Numismatic terms

: the proportionate metallic compound of a coin.

Silver: a very malleable metal in its pure state, strengthened with copper to make the coin hard enough.

Mint: place where coins are struck, sometimes indicated by a letter or a motif.

Obverse (or right): side with the principal design (the type).

Billon: alloy of copper (over 50%) and silver.

Bronze: alloy of copper and tin (4 to 22%).

Field: flat background area, with no engraved motif, between the subject and legend if any.

Die: often produced in bronze and made up of two parts, the die has the recessed inverse image to that on the coin, which is struck using a hammer. Dies are changed after a certain number of strikes (depending on the coin metal).

Evaluation: price of a coin on the collectors’ market.

Electrum: natural alloy of gold and silver.

Exergue: the area at the bottom of a coin, below the design, sometimes separated by a line.

Flan: blank metal disk cut out or cast then weighed before being struck to produce a coin.

Fourrée: coin, often bronze, plated with silver or gold, to produce a counterfeit.

Beading: series of dots, points or teeth forming a circle near the rim.

Legend: inscription, on the obverse (or) on the reverse of the coin.

Rim: smooth or raised border to reduce wear on the coin.

Gold: bright yellow precious metal, combined with silver or copper to make the coins harder.

Potin: alloy of copper and tin (25%).

Reverse: second side of the coin, it bears the face value on modern coins.

Edge: space corresponding to the thickness of the coin.

Type: the main design on each side of a coin. Coins with the same type form a type set.