U.S. Coin Price Guide

Coin Collecting


face value: the value that is stated on a coin.  For example: the face value of a Dime is Ten Cents; the collector value of the same coins may be substantially higher.

Fair: a grading term for a coin that is so worn that it is barely identifiable as to type.

fake: a counterfeit coin meant to deceive.

fantasy: a coin that has nothing to do with reality.

fasces: the ax bound in a bundle of sticks that appears on the back of Mercury Head Dimes struck from 1916 to 1945.

field: the flat surfaces of a coin that surround the designs and legends.

Fine: a grade range from 11 to 19 on a grading scale of 1 to 70.

fineness: the percentage of metal in gold and silver coins.  Example: a 1964 Dime has a fineness of 90%.

finest known: the coin ranked as the best example known of a denomination, type, date, or variety.

first strike: designation for the the first or one of the earliest coins, struck from a pair of dies. These may be Prooflike, well struck and nearly perfect. Beginning in 2005, PCGS began designating coins "first strike" packaged and delivered by the U.S. Mint in the 30 day period following the initial sales date of a new product release. (similar to NGC Early Release)

fishscale: nickname for the silver Three-Cents issued from 1851-1873.

fixed price list: a published listing of a dealer’s inventory, priced for sale.

flan: planchet, the blank piece of metal on which a coin is struck.

flat edge: variety of 1907 $20 “High Relief” gold coins that has a flat border.  The edge on this coin is actually lettered!

flat luster: reduced brilliance due to dark toning, impaired surfaces, or cleaning.

flip: a coin holder (usually 2” x 2”) made of clear, soft plastic, with pockets on both sides.  Some contain the dreaded PVC!

flow lines: when a coin is struck, the metal flows outward from the center, resulting in microscopic lines that add to the luster of a coin.

Flowing Hair: design type on most copper and silver U.S. coins struck from 1793-1795.

Flying Eagle: design type of U.S. Small Cents from 1856-1858; also the reverse of the 1836-1839 Gobrecht Dollars.

Flying Eagle Cent: the One Cent coin struck from 1856-1858.

flyspecks: microscopic carbon spots on the surface of a coin.

foreign: non-U.S.

four-dollar gold piece: a pattern coin issued in gold in 1879 and 1880, nicknamed “Stella.”

Franklin Half Dollar: the U.S. Half Dollars struck from 1948 to 1963 with the head of Benjamin Franklin on the front.

friction: the rub or wear on a coin.

frost: on Uncirculated coins, a crystalline luster.  On Proof coins, the slightly grainy finish that is given to the devices.

frosted devices: raised design elements that still have a white, slightly grainy finish.  Opposite: brilliant devices.

frosty luster: luster that is crisp, bright, and slightly crystalline in appearance.

Fugio cents: copper coins struck in 1787 by private minters under contract with the U.S. government.  Many of the design elements are credited to Benjamin Franklin.

Full Bands: Mercury Head Dimes that have fully defined bands on the fasces.  Only well struck coins will have these features.

Full Bell Lines: Franklin Half Dollars that have clearly defined horizontal lines on the bottom of the bell on the reverse.  Only well struck coins will have these features.

Full Head: Standing Liberty Quarter Dollars that have full details on Liberty’s head.  Only well struck coins will have these features.

Full Steps: a Jefferson Nickel with complete details on the steps leading up to Monticello, indicating a rare full strike.

full strike: a coin that has complete details thanks to a crisp, bold stamp from the dies.

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