Resources & Quiz


Challenge yourself with a quiz about minting coins – how much do you know about how we make the world’s coins?!


Austrian Mint

Royal Canadian Mint – Coin Finishes

Royal Australian Mint – Year of the Rat


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.
Bullion coin Made for investment purposes, bullion coins have a high precious metal content and are traded at the daily price for that metal. Their face value is less than the value of the precious metal they contain.


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, that appears 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.
Nominal value
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.

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