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Glossary of Coin and Bullion Terms

  • Avdp:  AVDP is an abbreviation for Avoirdupois, the standard ounce. See also: Troy Ounce..

  • Avoirdupois Ounce:  The standard ounce, 16 of which make up a pound. An avdp ounce weighs 28.35 grams, while a troy ounce weighs 31.1 grams.

  • Baird:  Based in London, Baird & Company is a major refiner of precious metals bullion bars. Baird is a member of the London Bullion Market Association, and is known for producing a range of top-quality bullion bars in gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Baird bullion bars are manufactured in a wide variety of sizes, and Baird is one of the few refiners of rhodium bullion in the world.

  • Britannia:  The Britannia is the official bullion coin of the United Kingdom, minted since 1987 in gold and since 1997 in silver.

  • Bullion:  Bullion is a term that refers to the bulk form of precious metals which are traded regularly on commodity markets. The value of bullion is determined by the precious metal content — defined by purity and mass.

  • Canadian Gold Maple Leaf:  The official gold bullion coin of Canada, minted since 1979 and legal tender within Canada.

  • Canadian Silver Maple Leaf:  The official silver bullion coin of Canada, sharing the same design as the Gold Maple Leaf. Also is legal tender in Canada, but only has been minted since 1988.

  • CBMint:  The website and online store you are currently using. Online retailer of quality bullion products and accessories.

  • Certified Coins:  Coins that have had their condition and authenticity graded by a professional grading service. Most certified coins are placed in hard, protective holders, or slabs, thereby giving these pieces another name — slabbed coins.

  • Chinese Gold Panda:  The official gold bullion coin of China, minted since 1982. Features annually-changing Panda-themed designs.

  • Chinese Silver Panda:  The official silver bullion coin of China since 1983, and sharing the same design as the Gold Panda.

  • Copper:  Metallic chemical element in same periodic group as silver and gold. Considered valuable back to ancient times and often used in coinage and to back currency. Though only a semi-precious metal, dwindling supply and increased demand have created a market for copper bullion, as well.

  • Dore Bars: Dore bars are semi-pure alloys of silver and gold, usually produced in situ at a mine. The dore bar is then moved to a refinery for further process. The word “dore” is the French term for “golden” or “gilded.”

  • Face Value:  Legal tender value that a coin (or banknote) has due to government fiat, or decree. With bullion coins, face value is usually far lower than the metal content of the coin itself.

  • FAQ:  Acronym for ‘Frequently Asked Questions’. A helpful user guide on many websites where answers are pre-given to common questions.

  • Fiat Currency:  Also referred to as ‘fiat money’, fiat currency has value only through the decree of a government or other body. The value of the money is not intrinsic and not tied to the value of any physical quantity, such as gold or silver. The money has worth only because it is declared to have worth.

  • Fungibility:  A commodity is fungible if its units are capable of mutual substitution — in other words, all units of the commodity are essentially the same. Gold and silver bullion are fungible, as any given unit of gold has equivalence to other units of gold.

  • Gold:  Metallic chemical element known since ancient times and always held to possess value. In modern times, gold is used extensively by industry as well as for investment in the form of gold bars and gold coins. You can read more about the history and uses of gold on the

  • Gold Spot Prices:  The current gold spot price is a benchmark price, set several times throughout the day by meetings of the LMBA in London. Gold spot prices are used to set a fair market price for gold bullion, usually measured by troy ounce of gold. However, throughout the day, market forces independently affect the price of gold, sometimes rapidly. Read more details about gold pricing and how gold prices are set on the CBMint Gold Prices Information Page.

  • Good Delivery Bars:  Bars made to specifications set forth by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). They are noted for the large size and high purity, and are used in major international market trading, as well as gold and silver reserves of governments, central banks, and the International Monetary Fund.

  • Gram:  Metric system unit of mass, abbreviated ‘g’. Many bullion products are sized by grams instead of the traditional troy ounce, equal to 31.103 grams. 1 kilogram is equal to 1,000 grams.

  • GSM:  The Golden State Mint, a private refiner of gold, silver, and copper bullion bars and rounds. The Golden State Mint is widely-known for the great range of silver and copper rounds that they manufacture, in wide variety of sizes.

