ACH: Automated Clearing House (ACH) is an electronic network for financial transactions in the United States. ACH credit transfers include direct deposit, payroll and vendor payments. ACH payments are electronic payments that are created when the customer gives an originating institution, corporation, or another customer (originator) authorization to debit directly from the customer’s checking or savings account for bill payment.

Ag: Refers to the chemical element of Silver which is the symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal.

American Numismatic Association (ANA): a nonprofit educational organization that encourages the study of money throughout the world.

Ask: The ask is the price a seller is willing to accept when selling, this is often referred to as the offer price. (i.e.: what price are you asking the car you are selling?)

Assay: Refers to an examination and determination as to characteristics (such as weight, measure, or quality) of metal or ore to determine its ingredients and quality. It is used to describe the purity of a gold or silver product. When a gold or silver product ships with an “assay card”, it is a guarantee from the assayer that the product in question contains the described amount and purity of gold or silver.

Au: Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au and has an atomic number 79. The symbol AU is derived from the Latin word for gold which is “AURUM”. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element.

Avoirdupois:  The system of weights and measures commonly used in the U.S. and Great Britain in which 16 oz. = 1 pound. It is used for most solid objects except precious metals and gems. One avoirdupois ounce equals 28.35 grams or 437.50 grains.

Bank Wire: Wire transfer, bank transfer or credit transfer is a method of electronic funds transfer from one person or entity to another. A wire transfer can be made from one bank account to another bank account or through a transfer of cash through an institution or through an online banking service.

Bar: Bullion gold, silver, or other precious metals are often formed/shaped into bars or ingots for the convenience of shipping, storing or further processing into a refined product.

Base Metal: Also known as pot metal; a mixture of non-precious metals. It is frequently used as a base for gold-filled, gold-plated or rolled gold plate coverings.

Bear Market: A description of investment markets, such as stock markets or precious metals markets where prices are trending downward. The opposite of a bear market is a bull market.

Bid: The price at which a dealer is willing to buy.

Brilliant Uncirculated: A coin that has never been in circulation and is shiny, new and immaculate condition.

Bull Market: Describes investment markets, such as stock markets or metals markets in which prices are or are soon expected to be on the rise. The opposite of a bull market is a bear market.

Bullion: Gold, silver, platinum or palladium in the form of bars or other storage shapes, including coins and ingots that closely follow spot prices and have little or no numismatic value.

Bullion Coin: A precious metal coin traded at current bullion prices whose market value is determined by its intrinsic precious metal content. Bullion is typically bought and sold mainly for investment purposes. Bullion products may be produced by a sovereign mint displaying a par-value (face value) and generally trades at a price relative to its intrinsic value.

Bullion Precious Metals: Includes gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. These metals are traded based on their intrinsic metal value and typically are delivered in a specific trading shape such as a wafer, bar, ingot, round or coin.

Business Strike: A coin produced for general circulation (as opposed to a proof or uncirculated coin specially made for collectors).

Bust: A portrait on a coin, usually including the head, neck and upper shoulders.

Buy/Sell Spreads: The bid-ask spread (also bid–offer or bid/ask and buy/sell) is the difference between the prices quoted by a trader for selling a precious metals product and the trader’s buying prices, relative to the spot price of the metal traded.

Clad Coinage: Coins that have a core and outer layer made of different metals. Since 1965, all circulating U.S. dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars have been clad.

Coin: a Flat piece of metal issued by the government as money.

Commemorative: A special coin or medal issued to honor an outstanding person, place, or event.

Condition: The physical state of a coin or bar.

Counterfeit: A fake coin or another piece of currency made so that people will think it’s genuine.

Currency: Any kind of money – coins or paper money – that’s used as a medium of exchange. 

Cert: Short for certified or rated by a third-party grading service.

Certified Coins: Coins that are submitted for encapsulation or slabbing by an independent grading service to verify the quality, authenticity or state of preservation.

Circulated: Coins distributed to the public, as currency are typically in much worse condition than uncirculated coins.

Coin: A stamped piece of metal of a known weight and fineness issued for commerce.

Coin Grading: A coin’s “grade” measures a coin’s appearance. There are generally five main components which determine a coin’s grade: strike, surface preservation, luster, coloration and eye appeal. Grading is subjective and even experts can disagree about the grade of a given coin.

Coin Of The Realm: Is the legal money of a country issued by its government in general circulation, for as something valued or used as money.

Collector (coin): Are typically prized by collectors for a unique value attribute to the relative scarcity or uniqueness of these special coins. Generally, collector coins trade at a premium established by the collector’s market.

Commodity: A reasonably interchangeable product, physical good or material, bought and sold freely as an article of commerce. Commodities often trade and maintain their value based on industrial and commercial value.

Commemoratives:  Legal tender coins or medallions usually minted of gold or silver to commemorate themes, events, places, or people.

COMEX:  COMEX is the primary futures and options market for trading metals such as gold, silver, copper, and aluminum. Formerly known as the Commodity Exchange Inc., COMEX merged with the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) in 1994 and became the division responsible for metals trading.

Condition: refers to the physical state of a gold or silver bar, round, or coin. Common conditions are “New”, “Varied”, “Brilliant Uncirculated”, “Proof”, “Circulated”, “Mint State”, etc.

Custodian: or “Administrator” refers to a financial institution which holds its customers’ securities for safekeeping to minimize the risk of their theft, loss or as a requirement of law or code. A custodian may hold securities and other assets in electronic or physical form or in Trust.

Delivery: The process by which an underlying commodity, cash or other delivery instrument is tendered and received by the contract holder.

Denomination: The different values of money or currency usually assigned to coins or banknotes.

Depository: Storage facility or vault where physical assets are held for safekeeping.

Depository or Warehouse Receipt: A document issued by the storage facility indicating ownership of the commodity or item stored with the issuing a vault or warehouse.

Device: A design found on a coin. Frequently, it is the bust or profile of a person who symbolizes a particular country at a particular time in history or a country’s coat of arms or insignia.

Diversification: The concept of diversification, to create a portfolio that includes multiple investments to reduce risk. This often involves combining different types of assets within a single portfolio. The goal of diversification is to minimize the impact that the performance of any one security will have on the overall performance of the whole portfolio. As such, diversification lowers the risk associated with the portfolio.

Divisibility: The ability of an asset to be easily divided into smaller denominations, or units of value. When money is divisible, people can use the exact amount that is necessary for the exchange. Fractional coins and smaller weight bars accomplish a similar purpose.

Doré: Metal recovered from an ore body will be formed into unrefined bars known as “doré”. These unrefined bars will contain gold, as well as other metals (such as silver or copper) which have been extracted. The proportions of each metal will vary between bars, although gold will generally account for 60-90% of the bar. The bars are then sent to a refinery to separate each pure metal. []

Early Release: Coins that are promoted by third-party grading services as having been received from the mint within the first 30 days of the original release date.

Early Strike: Refers to coins that are promoted as having been received by a third-party grading service within the first 30 days of the original release date.

Edge: The third surface of a coin, not the obverse (face) or the reverse (back). The edge of a coin may be reeded, lettered, plain or bear a unique privy mark.

EF: Refers to coins that are in Extra Fine condition with design elements which are sharp and well defined.

Face Value: The sum for which a coin can be spent or exchanged (a dime’s face value is 10¢) as opposed to its collector or precious metal value as an investment coin, which does not necessarily correspond to its actual worth. This is also known as “par-value.”

Field: The portion of a coin’s surface not used for design or inscription.

Fine Gold: Refers to the purity or fineness contained in a gold coin or bullion item. Pure gold is 24 karat, or .999 fine, gold.

Fine Silver: Refers to the purity or fineness of a silver coin or bullion item. Pure silver is 99.9 percent or greater in purity.

Fine Weight: The metallic weight of a coin, ingot or bar, as opposed to the item’s gross weight, which includes the weight of the alloying metal. Example: a 1-oz Gold Eagle has a fine weight of one troy ounce but a gross weight of 1.0909 troy ounces.

