known that these were dated 1803 or possibly even earlier.)
mintmark
The tiny letter(s) stamped into the dies to denote the mint at which a particular coin was struck.
Miss Liberty
Term applied to the various incarnations of the emblematic Liberty represented on United States coinage.
ML
Short for medium letters.
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.
Motto
An inscription on a coin – especially IN GOD WE TRUST, which first appeared on the 1864 two-cent piece andnow is required on all U.S. 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. This is a NICE coin!
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. You may have to study this coin with a 5X glass to find the reason why it didn’t grade MS70.
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.
 
 
 
 
 
Helpful Tips when viewing Coin Images...
The image, or "scan", of a rare coin should only be used as a reference point, rather than a final decision maker when purchasing rare coins. "No" digital image or scan will ever do true justice to the natural beauty of a coin. A digital camera or scanner, at this stage of technology, can never reproduce the way a human eye views an object. As you move a coin in the light, the surfaces change appearance depending on the angle at which the light source is hitting the coin. This effect is most obvious with very deep, proof coins. In person this "mirrored" effect is quite dramatic as you move the coin around. A two dimensional digital image loses this reflective nature of a coin, not being able to depict the mirrored qualities that your eye is able to perceive. Keep in mind that nothing can compare to examining a coin in person.
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At Albanese Rare Coins we strive to achieve the highest quality images in order to assist you with a purchasing decision; considering the balance between download times and image quality. As always, you can be confident when purchasing rare coins from us, as we "hand select" every coin for its true beauty and eye appeal.
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