  • Ingot:  An ingot is material, almost always metal, that is cast into a shape, either for further processing, or for use as-is, such as a bullion ingot, where it is also referred to as a bullion bar.

  • Intrinsic Value:  Intrinsic value is an economic theory that holds that the value of an item in contained within that item itself. With bullion, a coin or bar is considered to have worth because of the physical metal content present in the piece, not due to any law or decree (see:  Fiat Currency).

  • Krugerrand:  Modern world’s first gold bullion coin, minted by the South African Mint since 1967 and still popular today with investors and collectors.

  • Market Loss Policy:  Common policy among online bullion stores, protects the merchant if market commodity prices fall between the time an order is placed and the time it is cancelled. Read more under CBMint’s Terms and Conditions.

  • Melt Value:  The market value of the metal contained within a coin or bar. For coins that have legal tender status, and thus a face value, the melt value of the metal will sometimes climb above the face value — the dilemma facing the US Penny in 1982 being a famous example.

  • Mint:  A facility for producing coins, either for circulation, for investment, or for both. Most world mints are official government-owned and backed entities, but many private mints exist, as well.

  • Monster Box:  A sealed, protective box issued by the US Mint. Each Monster Box contains 500 American Silver Eagles, sealed in 25 hardened tubes.

  • NTR:  Formerly Northern Texas Refining, NTR Metals is one of the world’s largest producers of precious metals bullion products, including a large selection of silver, gold, and platinum bullion bars and rounds.

  • OPM:  Stands for Ohio Precious Metals, one of the leading refiners of gold and silver bullion in North America. OPM manufactures a wide range of extremely fine silver and gold baras and rounds.

  • Ounce:  Imperial unit of mass, abbreviated “Oz”. In the bullion industry, an ounce typically refers to a Troy Ounce, equal to 1.097 standard ounces.

  • Oz:  Standard abbreviation for ounce.

  • Oz T:  Standard abbreviation for troy ounce, sometimes written Ozt.

  • Palladium:  Chemical element and member of the platinum group metals (PGMs). A precious metal with many industrial uses, palladium is quite rare and increasingly used today for investment purposes. Several mints produce palladium coins and palladium bars.

  • PAMP: Stands for Produits Artistiques Metaux Precieux (Artistic Precious Metals Products). Swiss refiner of high-quality bullion bars and ingots in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. PAMP was one of the first precious metals refiners to utilize beautiful artwork on their bullion bars, an example being the famous Lady Fortuna design.

  • Poured Bar:  Refers to the method of manufacture of a bullion bar. Most bars produced today are machine-stamped. Poured bars are produced by pouring the molten precious metal into a cast or mold. Stamped bars have sharper features, but poured bars are still widely popular with collectors and investors.

  • Platinum:  Chemical, non-reactive element of the platinum group, and one of the rarest elements in earth’s crust. Platinum has many industrial uses today, and is still widely used as a vehicle for investment. Platinum, in bullion form, is usually produced as platinum bars or platinum coins. More about platinum metal, its history and uses can be found on CBMint’s platinum metal information page.

  • Private Mint:  Private mints, unlike sovereign mints, are not owned and operated by national governments. Private mints are privately-owned companies that refine and manufacture precious metals bullion products, most notably, bullion bars and rounds.

  • Refining:  Refining is the process of concentrating the pure form of an element (usually a metal) from its constituent ores. Many producers of precious metals products combine both the refining and the minting process — they refine the metal from its ores, then mint the refined metal into bullion coins and bars.

  • Rhodium:  Another platinum group metal (PGM), rhodium shares the characteristics and industrial uses of platinum and palladium, and is found in the same ores in earth’s crust. The scarcity of rhodium has historically given it huge price swings, and these have given rhodium bullion consideration as a precious metals product.

  • Round:  Name given to a coin-shaped bullion product, produced by private mints. Such mints have produced a huge-array of silver rounds in the last few decades.

  • Royal Canadian Mint:  One of the best-known sovereign mints today, the Royal Canadian Mint produces all of the circulation coinage of Canada, along with that of a few other countries. The RCM also produces a wide range of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion coins and bars.

  • Ruthenium:  Metallic element and another member of the platinum group metals. Ruthenium is extremely rare and is found in the same ores as the other PGMs and shares many of the same industrial uses. Ruthenium has some exotic properties, and combined with the scarcity, could make it an attractive high-end bullion investment option.

