Do you sometimes wonder just what it is we're talking about when we say obverse or circulating?

Here are some of the more common terms used when talking about coins:

Alloy -  A mixture of more than one metal.

Blank - A piece of coin-shaped metal that is stamped and made into a coin.

Burnishing - A form of surface preparation on proof or uncirculated blanks, using steel balls and detergent to remove any unwanted watermarks from the surface of the blank.

Circulating Coin - A coin that has been issued by a bank.

Coin - Usually a piece of metal, marked with a device, issued by a Government authority and intended to be used as money.

Denomination - The stated face value of the coin.

Die - A hardened metal tool, the face of which carries an engraved design that is to be stamped onto a blank.

Effigy - A sculpted image of a person, usually a monarch, to appear on the obverse of a coin.

Frosting - An effect in which parts of a coin are slightly dulled (using sandblasting techniques) to provide a contrast to the shinier parts of metal.

Grade - A carefully constructed series of guidelines to determine the condition and therefore the rarity and value of a coin.

Mint mark - A letter or symbol, indicating the mint of origin.

Mule - A coin, token or medal whose obverse design is not matched with its reverse.

Numismatics - The science, study or collecting of coins or similar objects.

Numismatist - A collector or knowledgeable person in the field of numismatics.

Obverse - The ‘heads’ side of a coin, usually carrying the effigy of the ruling monarch.

Pickling - A process in which proof blanks are cleaned in acid to remove oil, directional rolling lines and dirt from their surface.

Plaster - A model made during the design process, approximately four times larger than the actual size of the final coin or medal.

Proof Coin - A carefully struck coin using special dies, with frosted images on a mirror-like background. Proof is a method of manufacture, not a condition or grade.

Reverse - The ‘tails’ side of a coin, carrying a design to distinguish one coin from another.

Rim - A raised area of metal around the edge of a coin. It is intended to protect the rest of the coin from wear.

Uncirculated Coin - A coin which has not been distributed or used as currency.

Uniface - A coin, medal or token which has only been struck on one side.