Nashua Coins

Some Terms For The Numismatist

Entering the world of coin collecting is an exciting and intense experience. With so many collectible American coins or foreign currencies, there is plenty for a new Numismatist to look out for to know what they want to collect. After all, the collecting is for you at the end of the day. You want to be proud of your collection. When you first start collecting coins, it can be complicated to know where to start. Do you just happen to find the coins, buy them, sell any that you have?

While some of those questions are best figured out in person with the help of our shop dogs, we can start you off with the basics. Knowing terms that you will hear the farther into coin collection you go will be a huge step to completing your first collection. The Fun Times Guide had a fantastic guide for the top terms that you should know. We agreed with them. So, without further ado, some 10-coin collector terms they listed that you should be aware of when you start collecting!


American coins


  • Numismatist

    • When you start collecting coins, you are a Numismatist. The extent of what counts as a real collector is up for debate in the community, but as far as we are concerned, if you collect, you are a Numismatist! Congratulations.
  • Coin grading

    • The actual act of evaluating American coins. The process figures out the state of the currency’s preservation ultimately based on the lack of/amount of wear that the coin has.
  • Brilliant Uncirculated

    • BU for short, this is a standard grade for coins. It pretty much means that the coin has no wear with “good to superb surfaces.” So, if you have a perfect coin, you have a BU coin.
  • Redbook

    • Instead of a little black book, Numismatists have the little red book. The book is called A Guide Book of United States Coins by Kenneth Bressett and R.S. Yeoman. In circulation since 1947, the book is republished every year with updates and contains valuable information like price lists, coin information, and color photos of the coins that you can encounter when collecting American coins.
  • Third-Party Graders

    • This one is pretty self-explanatory. These are the companies or firms that you will send you coins to so they can be evaluated and graded.
  • Slabbed Coin

    • In a hard, sonically sealed and tamper-evident holder, Slabbed coins are coins that have been graded and authenticated by a third-party grader.
  • Cull Coin

    • These are the coins that can save you money when you start collecting. These coins are just coins that don’t necessarily meet the “standards” of the coins that a majority of collectors are seeking.
  • Eye appeal

    • The aesthetics of the coin are worth a bit. If the surface quality of the coin is good, then it has excellent eye appeal regardless of the grade.
  • Novelty Coin

    • These are the legal tender coins that are altered to be “commemorative” coins. Usually made in honor of presidents, these coins feature images of presidents like Kennedy and Obama, as well as Sacagawea.
  • Proof Coins

    • These coins are manufactured with polished coin blanks and struck with specially prepared dyes for the coin. It is how the coin gets made, not a grade.



With these terms under your belt, you are sure to be on your way to becoming an expert Numismatist and find rare American coins. When you are ready to start your next conversation about coin collecting, stop into Nashua Coins and Collectibles today on Main Street in Nashua or give us a call at (603)-718-1018.

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