Bullion Terminology: Complete List of Bullion Specific Words

If you’re new to investing in bullion, you might be intimidated by all the unfamiliar words you’ve encountered in your research. It’s important to understand bullion terminology before you begin investing so you fully understand the industry. Keep in mind that some terms are used interchangeably in the bullion sphere, and others are hyper-specific to a certain type of bullion.

We’ve compiled a full list of bullion terms and their definitions for your reference. Bookmark this page to reference as you continue to invest in gold and silver!

Begin your bullion investment today.

At Cost

Buying coins or bars at cost means you are paying exactly what they’re worth, without markup from the seller. This is a great way to start your bullion investment journey.

Bearish

A term used to describe the market price of a precious metal or stock, with the belief that it will lose value based on the current market.

Bullion

Coins and bars made of precious metals that can be used as an investment or currency in the case of economic crisis. The metal retains its inherent value.

Bullish

A term used to describe the market price of a precious metal or stock, with the belief that it will be worth more in the future, making it a good investment.

Cast Bars

Precious metals bars that are created by pouring melted metal into molds. Tends to have rough edges and inconsistencies between bars. The simple process and minor cosmetic flaws make this type of bar cost less than minted bars.

Denomination

In reference to coins, the monetary value of the coin, not how much the coin is worth in terms of metal content. For example, the Gold American Eagle coin has a denomination of $5, but the coin itself is worth around $150 due to the gold content. Also called face value.

Designer

The designer of a coin created the image that appears on either the obverse or the reverse of a coin. Also referred to as a medalist.

Diameter

The length of a coin straight across from edge to edge.

Edge

The edge of a coin, sometimes referred to as the third side, is the space that goes around the coin between the obverse and reverse sides. Edges are often either plain or reeded.

Face Value

In reference to coins, the monetary value of the coin, not how much the coin is worth in terms of metal content. For example, the Gold American Eagle coin has a face value of $5, but the coin itself is worth around $150 due to the gold content. Also called denomination.

Gold

A valuable precious metal with a metallic yellowish color. Used in electronics, jewelry, and coins.

Ingot

Another term for a bar of precious metals, often in a more unrefined state.

Mint

To mold or create a coin. Also, the physical place where coins are minted (i.e., The United States Mint). Also, used to describe a coin in near perfect condition.

Minted Bars

Precious metals bars that appear nearly perfect, with smooth, straight edges and a shiny surface. Because of the higher quality and more extensive process, minted bars cost more than cast bars.

Numismatic

Collecting and studying coins.

Obverse

The front of a coin. Often the side that features a depiction of a person or their head.

Palladium

A silver-colored precious metal that is most commonly known for its use in catalytic converters in cars. Can also be used in manufacturing, jewelry, and medicine.

Plain Edge

A plain-edged coin has no pattern or texture on the edge, but is rather smooth and even.

Platinum

A rare, silvery precious metal used in catalytic converters, electronics, manufacturing, and jewelry.

Portfolio

A collection of precious metals and other investments, such as stocks and bonds, that serve as an investment for retirement or savings.

Pre-33 Gold

Gold coins minted in the United States before 1933. These coins are especially rare because of the Gold Confiscation Act of 1933, which halted gold coin production and required many Americans to turn in their gold coins to the government to boost the suffering economy. The rarity of the coins plus their historic value makes them especially valuable investments.

Precious Metal

Naturally occurring metals that have inherent value due to their utility, beauty, and rarity. Often used for investment purposes. The three most commonly invested in precious metals are gold, silver, and platinum.

Precious Metals IRA

A specialized retirement account that holds your precious metals investment. This account is the only official way to have your gold, silver, or platinum recognized as a retirement investment. The account must be managed by a custodian, and precious metals must meet specific purity standards to be included.

Proof Coins

Coins that have been struck in a certain way so that they have a polished finish. These coins are usually encased in some kind of protective covering to preserve their flawless appearance.

Purity

How much of the amount is the precious metal. Precious metals must meet certain purity standards to be included in IRAs. Most must be at least 99.95% pure.

Reeded Edge

A reeded edge has vertical grooves on the edge of the coin. This helps prevent counterfeiting.

Refinery

Where precious metals are purified and prepared for being made into coins and bars.

Reverse

The back of a coin. Often features the denomination (if applicable) and additional drawings, though not typically of a person’s head like the obverse.

Silver

A precious metal with a white-silver color. Primarily used in currency, electronics, jewelry, and silverware.

Spot Gold Price

The price that gold can be sold at in the current moment, not what it could be sold for in the future.

Thickness

The height of the coin’s edge.

Troy Ounce

How precious metals are measured. One troy ounce is equal to 28.35 grams, whereas one regular ounce is equal to 31.1 grams.

Begin your bullion investment today.