Free Coin Guide

Coin Collecting

Morgan Dollars


patina: refers to the surface crust on an ancient coin or the color on a more modern coin.

pattern: a coin that tests a design to see how it appears in coin form and to determine if it strikes up properly.  By definition, a pattern is a design type that was never accepted for regular use.

PCGS: abbreviation for the Professional Coin Grading Service, Inc., one of the leading independent, third-party grading services.

PCGS Population Report: a monthly compilation of all coins graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service, Inc., broken down by date and grade.  A very useful tool for determining the rarity of various coins and grades.

Peace Dollar: the U.S. $1 coins struck from 1921 to 1935.

pedigree: the list of prior owners of a coin.

Penny: nickname for the U.S. One Cent.

peripheral toning: color that appears in the peripheries of a coin.

periphery: the outer areas on the front and back of a coin.

Philadelphia: the “mother” of all U.S. Mints, located at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Early coins from Philadelphia had no mintmark; more modern issues bear the letter “P.”

Pioneer gold: privately issued gold coins struck by a variety of minters anywhere in America where gold was discovered.

pitted: a coin that has tiny pockmarks of missing metal caused by corrosion.

plain edge: an edge of a coin that has no marking, reedings, or lettering of any kind.

planchet: the blank piece of metal upon which a coin is struck.

planchet defects: flaws on a coin that are believed to have been in the metal before the coin was struck.  These are not treated as harshly as circulation marks or defects, if at all.

planchet flaw: same as a planchet defect.

planchet striations: defects in a blank planchet, caused by impurities in the metal, that are not obliterated when the coin is struck.

plated: a coin to which an extra layer of metal was applied chemically or electronically (usually gold or silver).

platinum: a precious metal used primarily in bullion coins.

plugged: a coin that once had a hole drilled through it, but now the hole has been filled or “plugged” to bring the coin back to its original appearance and full value.

plus: used with grading terms to indicate an above-average coin.  Example – Very Fine plus.

PNG: abbreviation for the Professional Numismatists Guild.

polished die: before they are used for the first time, or after they have become worn, dies are often polished to make the surfaces nice and smooth.  Polished dies may be highly reflective or may have die polishing marks.

polyvinyl chloride: a chemical used to soften the plastic in some coin holders and albums.  Also known as PVC, this chemical can damage the surfaces of coins.

Poor: a grading term for a coin that is so badly worn that you can barely recognize the type and date.  See “About Good.”

porous: slightly pitted due to cleaning or chemical action.

PQ: abbreviation for Premium Quality.

premium quality: a coin that is above-average for the grade.

presentation striking: a coin struck for a special occasion.  These may or may not have been struck as Proofs, but they are generally prepared under special circumstances.

press: the machinery used to strike coins.

Prestige Set: a special set of Proof U.S. coins that includes the normal denominations, plus one or more of the Proof commemorative coins issued that year.

price guide: any number of publications that list wholesale and/or resale prices for coins, often in a number of different grades or categories.

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

price realized: the price that a coin sold for at auction.  This usually includes the buyer’s fee.

pristine: perfect and absolutely original.

Professional Coin Grading Service: an independent, third-party grading service located in Newport Beach, CA.

Professional Numismatists Guild: an association of professional coin dealers.

Proof : a special process for producing coins of exceptional quality and brilliance.  Proof coins will exhibit a full strike, mirrored surfaces, and sometimes a cameo effect.

Proof set: the specially packaged set of Proof coins produced and sold by the U.S. Mint each year.

Proof dies: the dies used to strike Proof coins.  Modern Proof dies are specially prepared, with frosted devices and deeply mirrored fields.

Proof-only issue: coins that were struck only as Proofs.

Prooflike: a circulation strike that mimics the deeply reflective appearance of a Proof coin.

provenance: a fancy word for pedigree.  Be sure to raise your nose in the air whenever you say this word.

PVC: see polyvinyl chloride, the chemical plasticizer that can damage coins.

PVC damage: the damage caused to a coin by polyvinyl chloride.

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