Look at all the different names that coins go by!

When I picked up my first copy of the Guide Book of United States Coins Book by Richard S. Yeoman (this is also called the “red book”), I noticed that there were tons of names and nicknames that coins go by.

It really made my head spin—I had to stop and figure out what was what.  I realized that coins often get nicknames that are more popular than their real name.  Here’s some of the nicknames that you will hear:

Half eagle—this is another name for a United States $5 gold coin.

Eagle—this is a nickname for gold $10 coins that were made up until 1932.  The reason for the nickname is that the coin featured an eagle design on the back.

Trime—this is a nickname for the US three cent coin.  The US mint made this coin in the 1800s.

Double dime—this is a nickname for the 20-cent coin made by the United States mint during the mid-late 1800’s.

Iron dollar—this is a nickname for the US silver dollar from the 1800’s.  The phrase was primarily used in the northeastern portion of the United States, and this phrase was used by people who disliked carrying silver dollars due to their heavy weight.

Mercury dime—this nickname was for the US 10 cent piece that was made between 1916 and 1945.  Even though it was called the Winged Liberty Head dime at the beginning, the name “mercury” dime quickly caught on with the public when it was compared to the Roman god Mercury.

This is just some of the nicknames that you will hear.  Which ones have you heard?


What are some of the different types of plates that you will run across?

One of the first auctions that I attended, I found out that there are different types of plates when it comes to a set of dishes.  Here are some of the more popular ones that you will run across:

Dinner Plates—they are flat and usually round (there are other shapes like square out there).  Dinner plates range in size from 9 ¾ inches to 11 inches in diameter.

Salad Plate—these are also known as a side plate.  They are flat and usually round and range in size from 7 ¾ inches to 8 ¾ inches in diameter.

Bread & Butter Plate—these are also known as a dessert plate or even a cake plate.  Like salad plate, this type of plate is flat and usually round.  They range in size from 6 inches to 7 ¾ inches in diameter.

Luncheon Plate—they are often confused with the dinner or salad plates.  Luncheon plates are flat and usually round, ranges from 9” to 9 3/4” in diameter.

This is only a sample of all the different types of plates that you will run across.  What other types of plates have you seen?

Here’s some different type of dealers that you will find

There are several types of dealers that you will find, and some of the different types could be great for you to do if you are just getting started with antiques and collectibles.

Weekend dealers—these are dealers who shop at yard sales, garage sales, auctions and even estate sales on Fridays and Saturdays and then sell at flea markets on Sundays.  You can also find them in an antique mall occasionally, and this type of dealer is also called a “weekender”.

Vest pocket dealer—this is someone who buys and sells in coins but does not have a coin shop or store.  They also do not set up at coin shows, and they are often a part time coin dealer.  This type of dealer may not do a large volume of business, and they carry their coins that they are going to sell in their pockets.  Many coin dealers got their starts as vest pocket dealers.

Greeddobo—(greed-dough-bough) this is a term that is used by southern coin dealers for someone who is so caught up in making profits that they do stupid things or bad ideas to make money.  This term can be applied to just about any type of dealer who does this.

Wholesaler—this is a dealer who sells goods in large quantities at low prices to be sold off by others.

This is just a few of the different types out there.  What kinds of dealers have you run across?

Some of the terminology you hear about cleaning coins

When I first started to collect coins, I found several articles talking about cleaning coins.  I found out that there was a special vocabulary when it comes to this area.  Here’s some of the words that you will run across quite a bit:

Slider—this is a term meaning the coin simulates a higher grade than it really is. Often, a slider has been cleaned, treated, or whizzed to give it the appearance of being uncirculated or even Mint State.  This type of coin is worth less than the coin that has not been cleaned.

Whizzed—this is a coin that has been buffed or polished to give it the appearance of the luster found on a mint coin.  More often than not, whizzing is done on a slightly lower-grade coin to try to sell the coin at a higher grade than it really is.  This is sometimes done by using a fine brush attachment on a high-speed drill.  Doing this may hurt the value of a coin rather than help it.  This is because it causes wear to the surface of the coin.  See buffing.

Brushed—this is a coin that has been brushed with a wire brush or some other material.  The surface will show fine lines, or hairline scratches from the cleaning.

Buffing—this is a polishing of a coin with an abrasive that leaves a finish that attempts to counterfeit mint luster.  See whizzed.

Artificial toning—this is when you change the color or surface tone of a coin by applying chemicals, heat, or treating a coin with something.  This is done to make the coin appear natural or unusual.  It’s also done to cover up signs that the coin has been cleaned.

This is just a small list of what you will run across when it deals with cleaned coins.  What have you heard?

Different names of furniture that you might run across

There are many different names of a certain furniture item (or a certain part of that piece of furniture) that you will run across.  There will be times that it will literally make your head spin on what the word could mean.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that furniture definitely has its own vocabulary.  This is especially true when you are dealing with items from overseas.  There are many places in Europe that have made furniture, so you will run across words that are from another language.

You never know what you may run across, and here are some of the words that you may scratch your head over:

Pietre Dure—this is decorative work that uses inlaid, semi-precious stones to depict scenes.  These scenes are geometric patterns, floral motifs, farm scenes, and many more.  More often than not, you will see this on a table top.

Lit de repos—this is a day-bed.

