Currency Wiki

The United States Mint[1] defines a coin as:

flat piece of metal issued by the government as money

PCGS[2] uses the definition:

Metal formed into a disk of standardized weight and stamped with a standard design to enable it to circulate as money authorized by a government body.

The use of "metal" in the definitions is overly restrictive—for example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo issued a wooden 5 Franc coin in 2005 that is legal tender.

The key points to the definition of a coin are:

  • A hard (non flexible)
  • government[3] issued or approved item
  • for use as general currency (not limited use such as a bus token)
  • in a country, region, or area.

Currency issued by local governments are usually considered tokens (such as German notgeld) rather than coins, unless granted a mint right.

  1. Coin Term Glossary
  2. Lingo for "C"
  3. Government: An organization with authority over a region. An insurrection may be a de facto government for a region.