Glossary of Terms

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A mintmark used to indicate coins struck at the West Point, New York, branch mint.


A common name for a Walking Liberty half dollar.

Walking Liberty

A common name for a Walking Liberty half dollar.

Walking Liberty Half Dollar

The name used for the half dollars designed by A.A. Weinman, struck from 1916 through 1947 featuring Miss Liberty walking.

War Nickel

A shortened term for Wartime nickel.

Wartime Nickel

Five-cent coins composed of 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese struck during World War II.

Washington Quarter

A shortened term for the Washington quarter dollar.

Washington Quarter Dollar

Issued by the United States government with a face value of 25 cents. Designed by John Flanagan, the Washington quarter was first struck in 1932 as a circulating commemorative coin to celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birth. It continues to be struck today. A special bicentennial reverse was issued in 1976, and in 1999 the obverse was redesigned and the State quarter series began.

Watermelon Note

A common term for the $100 Series of 1890 Treasury Notes so-called for the two zeros on the back that resemble watermelons.

Watery Look

A descriptive term for the wavy, reflective finish seen on the surfaces of most close-collar Proof coins as a result of highly polished planchets and dies.

Weak Strike

A coin with certain of its details (in the areas of high relief) not fully formed because of the hardness of alloy, insufficient striking pressure, or improper die spacing.


The abrasion of metal from a coin's surface caused by normal handling and circulation.

West Point Mint

A branch of the United States Mint, located in West Point, New York that manufactures American Eagle Uncirculated and Proof coins, all sizes of Proof and Uncirculated silver, gold and platinum American Eagle coins, commemorative coins mandated by Congress, and stores platinum, gold and silver bullion. This was officially designated by Congress as a mint on March 31, 1988. This mint uses the "W" mintmark.

Wheat Pennies

The common term for Lincoln cents with wheat ears on the reverse, issued from 1909 to 1958.

Wheel Mark

Another term for “counting machine mark.”

White Metal

A pewter-like metal, of no fixed specifications, employing lead, tin, antimony, and other elements to create a metal silver in appearance but fairly soft. The popular term pewter is sometimes used in the field of antiques and artifacts to describe such items; the term is not widely used for pattern coins. White metal was used to strike many different patterns in the 19th century and tokens and medals in the 19th century and later. In general, white metal was not chemically stable, and sometimes pieces oxidized or blistered. Sometimes white metal strikings have been described as being in tin.


The alteration of a coin’s appearance by use of a rotating bristled (wire or other material) brush to move or remove metal from the surface. This process generally gives a coin the artificial appearance of being in a higher grade than it actually is. Areas of a whizzed coin usually show a series of minute scratches or surface disruptions simulating artificial luster, and the buildup of metal ridges on raised letters or other design features.

Wire Edge

The term for a thin, wire-like section of the rim of a coin that is raised above the rest of the rim along the outside perimeter. This is typically caused by very high striking pressure, and tends to occur mostly on Proof and high relief strikings. Can also be a common term for the Wire Edge Indian Head eagle of 1907.

Wire Edge Eagle

The $10 gold coin of 1907 with the Indian Head design of which only 500 were struck. This is technically a pattern and features a fine wire rim and surfaces which were both satiny and striated unlike any other United States issue.

Wire Edge Ten

A common term for the Wire Edge Indian Head eagle of 1907.

Wire Rim

Another term for wire edge.

With Arrows

A shortened term for arrows at the date.

With Arrows and Rays

Another term for arrows and rays.

With Motto

Another term for motto.

With Rays

Another term for rays.


An abbreviation for coins struck at the West Point, New York, branch mint from 1988 to present.

Working Die

A die produced from a working hub and used to strike coins.

Working Hub

A hub made from a master die used to create the working dies.

World Coins

A term that refers to any coins from countries other than the United States.

Worn Die

A die that has lost detail from over usage. Coins struck from worn dies often appear weakly struck.

Wreath Cent

A common name for the second large cent type of 1793.