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It takes a special metal to be called noble

Coin Clinic's Answerman takes on your questions. Can you list all the so-called noble metals?

Supposedly there are eight "noble" metals, but my buddies are arguing about some of the less well known. Could you please list them?

Besides gold, platinum and silver, the other five are members of the platinum group ? palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. The noble metals are another way of designating those metals that are considered to be bullion, such as gold, silver and more recently platinum. The noble metals are contrasted with the base metals, such as lead, copper, tin, zinc or iron.

What is meant by a DMPL coin?

DMPL is the abbreviation for Deep Mirror Proof-Like, or a coin with a mirror-like field surface that exhibits some, but not all, of the characteristics of a true proof coin.

Why are there so few foreign repunched mintmarks?

Most countries put the mintmark on the hub. This eliminates problems with hand punching dies, as was done on U.S. coins up until 1990-1991. You can still find hub-doubled mintmarks on both foreign and U.S. coins.

In price charts I see IA and IB. What do they mean?

Included Above and Included Below. While we are sometimes accused by irate readers of failing to include figures, the real reason is that there are no official figures available for a given date or mint. The same is true for many varieties, so the price guide has to lump two or more listings together to make any sense at all.

Three more abbreviations that I see frequently are AR and AV for silver and gold, and AE for bronze. Where did they come from?

The abbreviations are actually symbols that have changed over the years, so follow closely. The root is Argentum for silver and Aurum for gold. The correct symbols are Ag and Au. AE stands for aes, or bronze. AV is the ancient symbol for gold, which is still used in several European countries. It came out as AV because the alphabet of that era didn?t contain a U.

What is meant by a dealer's ad offering "unsearched coins?" How can it be unsearched if the dealer guarantees that it contains a specific key coin, as is typically done?

Dealers usually don't have the time to go through very many coins, so to fulfill their promise, they just open the top of the bag and dump the key coin in. This practice takes no time at all. It really has no bearing on the other coins in the bag.

Address questions toCoin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 39-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent