U.S. Coin Price Guide

Coin Collecting

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mail bid sale: a type of auction that accepts bids only by mail, fax, phone, etc. and where no bids are accepted from the floor.

major variety: a design change that is obvious but not significant enough to warrant a change in the type.

marks: the defects caused when a coin is hit by foreign objects or other coins.

Matte Proof: a Proof coin with dull, slightly grainy surfaces.  Applies to Proof coins struck from 1908-1916, Peace Dollars 1921-1922, and some modern Jefferson Nickel Proofs.

medal: a circular piece of metal that looks like a coin but has no value stamped on it.

melt: the bullion or intrinsic value of a coin.

Mercury Dime: the U.S. Ten Cent pieces struck from 1916 to 1945.  The front of these coins has a head of Liberty wearing a winged cap, supposedly representing freedom of thought, and looking slightly like the Roman god Mercury.

milling mark: a contact mark on a coin caused by the reeded edge of another coin.

minor variety: a difference between two coins that is insignificant.

mint: the official government building where coins are struck.

mintage: the quantity made of a coin.

mint error: a coin that was improperly struck at the mint.  See: Error.

mint set: a specially packaged set of Uncirculated coins produced and sold by the U.S. Mint.

mint set toning: the sought-after, beautiful toning created by the paper holders of U.S. mint sets from 1947 to 1958.

Mint State: “brand new” or Uncirculated coins that range from 60 to 70 on a grading scale of 1 to 70.

mintage: the quantity struck by the Mint of a particular coin.

mintmark: a small letter (or letters) on a coin that identify the mint where the coin was struck.

mis-struck: a coin that was made improperly.  See: Error.

mishandled Proof: a Proof coin that has been spent, cleaned, or otherwise damaged.

Miss Liberty: the name for the anonymous lady that appears on many U.S. coins.

Morgan dollar: the silver U.S. One Dollar coins struck from 1878-1921.

mottled toning: uneven or mixed coloring on a coin.

Motto: legends like “IN GOD WE TRUST” or “E PLURIBUS UNUM” that appear on many U.S. coins.

MS: abbreviation for Mint State, a grading term, usually tied to a number (for example, MS-63, MS-70, etc.).

mule: an unintended pairing of two dies.

multiple-struck: a coin that was struck more than once.

mutilated: a severely damaged coin.

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