Glossary of Terms

Enter Key Word to Search Numismatic Glossary

Tab Toning

Often seen on commemorative coins that were sold in cardboard holders with a round tab, the coins have a toned circle in the center.

Tail Feathers

The feathers that make up the eagle's tail on the reverse of certain U.S. coins. Most often used when describing Morgan silver dollars.

Target Toning

A term for color distribution resembling an archery target on a coin. The deeper colors are on the outer periphery and fade to white or off white at the center of the coin.

Technicolor Note

A common term for the Series of 1907 large-size Gold Certificates. Derived because the faces of these notes have a gold tint to part of the paper, part of the inscription is in gold ink and a bright red Treasury seal and serial numbers.

Teddy’s Coin

A common name for J-1776, the unique gold striking of the 1907 Indian Head double eagle, designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt.


The common term for a $10 gold coin, also known as an eagle.

Ten Indian

A common name for the $10 gold Indian Head eagle.

Ten Lib

A common name for the $10 gold Liberty Head eagle.

Territorial Gold

Gold coins and bars that were privately struck during the various gold rushes.


An abbreviation for tail feathers.


The Germanic spelling of the name for the silver-dollar size coins from Europe, from which the English word "dollar" is derived.

The Numismatist

A monthly periodical published by the American Numismatic Association.

Third Charter Note

A common term for the Series of 1902 National Bank Notes, with no basis in Treasury documents.

Third-Party Opinion

An opinion of a numismatic item’s grade supplied by a person or company other than the buyer and seller of the coin.


A shortened term for the Indian Head $3 gold coin.

Three Cent Nickel

Three-cent coins struck from 1865 to 1889 containing 75% copper and 25% nickel with a Liberty Head motif. The design by James B. Longacre was copied from Christian Gobrecht's earlier Liberty Head motif.

Three Cent Silver

Three-cent coins with a star motif struck from 1851 to 1873 in silver alloy. This is the smallest of the silver coins and was designed by James B. Longacre.


Coin in the British system, also used in certain early American issues (1737 Higley coppers, 1783 Chalmers threepence), equivalent to three pennies (pence) or ¼ shilling.


A term used to describe a coin that has been doctored by rubbing the thumb lightly over marks, hairlines, or other disturbances. The oils in the skin help to disguise these problems.


Metal element. Used in numismatic texts to describe coins in a soft silver-colored alloy, better called white metal. Judd listings as tin are in the present text called white metal. Pure or nearly pure tin oxidizes at cold temperatures, producing unsightly black “tinpest.”

Tinted Paper

Paper used to make currency that has color embedded in the material rather than applying color to the surface during printed. An example would be a Series of 1869 Legal Tender "Rainbow Note."

Tissue Toning

Coins that are stored in the original mint paper can often acquire colorful, usually vibrant, toning caused by the sulfur in the paper reacting with the metals in the coin.


A privately issued piece, used typically with an exchange value for goods or services but not officially issued by the United States government.

Tombstone Note

A common term for the Series of 1886, 1891 and 1908 Silver Certificates. The face depicts the deceased vice president, Thomas A. Hendricks, surrounded by a frame that is shaped like a tombstone. It is not known whether this was intentional or not.


Natural patination or discoloration of a coin's surface caused by the atmosphere over a long period of time. Often very attractive, many collectors prefer coins with this feature.

Tooling Mark

Lines found on both genuine and counterfeit coins, most often small and fine, these are caused by touching up the dies.

Top Pop

Slang for a coin with a grade that is the highest listed for that particular variety within a population report.

Trade Dollar

A U.S. silver coin, issued from 1873 until 1885, intended for circulation in Asia to compete with dollar-sized coins from other countries. It is slightly heavier than the regular silver dollar and was made with marginally higher silver content in an effort to gain acceptance in commerce throughout the world. Designed by William Barber.

Transfer Die

A die created by using an existing coin as the model.


Shortened term for transitional issue.

Transitional Issue

A coin struck before a series starts, after a series ends, or a coin struck with either the obverse or the reverse of a discontinued series. Or, a coin struck with the obverse or reverse for a newly issued series.

