Refining                      Art of purifying metals through ridding them of their alloy.

Adjustment     Action of making every coin weights the exact weight it should have.

Alloy    Product with metallurgical character, resulting from the incorporation in a metal of one or more other metallic elements.


Fineness                      Proportion of fine metal contained in an alloy.


Alter    Subjecting monetary species to weight changes and/ or titles that                    give coins of poor quality.

Alum   Sulfate double potassium and hydrated aluminum, served as currency in Egypt and Syria under the Ayyubid era mainly to pay for imports of wood and iron.


Uninscribed    A currency bearing no legend. (link to glossary def. Legend)

Annulet           Small ring engraved on the coins to punctuate a legend.

Anonymous     Said of a currency bearing no mention of the issuing authority.


Antoninianus   Roman coin that was minted in the third Century AD and was worth two pence.


Arab-Byzantine (currencies) Muslim coins of the Byzantine type. They were minted in the Muslim West during the transition period, before the reform of 'Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan.


Archer             Kind of monetary of silver shekel or gold Daric of the Persian kings.


Aureus            (plural aurei) Roman gold coins. This term is specifically used to describe the Roman gold coins produced punctually from the Second Punic War (link to glossary def. Punic), and more commonly from Caesar’s era.


Obverse          face of a coin or a medal which bears the main etching pattern (often a portrait). The reverse is the other side.


Coins die axis  positioning of the obverse and reverse designs on a coin.


Screw-press ("Balancier")      mechanical printing of currencies through a machine equipped with a screw extractor whose pressure over the monetary prints on both sides of a blank with one stroke of the screw-press.

Spade shape of monetary sign in many Chinese aand African civilizations.

Besan or Bezant         This name derived from the name of Byzantium, was given to various gold coins of the Middle Ages; these currencies have the characteristics to have been copied from Byzantine and Arab currencies.


Billon   It is a divisional coin made of silver and copper.

Bimetallic       It’s a coin made of two different metals or assembled metal alloys.

Bimetallism    monetary system based on the use of two metals, usually gold and silver, assigned with a legal and fix ratio between them.

Currency paper          Currency issued in Morocco by the combined printing of Casablanca in 1943, worth 5,20 and 50 francs.


Aluminum bronze       copper alloys (88 to 94%) and aluminum (6 to 12%) giving a metal resistant to corrosion and a gold appearance, very popular among medalists.

Nickel bronze alloy comprising at least 75% of copper and 25% of nickel.

Bunduqi          the Bunduqi, called Dinars of Bunduqi weight, are gold dinars, struck under the Alawite Dynasty. This term originates from the fact that their weight, between 3.6 g and 3.5 g, corresponding to that of Venetian Ducat. (old gold coin of Venice.)


Burin   Instrument that the engraver uses to cut steel. Burins are usually square to facilitate the handling. The front end is beveled and the trailing end is flat, these tools being pushed onto the steel with a hammer.

Splines Indentations in the slice in many types of coins minted from the sixteenth century to preserve them from trimming.


Carat   From the Greek "keration"= third farthing. Refers originally to a unit of weight of a grain of carob whose modern equivalent is 0.189 g. twenty fourth of fine gold contained in an end portion mass of gold.

Cauri   Divisional currency of the Republic of Guinea from 1971 to 1980; 100 cowries make a syli.


Cowry (Monetaria moneta) Shell or imitation of shell used as money in many countries. In ancient China, substitute cowries were manufactured with bone, pearl, stone and bronze.

Field    Term designating the area remaining in the center of each side of a coin and bounded by the circular legend.


Cisoir   scissors for cutting metal.

Coin     Matrix to strike coins and medals.

Commemorative (coin, medal) medal or coin with legal value not intended for circulation, issued to celebrate an event, a place or a person.

Concave          Said of a currency which the blank is shaped in a meniscus form.


Counterfeit     Synonymous of fake, imitation of period, weight and reduced fineness.

Countermark punch mark affixed to a currency already mint, often to indicate a change in value.

Molding          Operation consisting of passing a molten metal through a coins manufacturing mold where it solidifies.

Break in the late eighteenth century; note representing a fraction of the highest value. Then, by extension, applicable to any species


Rate    Fixing the value of currency in circulation in currency of account.

Legal rate       Regime applicable to monetary signs according to which they must be accepted in transactions and payments for their nominal value.

