Glossary of Terms

Enter Key Word to Search Numismatic Glossary


An abbreviation for Early American Coppers.


A United States $10 gold coin. Name also applies to certain gold bullion coins.

Early American Coppers (Club)

A club whose purpose is to advance the study of pre-1857 U.S. copper issues, including colonial-era coins.


An abbreviation for environmental damage.


The rim or "third side" of a coin, which may bear vertical striations (reeding or milling), lettering or ornamentation so any clipping or shaving of precious metals would be obvious.

Edge Device

The design elements, like letters or emblems, on the edge of a coin.

Educational Note

A common name for the elaborately designed Series of 1896 Silver Certificates, including the $1, $2 and $5.


An abbreviation for Extremely Fine.


A counterfeit coin made by the electrodepositation of metal.


The devices and emblems on a coin. In the context of grading, the components that constitute the grade.

Eliasberg, Louis E.

Beginning in 1925 Mr. Eliasberg, a Baltimore banker and eventually the owner of the Finance Company of America, commenced building a coin collection, augmented greatly in 1942 when the John H. Clapp Collection of United States coins was purchased intact for $100,000, through Stack’s, this being tied for the greatest private transaction in American numismatics up to that time. Mr. Eliasberg then determined to acquire one of every date and mintmark of federal coinage from the 1793 half cent to the 1933 double eagle. This was accomplished in 1950 when he purchased the unique 1873-CC No Arrows dime. He also had a wide selection of ancient coins, private and territorial gold , colonial coins, and more. We auctioned the collection in a series of record-breaking sales beginning in 1982 and concluding in 2010 for nearly $45 million and his collection is considered to be one of the greatest in numismatic history.


A term to describe the raised printing on a note caused by pressing damp paper into the recesses of a printing plate.

Emission Sequence

The order in which die states are struck. Also, the die use sequence for a particular issue.


The encasing of a coin in a hard plastic holder (nickname “slab”) by a third-party grading service such as the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America (NGC), ANACS, and others.

Encased Postage Stamp

Brass frame, with clear mica face, enclosing a regular federal postage stamp of a denomination from 1¢ to 90¢. On the back of most, embossed in raised letters in brass, is the name of an advertiser. Patented by John Gault, and popular as a money substitute in 1862 and 1863.


Formerly called a diesinker, the person responsible for the design and/or punches used for a coin or other numismatic item.

Envelope Toning

A coloration on the surface of a coin resulting from the chemical reaction that occurs when it has been stored in a small manila envelope over a long time.

Environmental Damage

A corrosive effect ranging from minor dulling or toning to severe pitting, evident on a coin that has been exposed to the elements.

Eroded Die

Another term for “worn die.”


The term for a numismatic item that unintentionally varies from the norm. Ordinarily, overdates are not errors since they were done intentionally while other die-cutting “mistakes” are considered errors. Double dies, planchet clips, off-metal strikings, etc. also are errors.


Gold denomination equivalent to $2; part of the Spanish-American coinage system. Legal tender in the U.S. until the implementation of the Act of February 21, 1857.


A term for trial, pattern, and experimental strikings.


That portion of a coin beneath the main design generally separated by a line or ridge.


A term to describe collectibles related to coins and paper money, but never legal tender. Examples include tokens, medals, badges, etc.


One who specializes in a defined numismatic area, for example a copper expert, a Bust dollar expert, etc.

Extra Fine

Shortened term for Extremely Fine.

Extremely Fine

A grading term that describes a coin that has about 90-95% of full detail with only the high points worn, the fields are often with luster barely remaining in the protected areas. This is also abbreviated as EF. The numerical equivalents associated with Extremely Fine are EF-40 and EF-45.

Extremely High Relief

Designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, this 1907 double eagle had so much medallic depth that it had to be struck multiple times to bring up the full detail. The design was then lowered, resulting in the High Relief design, which again was lowered to create the Saint-Gaudens double eagle design.

Eye Appeal

The subjective measure of a coin's attractiveness. A coin with good eye appeal is one that is attractive and does not have dullness, stains, spots, damage, or anything detracting. Often, a coin with excellent eye appeal will command a premium. Eye appeal can be part of the grading process, and higher grades, such as MS-67 or above usually have good eye appeal.