  • Seigniorage:  Seigniorage refers to the difference in the cost of producing (minting) money and the declared value of that money. Seigniorage is a source of revenue for many governments. For example, if a coin costs 20 cents to mint, yet has a face value of 25 cents, the government that produced that coinage profits off of each minted coin.

  • Shipping Insurance:  Insurance placed on purchases with CBMint. Shipping insurance covers the value of purchased products should any mishaps occur during the delivery process.

  • Shopping Cart:  A virtual shopping cart is where a user on CBMint stores products while continuing to browse and shop. Items placed in the shopping cart receive a 10 minute guaranteed price lock, and the shopping cart makes the checkout process much smoother.

  • Silver:  Precious metal known since ancient times and always associated with money and wealth. Silver has unique elemental properties which today make it widely used in industry, as well as continuing to be a store and medium of wealth. Silver bullion for investment is produced in the form of silver bars and silver coins. A history of silver and its uses can be read on CBMint’s silver information page.

  • Silver Spot Prices:  The current silver spot prices used to be set by a daily meeting of the LMBA in London. That practice, under fire for suspicions of price fixing, was abandoned in 2014. Silver pricing, like most commodity pricing, is now determined by market forces. Throughout the trading day, the price of silver can change rapidly. Read more details about gold pricing and how gold prices are set on the CBMint Silver Prices Information Page.

  • Sheldon Scale:  The Sheldon coin grading scale a 70 point scale used by numismatists to assess the quality and condition of a coin. Nearly all major coin grading companies, such as NGC and PCGS, use the Sheldon Scale when grading and appraising coins.

  • Slabbed Coins:  Also known as certified coins, these are pieces that have been authenticated and graded by a professional service and placed in a hard, protective coin holder, or slab.

  • Specie:  Specie is money in the form of coins rather than bank notes. Specie refers mainly to coins intended for circulation, unlike bullion coins which are intended for investment and wealth storage.

  • Spot Price:  Spot price is the settlement price for a given commodity or security. Unlike a futures or forward contract, the spot price is settled at the time the contract (or purchase) is made. In the bullion markets, the spot price for precious metals is determined daily, but can fluctuate during any given day due to market trading and speculation.

  • Sovereign Mint:  A sovereign mint is a mint that is owned by a government or other public legal entity. Sovereign mints are often tasked with creating the circulatory coinage for a given nation, commemorative and historic coinage, and sometimes gold and silver bullion coins. Such bullion coins produced by sovereign mints usually have legal tender status, and often carry a face value, as well. Sovereign mints differ from private mints, whose products have no legal tender status or legal face value. Famous examples of sovereign mints include the United States Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Chinese Mint, the South African Mint, and the Perth Mint.

  • Stamped Bar:  Contrasted to a poured bar, stamped bars are produced by stamping the bar out of bulk metal in a process quite similar to how coins are produced. It is quicker and cheaper to produce bullion bars in this fashion, though many collectors and investors still favor poured bars.

  • Tola:  A traditional South Asian unit of mass. Occasionally bullion products are produced in Tola weights. The Tola has been standardized as 180 Troy Grains (11.6683 grams), or exactly ⅜ Troy Ounce.

  • Troy Grain:  The grain was the legal foundation of traditional weight systems in England, and is today the only mass unit that is common between the Troy, Avoirdupois, and Apothecary systems. Today, the grain (or Troy Grain – same unit) is standardized as 64.79891 milligrams, or 5,760 grains per Troy Pound.

  • Troy Ounce:  The Troy Ounce is a unit of imperial measure, and is today used mainly for gauging the mass of precious metals. 1 Troy Ounce is equal to exactly 31.1034768 grams, and equal to approximately 1.097 standard (avoirdupois) ounces.

  • United States Mint:  One of the premier sovereign mints in the world, the United States Mint has a long and storied history. Today, the US Mint produces all the circulation coinage used by the United States, along with a range of gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins.

  • US Gold Eagle:  Official gold bullion coin of the United States. First produced in 1986 and legal tender within the United States, a famous and common bullion coin among investors and collectors.

  • US Silver Eagle:  Official silver bullion coin of the United States, also first released in 1986, though having a different design than the American Gold Eagle. Legal tender within the United States.

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