Precious Metals Glossary



The lowest price at which you can acquire the investment

Austrian 100 Corona

Bullion gold coin from Austria containing .9802 ounce of gold



A bar is bullion, and its value is purely intrinsic as it replies solely on its melt value of gold


The expected price a buyer or dealer is willing to pay for the investment


Bullion is gold and silver that is officially recognized as being at least 99.5% pure. In the United States, the American Eagle and Buffalo series of coins are the official bullion from the US Mint.



Canadian Maple Leafs

Popular bullion coins minted by the Royal Canadian Mint available in Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium.

Certificates (Gold)

Gold certificates are a way of holding gold without taking physical delivery. In reality, an owner of a good certificate merely owns “stock” in the gold, but will not actually posses any form of physical gold



The New York Commodity Exchange



The transfer of an asset from the seller to the buyer, either physically or digitally.


The distribution of investments among differing types of assets, commodities and securities in a effort to minimize risk.

Double Eagles

Popular investment U.S. coins issued between 1850-1933. With $20 face value, these were dubbed as the “double eagle” since the $10 piece was refered to as the “eagle”. Both the $20 Liberty and St. Gaudens $20 pieces are referred to as “double eagles”


Face value

The legal monetary value on a coin

Fiat Money

Money with no intrinsic value, declared by a government to be legal tender. All currency in the United States became fiat after the dollar came off of the Gold Standard in 1971


The purity of a precious metal as measured in 1,000 parts of the alloy


Gold Eagles

Also known as “American Eagles“, these US minted gold bullion coins available in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz denominations with a $5, $10, $25 and $50 face value.

Gold Fix (London)

The setting of the price of gold by five members of The London Gold Market Fixing Ltd, which takes place on the premises of N M Rothschild & Sons. The Gold Fix is officially a price for settling contracts between members of the London bullion market, but also affects gold bullion and gold-related contracts and products across the world.

Gold Standard (Left off here- SPO)

A monetary system based on the convertibility of paper money and base coinage into gold. As of 2013 no country uses a gold standard as the basis of its monetary system, with all national currencies now being fiat.

Grading Service

Numismatic coins are graded for quality, with PCGS and NGC being the two major grading services in the United States. Coins are graded using letters and numbers to reflect overall quality, the worst being BS-1 (or Basal State 1) and the best MS-70 (Mint State 70). Graded coins are usually encapsulated in protective plastic, with a certificate, a procedure known as slabbing.



The traditional definition of inflation is an increase in the money supply and available credit, which in turn increases the money supply (monetary inflation), but in modern use, inflation is used to mean higher prices (price inflation).


Any volume of metal cast into a convenient shape for stacking, storage and transportation may be referred to as an ingot. In the precious metals industry, the words ingot and bar may be used interchangeably although ingots are usually larger bars.

Intrinsic Value

The value of a coin’s metal content, as opposed to it’s face value or collector value.


Kilo Bar

A bar weighing one kilogram or kg (32.1507 troy ounces). These are very popular in China and Europe.


Very popular South African gold coin. It is minted from gold alloy that is 91.67% pure (22 karats) and is available in 1/10oz, 1/4oz, 1/2oz and 1oz sizes. In 1980 the Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the global gold coin market.



The process of converting securities, assets and other property into money.


The slightly frosty appearance of a coin caused by the way light interacts with the minted surface, usually apparent on an uncirculated coin.


Maple Leafs

Canadian Gold Maple Leafs are the official bullion gold coin of Canada, being produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. Canadian Gold Maples are one of the purest gold regular-issue coins available, having a minimum gold fineness of .9999, with some special issues being .99999 fine (five nines), meaning only 0.001% of the metal is non-gold. Gold used in Maples are from Canadian mines. They are available in 1/25, 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2 and 1oz sizes and are legal tender with face values of $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50. Maples are also available in silver palladium and platinum metals.


Mint Mark

A letter or symbol stamped on a coin to identify the minting facility where it was struck. May also be called a Makers mark, or Responsibility mark.

Mint State

Describes a coin in uncirculated condition. Shortened to MS and appended with numbers (see Sheldon Scale) to quantify degrees of quality, being MS-60 (Mint State or completely un-circulated condition), going through MS-61, MS-62, MS-63, MS-64, MS-65, MS-66, MS-67, MS-68, and MS-69, up to MS-70 (Mint State – perfect). Coins showing wear are graded below MS-60 and are graded from AU (About Uncirculated) down to G (Good). Below G, AG(Almost Good) leads down to BS (Basal State) – the worst condition a coin can possibly be in.



Acronym for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America, one of the two principal coin grading services in the U.S.


A nugget can either be a naturally occurring piece of native gold or a gold bullion coinminted by Australia. The coins have been minted in denominations of 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, 1 oz, 2 oz, 10 oz, and 1 kg of 24 carat gold and carry legal tender status in Australia. They are one of few legal tender bullion gold coins to change their design yearly.

Numismatic coins

Coins whose prices depend more on their collector value based on rarity, condition, dates, and mint marks than on their intrinsic value, that is their precious metal content.


A student or collector of coins and currency.



The front of a coin which contains the principal design unique to a particular coin (the reverse will typically show a national leader).


The over-the-counter gold market trades a 24-hour continuous basis accounting for the majority of global gold trading. Most OTC trades will be settled using gold stored in London, no matter where the deal may be actually transacted.

Ounce (metals)

In the precious metals industry, what is called an ounce actually means a troy ounce equal to 1.09714 regular or avoirdupois ounces. In metric measurements one troy ounce weighs 31.1035 grams.



Acronym for Professional Coin Grading Service, one of two pricipal coin grading services in the U.S.

Physicals Market

A market where the physical product is traded. The opposite of a futures market where contracts are traded.

Platinum Eagles

Modern platinum bullion coins minted by the U.S. Treasury and offered in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 troy oz varieties, consisting of .9995 fine platinum. See Gold Eagles


The dollar amount or percentage a coin or bar sells over its intrinsic or spot value. Premiums are made up of dealer profit, mint profit and mining costs.


A coin produced for the collector market using special dies and planchets resulting in incredibly sharp detail and an almost flawless surface, with mirror-like fields.



An officially issued reproduction of a former circulated coin, for example the Mexican gold 50 Peso.


Shorthand for 1oz silver rounds. Silver rounds are privately-minted .999 fine silver circular pieces of silver of a similar size to a silver dollar.


Sheldon Scale

In 1948, a well-known numismatist called Dr. William Herbert Sheldon attempted to standardize coin grading by proposing what is now known as the Sheldon Scale. The scale was originally devised specifically for United States large cents, but it is now applied to all series and runs from 0 to 70, where 0 means a disc of metal may once have been a coin and 70 means that it is perfect.

Silver Eagles

Popular 1oz silver bullion coins minted in U.S. and legal tender. See Gold Eagles.

Slabbed coins

Coins encapsulated in plastic as a means of protection against wear. Typically a slabbed coin has been graded and certified by one of the two major U.S. grading services, NGC and PGCS.


Popular UK minted gold coin. Named after the English gold sovereign, last minted in 1604, the name was revived during the “Great Recoinage” of 1816. Minting of these new sovereigns started in 1817, with the gold content being fixed by the coin act of 1816 at 1320/5607 (0.235420) troy ounces (7.322381 g), nearly equivalent to 113 grains. This equates to a fineness of 916?.


The price for physical delivery of bullion, based on 100oz bars for gold or platinum and 1,000oz bars of silver – although the spot price is used to calculate value of all precious metal transactions no matter what size.

Spot Market

A commodity market where delivery and payment need to be made within two working days of the transaction date.


The difference between the buying price and the selling price of an asset, commodity or financial instrument.

Standard Ounce

Defined as a troy ounce of 22 carat gold, 91.66% pure, .9166 fine.


Troy Ounce

A unit of weight most commonly used in the field of precious metals. One troy ounce equals 31.1035g, 480 grains, or 1.09711 regular (avoirdupois) oz.


A coin in new condition. In the UK this may be called Brilliant Uncirculated or BU, whilst in the U.S. the term is Mint State or MS.


World Gold Council (WGC)

The World Gold Council is the market development organization for the gold industry. Based in the UK, the World Gold Council’s 23 members comprise the world’s leading gold mining companies.




The ISO code for spot gold.