Gueridon—this is a small, round table. It was made to support a candlestick or even a candelabrum.  It could almost get away as being called a side table.

Gesso—this is made from a composition material, it’s often made with chalk and parchment.  It’s made in a size that is commonly applied to furniture, picture frames and even mirrors.  This is a base upon which gilding (or even silvering) was applied to.

Coquille—this is a seashell or scallop shape.  The shape will often be seen on the top of a table or chair leg.

This is just a small sample of the vocabulary words that you might hear.  What have you heard?

What are some of the vintage serving pieces that I may not find on today’s table?

Over the years, there are new types of serving dishes that are introduced, and then there are times when a certain piece from a dinner set for the table that may fall out of favor.  What are some of the pieces that have fallen out of favor over the years that may not be on the table of today?

Cheese dish—this is a covered dish meant to store and serve a whole piece of cheese.  The bottom of this piece is a little larger than a butter dish, and you may see a small cutting board in the place of this today.

Cream soup dish—this is a two-handled bowl that comes with its own saucer and is meant to serve bouillon, a soup or even consommé (a clear soup made from a rich stock).  This type of dish could be confused with a sugar dish without the lid.

Aspic servers–these are used to serve aspic, which is a clear jelly that is made from broth. Generally, aspic is used to accent the serving of meat, and it is a lot like cranberry sauce. The aspic server has a curved and sharp end for the cutting and serving of aspic.

This is only a small sampling of what you can find.  What have you run across?

Look at all the assorted colors that glass has been produced with!

When you look at the area of glassware, you will see many different colors and finishes that the glass was made with.  There are as many distinct color combinations as there are manufacturing techniques.  Here’s a few of them that you will most likely run across:

Cased Glass—this is glass of one color that has been covered with one or more layers of assorted colors. The outer layers are then acid-etched, carved, cut, or even engraved to produce a design.  This design will stand out from the background, and will have a kind of raised motif when done. The first cameo glasses were made by the Romans in ancient times, and the genre was revived in England and America (to a lesser amount) in the late 19th century.

Flashed Glass—this is glass that has one color with a very thin applied color on the outside (like crystal glass that has a cranberry color applied to it).  This technique is accomplished by applying a chemical compound to the glass and then re-firing the piece to bring out the desired color.  Flashed glass is often used for etched glass (the flashing will be applied after the etching is completed).

Gilding—this is the process of decorating glass using gold leaf, gold paint, or even gold dust. There are examples that have the gilding applied with mercury (it’s called Mercury Gilding.  It’s rarely done today due to its toxicity).  The gilding is then usually attached to the glass by heat.

Peachblow—this is a type of Art Glass made by quite a few American factories in the late 1800’s.  Most Peachblow glass has a coloring that shaded from an opaque cream to pink (or even red), sometimes even over an opaque white.  There was a similar glass that was made in England (it was by Thomas Webb & Sons and even Stevens & Williams).

This is only a small sampling of what has been made.  What kinds of colored glass have you run across?

Terms to help new collectors of pottery

When I started to buy and sell pottery, there were some terms that I picked up pretty fast that I use quite often.  These terms are pretty common and help describe the manufacturing process of the piece.  Here’s some of the terms:

Pinholes—these are faults in the surface of a ceramic body (or even the glaze) that resemble pin pricks.  These are not very big at all, and there is usually no other damage around them.  Air bubbles are the most common culprit that causes these.

Bloating—this is the permanent swelling of a ceramic piece during the firing in a kiln.  It’s caused by the expansion of gases like air not being able to escape out of the piece.

Iron oxide—this is a common oxide in glazes and some clays that generally gives the item a reddish color.

Biscuit pottery—this is also called Bisque pottery.  This is pottery that has been fired, but no glaze has been applied to the piece.

This is only a few of the terms out there.  What have you heard?

Furniture terms that could make you think they mean something else

Like pretty much every area in the vintage and collectible world, furniture has its own vocabulary.  There are even words and phrases out there that would make you think they mean something completely different.  Here’s a few of them:

Dovetail—this is a term in wood working that’s used to designate a method of joinery. This is used a lot to join corners of drawers and cabinets.  It’s a series of cuts to make a tenon or tongue that looks the shape of a dove’s tail that interlocks with alternating similar cuts piece of wood.

Vitrine—this is a French term for display or china cabinet.  This type of cabinet has large sections made out of glass so that you can show off the items stored inside.

Escutcheon—this is an ornament plate that surrounds a keyhole on a piece of furniture or a door.  These plates come in a wide variety of motifs.

This is only a tiny amount of what is out there.  What have you heard?

There are many different types of tables to consider decorating with

Dinner tables, coffee tables and even side tables can be seen in pretty much every house nowadays.  Did you know there are many, many different types of tables that you can decorate your house or apartment with?  Here’s a few for you to consider:

Flip-top table—This is a table that has two leaves, and the leaves are one on top of the other.

Pie-crust table—This is a small, round table having a top with its edge carved or molded in scallops. This type of table is common in 18th-century English furniture.

Gate-leg table—A gate-leg table is a type of table that was first introduced in England in the 16th century. The table top has a fixed section and one or two hinged leaves on the sides.  This type of table also has two legs that swing out to hold the leaves up.  When the leaves are not in use, the legs fold in and the leaves fold down below the fixed section and hang vertically.

This is just a small sampling of what’s out there.  What kinds of tables have you run across or have used?