14 precious metal terms all bullion coin buyers should know

Aug 5, 2021

precious metal

Bullion Coins 

legal tender issues struck from precious metal designed to be kept as a store of value or an investment (opposed to circulating coinage used day-to-day or proof collectables)

Junk Silver

Older coins that derive most of their value from their silver content

Troy Ounce (oz t)

Traditional unit of measure used for precious metals where 1 troy ounce = 1.097 avoirdupois ounce (or 31.103g)

Fineness / Purity

The amount (by weight) of pure gold or silver in the coin eg 9999 parts per thousand = 99.99 per cent pure

Gross Weight

The coin’s total weight as registered by a scale

Fine Weight

The coin’s gross weight multiplied by its percentage purity

Spot Price

The price at which physical gold or silver of specific fineness is traded at a particular place and time


The amount charged by the coin manufacturer over and above the spot price of metal to cover the cost of fabrication and other overheads

Face Value 

The nominal or symbolic value printed on the face of a bullion coin

Intrinsic Value 

The value of the coin’s precious metal content (aka Melt Value). Calculation: gross weight x purity x metal spot price

Numismatic Value

The amount over the intrinsic value the market is prepared to pay for rarity or some other factor that makes the coin collectable

Ask Price

The price of metal plus the coin premium – in other words the selling price

Bid Price 

The price at which a mint or gold dealer will buy-back a bullion coin   


The difference between the selling price (Ask) and the buy-back price (Bid) – useful for determining how much the coin must increase in value before a profit can be realised