Glossary of Terms

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A recess in the surface of a coin caused by a flake or strip of metal separating from the planchet.

Large Cent

Issued by the United States from 1793 until 1857, a large copper coin denominated at one-hundredth of a dollar.

Large Date

A term used to describe the size of the numerals of the date on a coin. Using this term implies that there are other varieties for the coin or series, like small date or medium date.

Large Eagle

Another term for Heraldic Eagle.

Large Letters

A term used to describe the size of the lettering on a coin. Using this term implies that there are other varieties for this coin or series.

Large Motto

A common name for the 1864 two-cent piece with the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" in large lettering. This motto was first used on the 1864 two-cent piece. Congress mandated this inscription for all coinage and it has been used on nearly every coin since 1864.

Large Size

A term used to describe a coin's diameter relative to others in a series. When this term is used it implies that there is a small size or diameter issue with the same motif.


A derogatory term used to describe the cleaning of paper money to enhance its appearance to numismatists. Careful cleaning can be beneficial if done properly by experts, like removing grime and grease.

Lazy Deuce

A common name for a $2 Original Series or Series of 1875 National Bank Note. These notes have a large 2 placed horizontally in a resting, or "lazy," position.


An abbreviation for large date.


Basic elemental metal. Many splashers (clichés in French), or one-sided strikings on thin (usually) planchets, were made on elemental lead, a soft metal that was easy to use for testing dies in progress or finished dies. A few pattern coins were made in lead, an example being the 1907 $20 J-1777. Lead oxidized rapidly, and such pieces soon became dull and porous.

Legal Tender

Money that is officially issued by the government and is recognized for redemption.

Legal Tender Note

Notes issued in large-size and small-size formats of a denomination $1 to $10,000. This is the foundation of the federal paper-money system and has been for many years.


The lettering or phrase on a coin that follows the curvature, unlike inscriptions, which are in straight lines.

Lettered Edge

The edge of a coin that displays design elements or an inscription rather than having a plain or reeded edge. The elements can be raised or recessed below the surface.


The alphabet characters used in legends, mottos, and other inscriptions on the surface of a coin.


A shortened term for Liberty Head.


The symbolic figure of Miss Liberty used in many U.S. coin designs.

Liberty Cap

A design used on certain early United States half cents and large cents that displays the head of Miss Liberty with a cap on a pole nearby.

Liberty Head

The obverse motif used on most U.S. gold coins from 1838 to 1908. Barber coinage and Morgan dollars are also sometimes referred to as Liberty Head coins.

Liberty Nickel

A term for the Liberty Head nickel or “V” nickel struck from 1883 until 1912. (Those seen dated 1913 were clandestinely struck and are not regular issues.)

Liberty Seated

The design featuring Miss Liberty seated on a rock, designed by Christian Gobrecht, first used on the Gobrecht dollars of 1836-1839 and then used on nearly all regular issue silver coinage from 1837 through 1891.

Light Line

The band of light seen on photographs of coins, especially Proofs. This band also is seen when a coin is examined under a light.


A shortened term for Lincoln Head cent.

Lincoln Cent

Issued by the United States government with a face value of one one-hundredth of a dollar. Designed by Victor D. Brenner, the Lincoln cent was first struck in 1909 and continues to be struck today. The Wheat Ears reverse design was changed to the Memorial Reverse in 1959.

Lincoln Penny

Another term for Lincoln cent.


A coin that is on the cusp between two different grades. A 4/5 liner is a coin that is either a high-end MS/PR-64 or a minimum-standard MS/PR-65.

Lint Mark

A small incuse or incised mark on the surface of a Proof or Uncirculated coin caused by a stray hair, thread, or other small debris adhering to the die after it was wiped with an oily rag.


An abbreviation for large letters.

London Fix

The gold price set at a London meeting of five well-established, old-line firms which becomes the benchmark for market trading at that time. The price of a transaction is sometimes agreed upon based on the AM or PM London Fix for that day.

Long Beach

A shortened term for the Long Beach Coin and Stamp Exhibition held in Long Beach, California three times each year.


A unique number assigned by the auction house to an item or group of items to be sold in a particular auction sale.


A magnifying glass used to examine coins.

Low End Coin

A coin given a grading number designation, but which an informed observer believes is really in a lower grade or is a minimal example of the designated grade—an item for the price-conscious buyer and bargain hunter.


The effect that light has on the surface of a coin when reflecting on the flow lines. Also known as a coin's original mint bloom.


A term used to describe a bright coin that still has its original mint bloom.