Standard Attribution Nomenclature includes abbreviations for categorization and labeling purposes. It is intended to be a convention to be used in our modern era, superseding labeling from a single-author and allow for extension and further elaboration in the future. It is not intended to be a cryptic label identifying every detail of the coin, but rather a simple and unique identifier in a world of coins that can lead you to the information and cross-references required to properly identify the design, coin, or variety.
The information below is a shortened version of SAN information. You can learn the details of SAN by taking an online course on this site. Navigating Numislabs is a course available when you become a member at any level (even Free) and contains all the information you need to know to successfully navigate all SAN listings.
[Nation]-[Denomination]-[Date][Mintmark]-[SeriesShort]-[DesignDisambiguation]-[Anomaly]-[Unique Identification Number]-[Die Stage]-[Grade]
Applies to ANY specific coin or variety:
A full SAN ID allows for specific reference down to unique listing, die stage, and grade if required.
Take note the absence of year. Designs can be used for a partial year, entire year, or multi-year. Each Coin in the SAN will be linked to the Design Varieties that exist for the coin/year.
Applies to Design Varieties:
|Design Variety Obverse
|Design Variety Reverse
|Date Punch Style
SND is utilized for recording universal names for normal design coins in the database, think Mint manifest. SND aggregates a date/mint specific denomination, mintmark, series, set of designs, strike/finish, metal, and mintage. SND in effect reinvents zero.
When attributing a variety or inspecting a coin, having an example of the normal coin is an important factor in determining what is or isn’t different among the coins under inspection.
|Half Dollar with no mintmark
|Half Dollar with S mintmark, UNCirculated, Silver Clad
|Half Dollar with S mintmark, UNCirculated, Enhanced Finish, Silver
|One Cent with S mintmark, VDB initials
|One cent with a business strike and large date
Alan Herbert, known for his “Official: Price Guide to Mint Errors” book, adopted and enhanced the PDS System, a system for categorization and classification of minting varieties based on Planchet, Die, and Strike. We consider Mr. Herbert to be a hero in this field of study and publishing, and we utilize the PDS system, yet we stray from his path and substitute “minting variety” with “anomaly” in the SAN database. Anomalies are different in some way from the normal design. The more general term anomaly is preferred over variety or error because of the confusion, debate, and consternation it has caused within the hobby. We believe that having a single term to associate “different from” the normal design will rectify this issue. The Variety SAN database is full of listings of instances of coins showing one or more anomalies. A variety identified as SDDO-001 is an instance of a coin showing the hub doubling anomaly on the obverse side of a coin, an anomaly in the die(D) area, classified in the PDS System.
Both error and variety are worn-out terms that have areas of ambiguity and definitions that are contradictory. An error has typically been identified as a one-of-a-kind, but there are many types of errors that may show on more than one coin. For example, examine some progressing errors like die cracks, spike heads, cracked skulls, connectors, die breaks, or cuds, where the error can be specifically identified and tied to a specific die due to the existence of many examples with the same error and same markers elsewhere on the coin, and if you have enough examples, a progression of the error can be identified and collected. A variety has often been used to describe hub doubling, repunched mintmarks, over mintmarks, repunched dates, etc. But then it comes down to rarity, collectibility, and value when it comes to calling it a variety? What about fad like varieties found on coins minted using an abraded die or struck through grease, creating such vernacular as “Three Legged Buffalo” Nickel or “In God We Rust” Quarters? What about master die or working hub doubling? What about too minor to list hub doubling or too minor to list split serif repunched mint marks? What about mint employee shenanigans? Dare we mention Machine Doubling? Again, ambiguity and contradiction flourish, and to a newcomer to the hobby, this can be very confusing.
At NumisLabs, we believe that anomaly can represent all variations that may come from the minting process, even damage done by negligence during the process, and covers pre-production, production, and post-production issues that occur within the boundaries of mint supervision. This allows us to teach the difference between valuable anomalies and worthless anomalies, by providing information, causes, explanation, and images of all anomalies we come across so students of the hobby can grow quickly to understand what it is they have, what they may want to seek or collect, and quickly determine whether they are looking at something valuable or worthless.
|Doubled Die Obverse
|S Mintmark Uncirculated Silver Clad Doubled Die Obverse
|Proof Master Die Doubling Reverse