Common Terms Used in the Precious Metals Market:


The mixture of two or more metals, usually for purposes of strengthening the one which is the dominant part of the alloy. Gold is frequently alloyed with copper.


The price that a seller is willing to take in order effect a sale.


Chemical symbol for Gold.


A system of weights based on a pound of 16 ounces or 7,000 grains. Common abbreviations for Avoirdupois: av. or avdp.

Bag Marks

Minor abrasions on an otherwise un circulated coin, caused by the contact between coins in a mint bag.


The price offered to buy a particular precious metal item.

Brilliant Un circulated

A un circulated coin in new condition as issued by a mint, retaining its original luster


Precious metal in a negotiable or tradable form, such as a wafer or bar.

Bullion Coin

A coin that is purchased at a price close to its intrinsic or precious metal value.

Business Strike

A coin that has been struck for circulation.


A piece of metal intended for use as legal tender and stamped with marks or inscriptions which show that it was issued by an authority that guarantees its weight and purity-most often a government or bank.


The Commodity Exchange, Inc., in New York, where gold and silver, as well as other commodities are traded on a daily basis.


A reproduction of a coin by someone other than the government legally authorized to do so.

Deliverable Bar

A precious metal (gold or silver, for example) with a weight that is approved as a tradable unit on one or more of the commodity exchanges.

Face Value

The monetary worth of a coin. This does not necessarily correspond to it's actual worth. For example, the 1 oz. Gold Eagle has a face value of $50 but its real value is tied to the price of gold


The open area on a coin, its background.

Fineness or Fine

The portion of a precious metal relative to base or other alloy in a precious metal. A coin with .900 fine, means that 90% of the coin is gold and 10% is an alloy.

Fine Weight

The actual weight of the pure gold in a coin, ingot or bar, as opposed to the item's total (gross) weight, which includes the weight of the alloying metals.


The basic unit of weight in the metric system. (31.10333 grams= 1 troy ounce)


Mark or marks which indicate the producer of a gold bar and its fineness or other characteristics.

Intrinsic Value

The actual value of the precious metal within a coin.


The inscription on a numismatic item.

Lettered Edge

Intaglio lettering milled onto the edge of a coin before striking or raised lettering on the edge of a coin produced by the use of a segmented collar die at the time of the striking.

London Fix

Price each day in London. Five old-line firms meet to set the price of gold. This is called the "fix" and is a bench mark for market trading each day.

Market Value

The price a coin will fetch in the open market which may be greater than or equal to its intrinsic value.


A gold wafer in round form, resembling a coin. It is not "legal tender" and should not be confused with genuine "coin of the realm" of a specific government.

Mint Luster

The sheen or bloom on the surface of an un circulated numismatic coin resulting from the centrifugal flow of metal caused by the striking of the dies. Mint luster is somewhat frosty in appearance as opposed to the mirror-like smoothness on the field of a proof.

Mint Marks

A letter, symbol or hallmark found on a coin that indicates the minting facility where it was struck.

Modern Issues

Coins struck for current issue, either for collectors, investors or circulation.

New York Close

Because of the time differences, the New York gold market continues to sell precious metals for several hours after the London market has closed for the business day. Its last price has this name, and it may be higher or lower than the London Fix depending upon market fluctuations.


The side of a numismatic item which bears the principal design or device.


A unit of weight equal to 1/16 avoirdupois pound or 1/12 troy pound.


The market value of a coin less the intrinsic value of the same represents the premium. A gold coin which contains $100 in gold (intrinsic value) and sells for $200 (market value) has a 100% premium.


A coin produced by a technique involving specially prepared dies and planchet and usually special striking (stuck 2 or more times), resulting in a particular sharpness of detail and a virtually flawless surface, usually mirror-like fields. A coin made specifically for collectors that is not for circulation.

Proof Set

A set of one proof coin of each current denomination issued by a mint for a specific year.

Re strike

A numismatic item produced from original dies at a later date.


The side opposite to that on which the head or principal figure is impressed. The side opposite of the obverse.

Spot Price

The price quoted for a deliverable unit of a particular commodity.


The difference between the buying price and the asking price of a precious metal coin or bar. Sometimes referred to as "bid" or "ask"

Un circulated

A piece in new condition as issued by the mint. If it retains its original luster, it can be called "Brilliant Un circulated"

Midas Resources, Inc., Gold, Silver & Platinum Dealers, Burnsville, MN

While collecting coins can be fun, exciting and rewarding, certain risks are inherent to the market. Among these, exist the risk of devaluation. The coin market is relatively thin and subject to market pressures. Buy/Sell spreads and storage cost may also erode a coin's investment performance. While it is Midas' policy to assist the client by providing a liquid market, we cannot guarantee this market.

Midas Resources has taken every precaution to provide the most accurate information possible. However it is provided without warranty or claim of reliability. It is accepted by the site visitor on the condition that errors or omissions shall not be made the basis for any claim, demand or cause for action. The information and data were obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but we do not guarantee its accuracy. It is the responsibility of the reader to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any of the information provided.

The coin images shown on this website are illustrative only. They are not displayed to scale. The appearance of actual coins will vary by grade.

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