Fineness: The purity of a precious metal measured in 1,000 parts: A gold bar of .995 fineness contains 995 parts gold and 5 parts of another metal.

First Strike: The term was first promoted in 2005 referring to coins that are claimed to be received by a third-party grading service within the first 30 days of the original release date.

Flip: A flexible plastic holder, used for storing or shipping purposes, it includes two opposing flaps with slots on each side to a hold coin.

Gold IRA: A type of self-directed IRA used by individuals to save for retirement that enables owners to hold approved precious metals assets in the form of bullion, coins, bars, or rounds in a tax-deferred account.

Gold: Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au (from Latin: aurum) and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. Gold has long been used as a store of wealth and remains at the foundation of our modern economic system. Gold is often used in coinage, jewelry and has numerous industrial applications.

Gold-Silver Ratio: The gold-to-silver ratio is the amount of silver it takes to purchase one ounce of gold, based on the current spot price.

Gold Standard: A monetary system based on convertibility into gold; paper money backed and interchangeable with gold.

Grade: Rating which indicates how much a coin has worn from circulation, or lack thereof.

Grading Service:  An independent authority that determines a condition of a numismatic or bullion coin thereby establishing a standard baseline for its value. Graded or “slabbed” coins are hermetically encapsulated in hardened plastic. The premier grading services in the United States are PCGS and NGC.

Grade: Rating which indicates how much a coin has worn from circulation.

Hairlines: Tiny lines or scratches on coins, usually caused by cleaning or polishing.

Hallmarking: A hallmark is an official mark guaranteeing the purity of the precious metal. Hallmarks will vary from country to country but will generally give information such as who made the item, the guaranteed level of fineness, the year in which it was made and the mark of the assaying/hallmarking entity.

Incuse: Opposite of relief, the part of a coin’s design that is pressed into the surface.

Ingot: Metal cast into a particular shape; used in making coins.

Inscription: Words stamped on a coin or medal.

Intrinsic Value (Bullion Value): the Current market value of the precious metal in a coin.

Key Date: A scarce date required to complete a collection, usually more difficult to find and afford.

IRA –Individual Retirement Account is basically a savings account with big tax breaks, making it an ideal way to put money away for retirement. The IRA itself is not an investment however, it is the basket which holds investments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, precious metals and other assets. There are three main types of IRAs each with different advantages:

Types of IRA’s

Traditional IRA: Enable you to make pre-tax contributions with money you may be able to deduct on your tax return before you calculate your AGI. Contributions can remain in the IRA tax-deferred until you withdraw them in retirement.

Roth IRA: Roth IRAs provide no tax break for contributions, but earnings and withdrawals are generally tax-free provided that certain conditions are met.

SEP IRA: is a type of traditional IRA for self-employed individuals or small business owners. (SEP stands for Simplified Employee Pension.) Any business owner with one or more employees, or anyone with freelance income, can open a SEP IRA.

Rollover IRA: refers to an employer-sponsored plan, such as that was “rolled-over” from your retirement plan at work (401(k), or 403(b), profit-sharing plan, etc.) into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Rolling over to an IRA allows you to keep your savings tax-deferred and typically gives you a broader choice of investments.

Junk Silver: US silver coins struck before pre-1965 are often referred to as junk-silver, these products contain less than 90% silver content. Some examples include pre-1965 Kennedy, Franklin and walking liberty half-dollars. Mercury dimes and very worn out Silver Dollars will often fall into this category.

Karat: (with a “k”) A measure of gold fineness or purity. Pure gold is considered to be 24 karats. For this reason, the actual gold content of an object is the percentage relationship of its purity to 24. For example, 18 karat gold is 18kt/24kt or 75% pure gold or 750 fine.

Legal Tender: Currency in specified denominations which a creditor is compelled by law to accept as payment of a debt.

Liquidity: The quality of being readily convertible into cash.

Liquid Market: A market characterized by the ability to buy and sell with relative ease.

Luster: The appearance of a coin’s surface, either satiny, frosty or proof like.