Knife    Monetary sign in several civilizations especially in Asia.


Croesus           These are gold coins, silver and electrum mint starting from the reign of Croesus. They represent a couple formed by a lion and a bull. The Croesus is mentioned by Herodotus, Plutarch, Pollux, it was renowned for its good quality. (link to glossary fineness definition)

Hollow            Synonymous of corner because of intaglio print it received.


Cupro-nickel   copper alloy wherein the nickel exists in an amount between 13 to 20%.

Daric   Gold coin of King Archer type issued by the Persian Empire from the reign of Darius until the conquest of Alexander. The Daric weighs approximately 8.40 g and is worth 20 Shekels of silver.

Decadrachma             Greek coin worth 10 drachmas issued exceptionally in Athens, Acragas, Syracuse, Carthage, Babylon or Ptolemaic Egypt.

Cutting            operation that involves cutting the coin blanks, or medal in a metal blade.

Half follis        Byzantine copper coins (fifth-eighth century) worth 20 noummia (brand of K value).

Half siliqua     of Byzantine silver coins (sixth century) struck mainly in Ravenna and Carthage, cut to 288 to the pound.

Half tremissis             Byzantine gold coins cut to 432 to the pound.


Demonetization          Decision through which we delete to a currency its quality as a means of payment.

Deneral           monetary weight, usually in bronze or brass, sometimes in glass, designed to control the weight of specific coins.

Denier             Denier is one of the most famous Roman coins. Originally, it is one of the Roman Republic silver coins, which survived under the Roman Empire until the third century AD. The denier also knew extensions in the Middle Age, during which it has long been the monetary unit.

Denier of weight:      a divisional unit for weight, held to be equal to 1/24 of an ounce.

Denomination:          naming of a piece of money, and by extension, its legal value.

Didachma:                    Roman silver currency of 6 …..of the system Romano-Campanian system.

Different:                     a mark attached to every currency to indicate the workshop where it was coined, the name of its director and its coiner

Dinar:                           currency unit in the ancient Muslim world. The first dinars were at the beginnings imitations (link towards glossary defining imitation) of Byzantine currency and they were in 77AH/697 AC  by « Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan ».

Dirham                          A Muslim currency unit derived from Darchma (link towards glossary defining Drachma) sassinide reformed by by Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan in 77 A.H/697 A.C

Dobla                            Spanish currency having the value of 2 ecus, where the coinage started under Alphonso XI (1312-1350 AC). This  appelation was also given to Almohade Dinar.

Double                      coinage doubling of printing which results from the slippery of the workpiece during coinage. A piece which shows this default is called trefoil.

Doubloon                   the term « doublon » is derived from Spanish «  doblón», which means « double ». It designates a double ecu « escuedo» or of a gold currency of 32 reales, which weigh 6.77 grammes.

Drachma                   in the Greek world, a silver money the weight of which varies according to the monetary standard to which it is attached

(obverse) the face of the money that bears the drawing or the main inscription.

 Droit                      Given the ambiguity of the term «principal», many coin collectors prefer using the term « straight » for the face the bears the printing of the inferior corner/side.  (the term obverse is sometimes used).

 Ducat                   golden money coined in Venise from 1284 to 1794 without any modification

Dupondius         Roman currency valued at two aes. This piece of money was first circulated in bronze in the III Century BC, and regularly stroke in orichalcum

 Ecu                     Golden or silver currency stroke prior to the French Revolution, bearing a coat of arms on one side. Similarly, this name is given to silver pieces of 5 Francs after the revolution.

Electrum            natural alloy ofgold and silver used in Asia Minor for the first currencies. The term is currently used to refer to every golden alloy where the amount of money where the amount of silver or copper is very significant in such a way as to affect the color of the currency.

Emblem              symbol or allegoryillustrated on the currencies  

Issuance (issue) Release of coins or notes by an institution. It is, also, a set of coins minted with the same physical and typological characteristics, according to an instruction given by the issuing authority.

Anvil (corner of)         Head or sleeping area.

Notch Significant damage in the side of a currency.

Epigraphic                  Said of a currency that contains captions. (link to glossary def. Legend)


Proof                           Coin of superior quality, mint with corners specially prepared, for example, to be offered to employees or persons of high rank.

Species                        Any monetary sign used as a means of payment for the value prescribed by the issuing authority.