Treasure Coin

A coin discovered from a shipwreck or from a buried or hidden source.

Treasury Department

A branch of the United States government that controls the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Federal Reserve System, the coinage mints, and other monetary bureaus.

Treasury Hoard

Generally a term referring to hundreds of millions of silver dollars held by the United States Treasury Department from the 19th century through the early 20th century. Most coins in the hoard were distributed in 1962-1964, after which only about three million remained, to be sold by the General Services Administration (GSA).

Treasury Note

Another term for a Coin Note.

Treasury Seal

An emblem of the Treasury Department used on the face of all federal currency. They vary in size, color and the border design, but the basic design features a pair of scales above and a key below, with inscription surrounding. Used from 1862 to the present day, on all denominations $1 and higher, in addition to fourth and fifth issues of Fractional Currency.

Trial Strike or Striking

Another term for die trial.


The common name for a 3-cent silver U.S. coin.

Troy Ounce

The principal unit of weight in the troy system, generally used in precious metal transactions. The troy pound contains 12 troy ounces.


The bottom edge of a portrait or bust. Example: The neck truncation of Miss Liberty on an 1850 $20.


Common term for a double eagle or $20 gold coin.

Twenty Lib

Common name for $20 gold Liberty Head double eagle.

Two and a Half

Common term for a quarter eagle or $2.50 dollar gold coin.

Two-Cent Piece

A common name for the Shield two-cent coin designed by James Longacre, struck from 1864 to 1873.


A series of coins defined by a shared distinguishing design, size, metallic content, denomination or other element.

Type Coin

A representative coin from a particular issue of a specific design, size, denomination, or metallic content, usually a common date for the series.

Type One

Term for any coin from the first type within a series.

Type One Buffalo

An Indian Head nickel dated 1913 that has a bison on a raised mound on the reverse.

Type One Gold Dollar

The gold dollar struck from 1849 until mid-1854 in Philadelphia and for the full year in Dahlonega and San Francisco with a Liberty Head design.

Type One Nickel

The five-cent coin struck from 1938 until mid-1942 and from 1946 until the present day with a Jefferson Head obverse.

Type One Quarter

The quarter struck from 1916 to mid-1917. This Standing Liberty design features a bare-breasted Miss Liberty, a simple head detail, and no stars under the reverse eagle.

Type One Twenty

Double eagles struck from 1850 until mid-1866 with the Liberty Head design. These coins did not have a motto on the reverse and the denomination was indicated as “TWENTY D.”

Type Set

A collection comprised of one representative coin of each type, particular to a period or series.

Type Three

Any coin from the third type within a series.

Type Three Gold Dollar

Gold dollar with a small Indian Head design, struck from 1856 until the series ended in 1889. The San Francisco Mint did not receive the type three dies in time to strike the new design in 1856, so the coins from that mint have the type two style.

Type Three Twenty

Liberty Head double eagles struck from 1877 until the series ended in 1907. They have the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the reverse and have “TWENTY DOLLARS” for the denomination.

Type Two

Term for any coin from the second type within a series.

Type Two Buffalo

An Indian Head nickel struck from mid 1913 until the series ended in 1938, with a bison shown on level ground on the reverse.

Type Two Gold Dollar

Gold dollar with the large Indian Head design, struck from mid-1854 until 1855 in Philadelphia, Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans.

Type Two Nickel

The five-cent coin with the Jefferson Head design, struck from mid-1942 until 1945. These are identified by a large mintmark above Monticello on the reverse and are composed of silver, manganese, and copper. The first U.S. coins to have a “P” mintmark to indicate they were struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

Type Two Quarter

The quarter struck from mid-1917 until the series ended in 1930. This Standing Liberty design features Miss Liberty with a covered breast, three stars under the reverse eagle, and a more intricate head design.

Type Two Twenty

Double eagles with the Liberty Head design, struck from mid-1866 until 1876. These coins have the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the reverse and have “TWENTY DOL.” for the denomination.