Glossary of Terms

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A mintmark used to indicate coins struck at the primary mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Panama-Pacific Exhibition

An exhibition held in San Francisco, California, in 1915 to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal.


A shortened term for Panama-Pacific Exhibition.

Pan-Pac Slug

A common name for either the octagonal or the round 1915-dated Panama-Pacific $50 commemorative coins.

Paper Money

Another term for currency.

Paper Money Guaranty

A third-party paper money grading service located in Sarasota, Florida.


A green or brown surface film found on ancient copper and bronze coins caused by oxidation over a long period of time. Sometimes used to refer to toning of any hue.


A trial or experimental coin, typically a new design, denomination, size, or metal. Patterns were also often struck in metals other than that originally proposed.


An abbreviation for the Professional Currency Dealers Association.


An abbreviation for Professional Coin Grading Service, a third party grading service located in Newport Beach, CA.

PCGS Doily Holder

A PCGS Slab with PCGS printed in an interlocking pattern resembling a doily.

PCGS Population Report

A quarterly reference published by PCGS listing the number of coins graded by PCGS and their grades.

PCGS Regency Holder

A large holder that was used by PCGS for special collections.

Peace Dollar

The common name used for the silver dollar designed by Anthony De Francisci. These were struck from 1921 to 1935 to commemorate the peace that followed World War 1. The 1921 coins featured a High Relief design; in 1922 the relief was lowered to a Regular Relief which was used until the end of the design in 1935.


The listing of a coin's current owner plus all known previous owners.


A common term for a 1-cent United States coin.

Peripheral Toning

Coloring around the edge of a coin, which can range from light to dark.


An alternate abbreviation for Proof.

Philadelphia Mint

The primary United States mint, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, established in 1792.


On a piece of paper money, a tiny hole made by a metal pin. In the 19th century in particular, before the paper clip came into use, a metal pin was used to attach a bill to a letter or document, or to fasten several notes together for storage or transit. In in other instances, travelers sometimes stitched bills to the lining of a coat by a thread, for security, this creating pinholes.

Pioneer Gold

A term for privately issued gold coins struck prior to 1861 . Generally associated with the private issues from California and other post-1848 ore finds in Nevada, Oregon, and Colorado.


An abbreviation for prooflike.

Plain Edge

A flat, smooth edge seen mainly on small-denomination coinage, such as the nickel.


The blank piece of metal on which a coin design is stamped. Also called a blank.

Planchet Defect

Any defects on a coin caused by an imperfect planchet being struck.

Planchet Flaw

An irregular hole in a coin blank, usually the result of a lamination that has broken away.

Planchet Striations

Fine, incuse lines usually resulting from polishing blanks, typically found on some Proof coins.


A coin that has been coated with a thin layer of metal. For example, gold-plated copper strikings of certain U.S. pattern coins.


A precious metal infrequently used for coinage. The only United States issues struck in platinum are the pattern half dollars of 1814 and the modern platinum Eagles.


A coin that has had a hole filled. Typically they are so expertly done that it can only be discerned under magnification.


An abbreviation for Paper Money Guaranty.


A term for coins struck at the main mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Abbreviation for Professional Numismatists Guild.

PNG Certificate

A document that guarantees authenticity and is issued to a coin owner, a duplicate of which is kept on file at PNG. This certificate is completed by a PNG dealer prior to third-party grading services.


Abbreviation for Poor.

Polished Coin

A coin that has been buffed or subjected to some other treatment to give it a mirrorlike surface, after it was struck. A polished coin is a damaged coin.

Polished Die

The term for a die that has been basined to remove clash marks or other die injury. Proof dies were basined to impart mirrorlike surfaces, resulting in coins with reflective fields.

Political Token

A metallic (usually) token issued in connection with a local, state, national, or other political candidate or in connection with a political movement or situation. Example: tokens dated 1837 satirizing President Andrew Jackson.

Polyvinyl Chloride

A chemical used to make coin flips pliable, but which also causes some coins to turn green.


A grading term that describes a coin with a readable date and mintmark, but little more. Barely identifiable as to type but not horribly damaged (such as holes). This is also abbreviated as PO. The numerical equivalent associated with Poor is PO-1.

Pop Report

A slang term for a roster published by a commercial grading service, showing how many coins have been graded and at what levels. Also known as a population report.


The total number of coins that have been certified within a particular grade by a given grading service.


A descriptive term for a rough or granular surface, typically seen on pre-1816 copper coins.

Porthole Note

A common name for the $5 Series of 1923 Silver Certificates. The face depicts a portrait of Lincoln surrounded by a heavy frame which resembles a ship’s porthole.


An abbreviation for premium quality.


An abbreviation for Proof.


The value a coin may hold in excess of its simple intrinsic value, expressed as an actual dollar amount or percentage.

Premium Quality

An unofficial term designating a coin within a grade an exceptional example. However, in the marketplace the term is often misused, as some sellers consider all coins to be Premium Quality. Abbreviated PQ.

Presentation Striking

A specially struck coin, often a Proof or an exceptionally sharp business strike, given to a dignitary or other person.


Any kind of coining machine.


A coin struck earlier than the year on the die. Example: Many 2000 Proof coins were prestrikes made in 1999 but not released until 2000.

Price Guide

A periodical listing approximate prices for numismatic items.

Price List

Another term for fixed price list.

Price Realized

The final amount for which a lot is sold at auction, including the buyer's premium.


The exact or estimated quantity of notes printed.


Coins that are typically graded Mint State or Proof 67 or higher are considered pristine. This term describes coins in unimpaired and original condition.

Professional Coin Grading Service

A third-party grading service located in Newport Beach, California, established in 1985.

Professional Currency Dealers Association

An organization of paper-money dealers.

Professional Numismatists Guild

An organization of numismatic dealers founded in 1955.


A coin struck for collectors using specially polished or otherwise prepared dies and a carefully selected planchet. Some Proofs are struck twice to bring up the details of the design. The term denotes a method of manufacture, not a grade.

Proof Dies

Dies which are specially prepared, often sandblasted or acid-picked, and used exclusively to strike Proof coins. Often, the fields of Proof dies are highly polished which results in a mirrorlike finish, and the recessed areas are left unfinished to create frosted devices.

Proof Note

A term to describe impressions made from a complete or partially complete plate, for test purposes to illustrate its appearance. Typically they have no serial numbers, or just zeros in place of a serial number, and may also be missing other elements like signatures and Treasury seals. These are usually only printed on one side.

Proof Set

A coin set sold by a mint containing Proof issues from a particular year. A few exceptions exist, such as the 1804 dollar and eagle in 1834 presentation Proof sets.


An Uncirculated coin with a mirrorlike reflective surface but lacking the full characteristics of a Proof. Abbreviation: PL. This term is most often used with Morgan dollars.

Proof-Only Issue

A coin struck only in Proof, no circulation-strike counterpart was ever made.


Another term for pedigree.


To issue, as to publish a medal. The term is most familiar with printed material, but it is equally appropriate for medals. For example, the Manly medal of George Washington was published in 1790.


A steel rod, one end containing a device, date, lettering or other symbol, that would be hammered into a working die.

Put-Together Roll

A seemingly original roll that has been gone through and, typically, the best condition coins have been removed and replaced with lesser quality coins.


An abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride.

PVC Damage

A film that may form on a coin that has been stored in flips that contain PVC. Usually green or, in the early stages, clear and sticky.

PVC Flip

A soft, plastic coin storage envelope or "flip" that contains the chemical PVC.