Sample                        A test piece prepared by the Mint, which can be approved or not by the monetary authorities. A sample may be struck in various metals, a normal or double blank thickness. It can carry a hallmark in the corner, indicating its destination, namely the word SAMPLE.

Stamping                    Forming of a cold-pressed blank between two matrixes or hollow carved corners to give an embossed.

Banking institutions

Standard                     Weight of a precious metal in general, gold or silver, for reference unit of a monetary system and determining the value of each coin of system.

Euro                            European currency unit in force since 1 January 1999 (abbreviation €).

Epigraph                     Space of the field of the medal which is below the subject. In some conventional compositions, it is separated from the subject by a plinth. It usually has a date or a brief inscription.

Face                            Side of the coin opposite the tail (see obverse).

Weak currency           Coins whose weight and (or) title does not follow the legal requirements

Counterfeiter              Coin counterfeiter, manufacturer of fake coins.

Inauthentic coin          Fake coin.

Faute                           Refers to a twisted coin, staggered strikes, eccentric which has received a double blow.

Flan                             Metal disc, free of any strikes, intended to be converted into currency or coin.

Uncirculated               Conservation status of a coin that has no trace of wear due to traffic.

Jewel                           Ornament depicting a flower or a leaf.

Follis                           Billon currency (link to glossary def. Billion) or copper

Melting                       Method of coinage. The melting technique was used in Rome IV and III century BC

Spawning                    Loss that currencies experience by friction in traffic.

Franc                           Currency appeared in France in the fourteenth century.

Mint (minting)            Process which provides the impression of a subject engraved on a blank medal or coin through a press. The obverse and reverse are stamped simultaneously.

Strike with the balance Mechanical printing of currencies through a machine equipped with a screw extractor foulante whose pressure over the monetary printing on both sides of a blank with one stroke of the balance.

Strike with the hammer Strike technique using human force. This technique was in use until the introduction of the mechanical mint.

Grain                           Unit of mass equal to 0.053 gram.

Engraver                     It is the artist who engraves the corners to print money at a blank subject.

Beading                      Cord made of small grains on the edge of currencies.

Gresham (law)            Economic Act according to which, when a well received currency by the public circulates in a country simultaneously with another bad currency, the bad drives out the good one from traffic, the latter being hoarded.

AH                               the date when Prophet Muhammad left Mecca to Medina on July 16 622, used in the calculation of the main Muslim calendar, based on lunar years, where there are only 354 days. To convert a date expressed in the Hijri (AH) in the Christian year (AD), you just solve the equation: AH - [(AH 100) x3] = 622 AD.

Hemidrachme            It is the equivalent weight of half a drachma.

Hexagram                   Byzantine silver currency, created under Heraclius in 615 AD, cut to 48 to the pound, worth ½ solidus. It ceases to be mint under Justinian II (685-717 AD).

Mint place                  place where coins are mint.

Hybrid                         Coin struck by two monetary corners for two issuances or two different currencies.

Imitation                     Integral copy of a currency, usually of lower quality than the latter, issued legally and with the tolerance of the issuing legal authority in circumstances of urgent necessity. Counterfeiting (link to glossary def. Counterfeit) of a currency by a sovereign authority.

Incuse                         A currency where the reverse reproduces in intaglio the type of the obverse. Currency mainly from southern Italy.

Intrinsic                       Describes the value of a currency determined by the nature, weight and fineness of the metal it contains.

Token                          Monetiforme coin of any material (metal, plastic, ivory ...) but usually metal, for counting or likely equivalence of monetary value (operating vending machines).

Karat or Qirat             weight unit of the Arab world; the Qirat did not have the same value everywhere. It is the Syrian Arab Qirat of 0.2125 g that was chosen as a standard for monetary reform of 'Abd al-Malik (697), 20 Qirats were equal to a mithqal or dinar. The other term is synonymous with the silver square currency of almowahade Caliph Ibn Al -Muhammad (1145-1146), weighing 0.93 g

The Era of the Hegira the date when Prophet Muhammad left Mecca to Medina on July 16 622, used in the calculation of the main Muslim calendar, based on lunar years, where there are only 354 days. To convert a date expressed in the Hijri (AH) in the Christian year (AD), you just solve the equation: AH - [(AH 100) x3] = 622 AD.

