Contact between coins and various surfaces or objects, including other coins, can push metal out of place and leave a permanent disfigurement on the subject coin. This may happen routinely in the normal course of circulation, or it may be the deliberate result of abuse with an instrument of some kind. The following terms describe the various forms of mechanical damage to which coins are subject:
BENT coins are simply that — they show a non-mint-made curvature when viewed on end.
CHOPMARKED coins have had Asian characters punched into them as assurances of their value by the merchants who handled them many years ago. This was a common practice with silver coins, particularly trade dollars, circulating in Southeast Asia.
COUNTERMARKED coins have had a figure or character punched into them by some non-official agent, such as a merchant or jeweler. Lacking any official sanction, these punchings are considered just damage.
DAMAGED is a catchall term used when the coin displays any form of destructive contact that may not be defined more precisely. This may be narrowed down a bit by specifying OBV DAMAGE, REV DAMAGE, RIM DAMAGE or EDGE DAMAGE.
GRAFFITI describes a coin into which initials or some other writing has been scratched or carved. This may be narrowed down to read OBV GRAFFITI or REV GRAFFITI.
IMPAIRED is used to describe Proof coins that have received light circulation or mishandling, but whose Proof surfaces remain detectable, even if marred or worn.
MOUNTED refers to some sort of jewelry attachment still present with the coin.
MUTILATED coins display an extreme form of damage, whether intentional or accidental.
SCRATCHES of a very minor nature may permit a coin to be certified, but use of this term in Details Grading indicates that the damage is more severe.
SOLDERED describes a coin that has been used as an item of jewelry and still displays evidence of this traditional bonding agent. Solder may or may not be removable with NCS conservation.
WHEEL MARKS occur when a coin-counting machine has left a shallow indentation on the coin, resulting in a highly polished spot. This may be narrowed down to specify OBV WHEELMARK or REV WHEELMARK.
After they leave the mint, coins can be inadvertently damaged in a number of ways. This is an example of a scratched coin.