Letter C


The abbreviation for the Canadian Dollar


The right to buy a commodity at a future time and at a specified price. The buyer is not obligated to complete the purchase.


A proof, or proof-like coin with exceptional contrast between the fields and the devices. On a cameo coin, the fields are mirror-like, while the devices give a frosty appearance.

Canadian Maple Leaf (Gold or Silver)

These are bullion coins struck by the Royal Canadian Mint. Since its release in 1979, the 1 oz. Gold Maple Leaf has undergone a few changes by the Royal Canadian Mint, to help confirm the authenticity of the gold coins while preserving the iconic design. The most recent of these was the replacement of the shiny, smooth background with a radial-line finish that diffracts light. The 1 oz. Gold Maple Leaf remains one of the most popular bullion coins because of its beauty, purity and iconic design. Created by Walter Ott, the reverse features a stylized maple leaf, the Canadian national symbol, along with the coin’s weight and purity. The front depicts a side profile of Queen Elizabeth II along with the year of issue.

Capital Gain/Loss

The profit or loss realized from the sale of a coin or other capital asset.


A two-piece plastic container that encapsulates and snaps together to protect coins while in storage.


This is a measurement of weight used primarily for gems. A carat is equal to about 3.086 grains or 0.2 grams. The word “karat” however, refers to the fineness of gold.

Carbon Spot

A dark discoloration on the surface of a coin. It is possible that this discoloration is caused by a planchet imperfection prior to striking, or in another case, it is considered to be caused by improper storage of the coins. Regardless of the cause, carbon spots are difficult, if not impossible, to remove without leaving pits in the coin’s surface. If they are large enough, carbon spots can significantly lower the grade and value of a coin. Reference is usually made to copper coins.

Carrying Charge

The costs of storing a physical commodity.


Usually refers to paper currency in the United States, but may also refer to any other locally defined paper currency.

Cash Commodity

The physical commodity that supports a futures contract.

Cash Market

When payment and delivery have to be made within two business days of the transaction date.

Cashier’s Check

Check drawn by a bank with its own funds and signed by its representative.


Slang for the silver dollar.


U.S. copper coin (1793-present). One-hundredth of a dollar. First coin struck under the authority of the U.S. government. See Indian Head cent, Large cent, Lincoln cent.


See Mexican Peso.

Central Bank

Organization responsible for setting the nation’s fiscal policy and managing interest rates and money supply.

Central Device

Design found on the obverse and reverse sides of a coin.


Abbreviation for certified, meaning rated by a third-party grading service.

Certified Coins

These are coins that are submitted for slabbing and grading to an independent grading service such as NGC and PCGS. These services verify quality, authenticity and preservation state.


This is a dealer who changes his position on an investment to encourage an investor to enter into a transaction.

Chinese Lunar Calendar

Produced annually, mints create coins inspired by the ancient Chinese Lunar calendar. These start with the Rat and are followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. This means each animal returns to the cycle once every 12 years.

Chinese Panda (Gold or Silver)

China began striking gold bullion coins in 1982 and Silver Pandas in 1983. The Pandas are popular for featuring a different panda portrait almost every year and because of their typically low mintage. Each of these coins is individually sealed at the China Mint.

Chop Mark

Chop marks are Chinese characters that are stamped on coins to verify the weight, authenticity and metal content of coins.

Choice About Uncirculated

The barest evidence of light wear on only the highest points of the design; most mint luster still remains.

Choice Extremely Fine

Light overall wear shows on highest points of coin. Design details are very sharp and some mint luster is evident.

Choice Uncirculated

An above average uncirculated coin which may be brilliant or lightly toned and has very few contact marks on the surface or rim.

Choice Very Fine

Light, even wear on the coin surface and highest parts of the design; lettering and major features are sharp.


A coin passed from hand to hand in commerce and, therefore, showing signs of wear. A used coin. There are various degrees of wear. See specific grading definitions.


U.S. coinage issued since 1965. Made of cupronickel.

Clad Marks

Impressions on a die, from another die, caused when the two dies impact without a planchet between them.

Clash Dies

Extraneous design detail that often appears on a die as a result of two dies coming together without a planchet between them during the minting process. Coins struck from such dies are said to be struck from clashed dies, or to have die clashes or clash marks. See Die, Die scratches.


When a coin has been cleaned with baking soda or other mild abrasives, it may take on a slightly washed out look, or have patches of hairline scratches


The end of a trading session.


Abbreviation for Certificate of Authenticity.


A piece of metal intended for use as legal tender and stamped with marks or inscriptions which show that it was issued by an authority that guarantees its weight and purity. Most often a government entity.

Coin Gold

The alloy used to make gold coins. This alloy may differ from country to country or in different coins minted in the same country.

Coin Grading

The process of evaluating the quality and condition of a coin using defined parameters within acceptable standards.

Coin of The Realm

Legal tender coins issued by a government and are intended for general circulation.


Stamped metal of a known weight and fineness, issued specifically for commerce.

Coin Silver

The alloy used to make silver coins. When used as a designation on silver items in the United States, it must be .900 fine, with the deviations allowed by the U.S. Stamping Act.

Coin World

The largest weekly coin publication and by far the most influential coin newspaper or magazine. Published by Amos Press, PO Box 150, Sidney Ohio, 45365

Collector coins

These are coins produced that are not issued for general circulation. Typically issued at a slight premium specifically for collectors.


Coins made for circulation in or by the various colonies before the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.


A major commodities futures exchange where gold and silver are traded. Comex is a division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Commemoratives (U.S.)

Coins that are issued by the U.S. government to celebrate important events in our history. Commemoratives are very popular with collectors. These are legal tender coins or medallions and are usually minted in gold or silver.


The fee charged by a broker for the execution of an order.


A valuable or useful item bought and sold and used to generate funds.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission creates and implements policies that protect market users from fraud and other abuses and works to provide protections for customer funds.

Commodity Pool

Most commonly a limited partnership venture where investors contribute to a pool of funds for the purpose of buying commodities.

Common Date

Coins with dates that are easy to acquire, usually because they have high mintages.

Comptroller of the Currency

The official of the U.S. Department of the Treasury who regulates national banks and administers the issuance and redemption of Federal Reserve Notes (U.S. dollars).


The diagnostic features that describe a coin’s state of preservation.

Contango Market

The opposite of backwardation. A futures market when prices are higher in the succeeding delivery months than they are at the nearest delivery month.

Conservation Grade

A grade which give the “benefit of the doubt” to the purchaser, rather than the seller.


A forgery. See Reproduction


A small crown or tiara. Often worn by Liberty in some early American coins.


A correction represents a change in the price of something after it has had sustained movement in the opposite direction.


Damage which occurs on the surface of some coins, generally due to improper storage. Corrosion is caused when a chemical reaction, such as rust, actually eats into the metal.


A forgery intended to deceive.


To offset a short futures or options position.


The symbol for copper


Monetary units that are in common use. Often refers to paper money, particularly in the U.S.

Current Delivery Month

The period during which a futures contract becomes available during the current month or the month closest to scheduled delivery.