Numismatics               It is the science of currencies. It studies these objects according to their material, historical and political value.

Laureate (head)          Refers to a portrait wearing a crown of laurel.

Coin maker                 Responsible for a coin currency issue. In the Merovingian period, the monetary is a serious official who often engrave his name and title on the currency.

Legend                        Any inscription on a coin or medal.

Ingot                           Metal mass having the shape of the mold in which it was cast.


Liquidity (ratio)


Listel                           Circle device having a larger projection than the projections of type or legend in order to reduce wear.

Mancus (Latin mancusus) In the Middle Ages, the name given by Christians to the Arab gold Dinar. Arabic gold coin issued in Spain, in particular by the caliphs of Cordoba, has circulated the tenth to eleventh century.

Marabotin                  Marabotin is the name given to the gold Dinars of Almoravides of Spain. The Marabotins were circulating in the south of France in the twelfth century (Almoravides, from the Arabic al morabeth), Alfonso VIII imitated and made alfonsins marabotins.

Maravedi                    Account currency in Spain which also seems to come from the Almoravids.

Trademarks                Workshops trademarks are sometimes represented on coins. Often, they are mostly letters or abbreviations which are the own brand of a mint. They have been used particularly in the coinage of the Lower Roman Empire, where the RA letters mean for example that the coin was manufactured in the mint of Ravenna

Hammering                Operation of erasing all or part of the right or the reverse of a currency.

Money supply

Matbu 'or methbou'   Other mithqal name.

Medal                         Designates the monetiformes metal parts of large dimensions, minted for artistic or commemorative purposes.

Medalist                     Engraver of medals

Precious metals          Metals characterized by an especially high chemical stability and, consequently, substantially stainless. Naturally, their aesthetic quality and their relative rarity are also significant. This group includes silver, gold and platinum.


Metrology                   Science of weights of currencies.

Millares (Latin miliarensis)    Imitation of silver Dirhams Almohad issued starting from 1263 by Jaques 1st of Aragon. This type of coin was also made in Pisa, Genoa, Agde and Aragon. It was primarily intended to be exported to the ports of the Almohad Empire.

Vintage                       Figure indicating the date of issuance of a currency

Mithqal                       Weight unit in the Muslim world which is equal to a gold dinar. It also means silver Moroccan Piaster (divisional currency) of 10 legal Dirhams (28.39 g) set up by Muhammad III.

Module                       Diameter of a coin or a medal after the strike. In the nineteenth century, coins were classified according to their module, small, medium, large. For Roman coins in bronze, therefore, these modules correspond to the ace, dupondius and sesterce.

Monetiforme              In form of a currency

Monetization              Introduce new bank notes into the economy. It also means "the abundance degree of monetary liquidity in the economy.

Coin collection            Coins in legal tender, but one or more of their physical characteristics (size, alloy, weight), or etching or state finish (quality test or universal coin) differ from those of common coins.

Currency of account   Concept of monetary unit that does not exist in the circulation but which is used in the accounts, the payments being made using other species.

Emergency money     Temporary fiat money issued during a crisis in order to compensate for a lack of cash.

Fiat money                  Money whose value is based on the credit of the State or of a subordinate institution, and has no relation to its intrinsic value.

Monometallism          Monetary System or coinage based on the use of a single precious metal, gold, silver, electrum or a baser metal, lead or bronze.

Mouzouna                   Divisional currency of Morocco before 1921; 500 Mouzouna is 1 Rial. Under My Rashid (1664-1672) the Silver Mouzouna weighs 930.5 g to 1.17 ‰ and worth 48 fels (link to glossary def. Fels), the value was then reduced to 24 fels (link to glossary def. Fels).

Mumini                       Currency of Almohad (1147-1269) set up by 'Abd al-Mu'min ibn' Ali. For gold, this sovereign has created a reduced weight dinar (2.35 g). For the money, he has created a square dirham of 1.50g.

Ant nose (Chinese Yibi) popular name given to the bronze Cauri of the Chu kingdom (V-III century BC.). They are small oval plates of one or two centimeters with a bulging right and a flat reveres.

Nomisma                    Money in the Greek world.

Numismatist               Person skilled in the study of coins and medals. Also, means professional Expert dealer in coins, medals and tokens.

Obol                            Currency unit and weight of ancient Greece. Currency worth half the denarius.