Medal: A metal object resembling a coin issued to recognize an event, place, person or group, with no stated value and not intended to circulate as money

Medium of Exchange: Anything that people agree has a certain value

Mint (adj.): Undamaged as if freshly made.

Mint (n.): The facility where a coin or bar was manufactured.

Mint (v.): To produce a coin by stamping metal.

Mintage: Total number of items issued with the exact same design elements.

Mintmark: A small letter on a coin identifying which of the United States Mint’s facilities struck the coin. Letter(s) added to a coin indicate the city with where the coin was made.

Mint luster: The sheen or reflective qualities that are produced during the minting process.

Mint State: same condition as uncirculated coins were in when leaving the facility where they were made.

Modern issue: Generally accepted as coins issued within the last 20-25 years.

Motto: A word, sentence or phrase inscribed on a coin to express a guiding national principle, such as, “E Pluribus Unum” inscribed on all U.S. circulating coins is Latin for “out of many, one”

Numismatic Coins: Coins whose prices depend more on their rarity, condition, dates and mint marks than on their gold or silver or metallic content, if any.

Numismatics: The study and collecting of things that are used as money, including coins, tokens, paper bills, and medals.

Numismatist: Coin collector or expert.

Obverse: – The front (or “heads”) side of a coin, usually bearing a head or face design.

Ounce (oz.): A unit of weight. In the precious metals industry, an ounce means a troy ounce equal to 31.1035 grams.

Palladium: A rare silver-white metal of the platinum group. Palladium resembles platinum chemically, is extracted from some copper and nickel ores and is primarily used as an industrial catalyst and in jewelry.

Paper Precious Metals: Any precious metal investment that doesn’t result in the investor holding gold or silver in hand or at an approved depository.

Platinum: A heavy, malleable, ductile, precious, gray-white transition metal, platinum is used in jewelry, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts, dentistry and automobile emissions control devices.

Precious Metals IRA: A self-directed individual retirement account (IRA) that allows you to invest in your choice of IRA approved products, including Gold, Silver and other precious metals assets.

Proof: A specially produced coin made from highly polished planchets and dies and often struck more than once to accent the design. Proof coins receive the highest quality strike possible and can be distinguished by their mirror-like background and frosted foreground.

Proof Set: A complete set of proof coins of each denomination made in a year.

Pt: The chemical symbol for Platinum.

Purity: The gold or silver content contained within a bar, round, or coin. Usually displayed as.XXX. The amount of the relationship between metals. The higher the purity, the better quality the metal.

Relief: The part of a coin’s design that is raised above the surface, opposite of incuse.

Reverse: The back (or “tails”) side of a coin, with an alternate design, usually displaying the coin’s purity and face value.

Rim: The raised edge on both sides of a coin (created by the upsetting mill) that helps protect the coin’s design from wear

Risk Aversion:  In economics and finance, risk aversion is the behavior of humans (especially consumers and investors), when exposed to uncertainty, in attempting to lower that uncertainty.

Roll: Coins packaged by banks, dealers or the United States Mint.

Rollover:  A rollover occurs when transferring the holdings of one retirement plan to another without suffering tax consequences. This occurs when you receive assets from one retirement plan and transfer them to another.

There are only two ways to move company retirement plan money into an IRA: a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer and a rollover where you receive a check made out to the new Custodian, F.B.O. (for the benefit of) you.  The preferred method is the direct trustee-to-trustee transfer.

Types of Rollovers include:

Direct Rollover – A distribution of eligible rollover assets from a qualified plan, 403(b) plan, or a governmental 457 plan to a Traditional IRA, qualified plan, 403(b) plan, or a governmental 457 plan; or a distribution from an IRA to a qualified plan, 403(b) plan or a governmental 457 plan.

Indirect Rollover – An indirect rollover is a method of transferring assets from a tax-deferred 401(k) plan to a traditional individual retirement account (IRA).

IRA Rollover – An IRA rollover is a transfer of funds from a retirement account into a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA via direct transfer or by check.

“Rule of 72”: is a simplified way to determine how long an investment will take to double, given a fixed annual rate of interest. By dividing 72 by the annual rate of return, investors can get a rough estimate of how many years it will take for the initial investment to duplicate itself.

“Rule of 70”: may apply when certain company retirement plan has a “rule of 70” provision that allows an employee to retire when the employee’s age plus years of employment with the company total at least 70.

“Rule of 85”: For example, a plan might have a normal retirement age of 65 and a minimum age of 58 to take advantage of the rule of 85. Alternatively, a plan might have a regular retirement age of 65 and allow you to use the rule of 85 when you’re between 60 and 65 and offer a reduced pension if you retire before 60.

Safe Haven: A safe haven is an investment that is expected to retain or increase in value during times of market duress. Safe havens are sought after by investors to limit their exposure to losses in the event of market declines or volatility.

Self-Directed IRA: A self-directed individual retirement account (SDIRA) is an individual retirement account (IRA) where the investor is in charge of making all the investment decisions. Designed for independent investors, self-directed IRAs allow the owner to invest in a much broader array of assets than with a traditional or Roth IRA.

Series: A collection of coins that contains all date and mint marks of a specific design and denomination.

Silver: A soft-white lustrous transition metal, silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal and occurs both in minerals and in free form. Silver is extensively used in coins, jewelry, tableware, and photography.

Slab: Nickname for some protective coin encapsulation methods, especially those that are permanently sealed and rectangular

Spot Gold Price: The constantly fluctuating price of gold in the markets. The closing spot price varies with markets located in numerous cities and countries throughout the world.

Spot Price: The live, up-to-date price of gold or silver as determined by the latest trades on the futures market, as well as the OTC markets.

Strike: The process of stamping a coin blank with a design. The strength of the imprint – full, average, or weak – affects the value of rare coins.

Tax Deferred: Tax-deferred status refers to investment earnings such as interest, dividends, or capital gains that accumulate tax-free until investors take receipt of the gains. Individual retirement accounts are one of the most common types of tax-deferred investments. Tax deferral allows growth to be compounded on the portion of earnings not lost to taxation.

Ton: A unit of weight equal to 2,000 pounds or 907.2 kilograms.

Tonne: A unit of weight equal to 2,204.6 pounds or 1,000 kilograms.

Transfer: An IRA transfer is the transfer of funds from an individual retirement account (IRA) to another type of retirement account, brokerage account or bank account. IRA transfers can be simple when they are made between common types of accounts. An investor can transfer a Traditional IRA from one service provider to another without any costs. The same is true with a Roth IRA, which also can be transferred easily from one service provider to another if the type of account is the same.

Type Set: A collection of coins based on denomination.

Uncirculated: The term “uncirculated” may have three different meanings when applied to a coin:

  1. It can refer to the particular manufacturing process by which a coin is made.
  2. It can be used as a grade when referring to a coin’s degree of preservation and quality of the strike.
  3. It can point to the fact that a coin has not been used in everyday commerce.

According to the United States Mint, the term uncirculated refers to the special coining process used to make the coin, which gives it a brilliant finish. Uncirculated coins are manufactured using the same process as circulating coins, but with quality enhancements such as slightly higher coining force, early strikes from dies, special cleaning after stamping, and special packaging. Uncirculated coins may vary to some degree because of blemishes, toning, or slight imperfections.

Variety:  A minor change from the basic design type of a coin that differs in some distinctive way and is thus differentiated by collectors.

Vault Receipt: A document used as a delivery instrument to indicate ownership of precious metals stored in a bank, warehouse or depository.

Weight: The stamped weight of a bar, round, or coin.

Wire Transfer: A wire transfer is an electronic transfer of funds across a network administered by hundreds of banks around the world. Wire transfers enable individualized sending of funds from single individuals or entities to other individuals or entities, while still maintaining the efficiencies associated with the fast and secure movement of money.

Year: The year of issue for a gold or silver coin.

Year Set: A collection of all coins issued by a country for any one year (does not necessarily include every mint mark).