Octodrachm               Eight drachmas. (link to glossary def. Drachma)

Once or Oukia            Divisional unit of the pound, representing 1/12 of the Roman pound of 27.288g.

Paper money              Piece of paper (sometimes nowadays with synthetic material), printed, representing a monetary value. Paper money, trustee by definition, precludes the metal currency which was the "real" currency for a long time.

Peseta                         The currency of Spain and Equatorial Guinea.


Foot high                     Coin of standard type hit on a double thickness blank.

Punic                           Relative to the Carthaginian. Carthage’s mint is abundant; when it was struck in Sicily, it bears the name of Siculo-Punic.

Disbarred                    Said of a girded portrait of a removed crown.

Rare                            Rare currency is a currency that appears infrequently compared to other types of the same period called "common currency".

Real                            Currency of Spain and Portugal. Plural "Reals".

Overhaul                     Transformation of demonetized coins of metal to achieve the issue of the new coin.


Reverse                       Side of the coin opposed to the head.

Rouelle                       Object similar to a small wheel manufactured by the Gauls; used as payment.

Rouelles                      Object similar to a small wheel manufactured by the Gauls; used as payment.

Gold route                  During the time of the Umayyad dynasty, the road of gold of Ghana linking Fes-Sijilmassa-Nakour (small port on the Rif coast) in the Sahara.


Semesis                       Byzantine gold coins (V-IX century) worth half the nomisma.

Semis                          (In Latin "half"), Roman bronze coins worth six ounces or half as.

Sequin                         In Italian, the word "sequin" is "zecchino" (from zecca, mint). The sequin is a gold coin first issued in Venice, worth about 12 francs. This name Sequin was also given to a Turkish gold coin. The sequin word is used in conjunction with the word "Ducat".


Sestertius                    It means "two and a half" which is the original value of the ace. The Sestertius is an ancient Roman coin. It was made of silver under the Roman Republic and of bronze under the Empire

Solidus                        Roman gold coins, founded by Constantine in 310, it is cut to 1/72 of a pound (4.51 g) and was mint throughout the IV and V centuries.

Solvency (ratio)

Specimen                    Synonym of copy for a currency. For a note, it’s a model bearing this mention, printed, punched or overloaded, for foreign Issuing Institutions or big national banks for information.


Stater                          Generic name for Greek coins. Name applied to gold and silver coins.

Overstrike                   Use of a coin already mint as blank to print new types. The traces of the previous mint remain visible.

Talent                         In the Greek world, unit of account worth 6000 drachmas. (link to glossary def. Drachma).


Interest rate

Key interest rate

Tetradrachm              Four Drachmas. (link to glossary def. Drachma)

Title                             Fine precious metal proportion contained in an alloy.

Titulature                    A set of individual’s titles that may sometimes be mentioned on coins


Toghra                        Ornamental calligraphy of the signing of the Ottoman sultan with his signature.

Tranche                      The curved surface of a coin, which can be smooth, grooved or graved.

Tremissis                    Gold coins worth 1/3 of the solidus cut to 216 to the pound. The Romans mint the tremissis during the IV and V centuries.

Tridrachme                Three drachmas.


Barter                         For new goods or new goods, there was barter, that is to say, exchange. You could exchange cattle, food, or services, against other goods or services.

Keychain                     In the hammered coinage, top mobile corner, opposite to the fixed or sleeping corner, the head.

Monetary Type           Set of iconographic and epigraphic elements characterizing each side of a currency.


Uniface                       Denotes a coin, medal or a token which only one face bears an imprint.


Uqiya                          Moroccan unit weight corresponding to 4.689 g or 4 Mouzounas.

Face value                  Legal value of the coin, appearing on one side.

Legal value of a currency      The legal value of a currency is the value determined by contemporary laws of the coin in the monetary system in force at the time of the issuance of the currency.


Ferrule                        Steel crown in which the blank is placed at the time of striking: it avoids the crushing of the blank and the escape of the metal; it further draws the etching of the edge of the coin (various inscriptions).


Interbank lending market      Market booked for banks, in which they trade short-term financial assets, with maturities from one day to one year and can negotiate freely between them.




Overdraft facility

Credit facilities

Deposit facilities

Reserve currency


Exchange reserves


Commercial paper

Balance of payments



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