Metals Investing Glossary I-N

Glossary Sections:   A-D  |  E-H  |  I-N  |  O-R  |  S-Z




International Financial Statistics published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


The traditional definition of inflation is an increase in the money supply and available credit, which in turn increases the money supply (monetary inflation), but in modern use, inflation is used to mean higher prices (price inflation).


Any volume of metal cast into a convenient shape for stacking, storage and transportation may be referred to as an ingot. In the precious metals industry, the words ingot and bar may be used interchangeably although ingots are usually larger bars.

Intrinsic Value

The value of a coin’s metal content, as opposed to it’s face value or collector value.

Inverted Market

A situation where prices for future deliveries are less than the spot price. Also called backwardation.


Buying an asset with the intention to make money either through growth in the asset’s value which will be released on the asset’s sale or through refinancing; or which will produce income over the life of the asset beyond the asset’s purchase price and costs.

Investment company

Any company or trust using its capital to invest in other companies.



A measure of the purity of a precious metal. Pure gold is 24 karat and can vary in fineness ranging from a fineness of .9999 (also called four nines) to .990 (two nines), although .995 is the minimum fineness of Good Delivery bars.

Typically to work out the percentage of gold in an item of known Karat, divide the Karat value by 24 and multiply this by 100, so in a 9 Karat gold item, the sum would be 9/24 x 100 giving an answer of 37.5% or a fineness of .375

Kilo Bar

A bar weighing one kilogram or kg (32.1507 troy ounces). These are very popular in China and Europe.


A metric unit of measurement, separated into 1,000 grams. There are 1,000kg in a metric ton.


A popular Australian platinum coin, minted since 1987 and of .995 fineness. The platinum bullion coin is the most famous series of platinum coins of Australia and is notionally legal tender in Australia. Koalas are available in 1/20oz, 1/10oz, 1/4oz, 1/2oz, 1oz, 2oz, 10oz and 1 kg sizes with face values of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 1000 and 3000 dollars.


Very popular South African gold coin. It is minted from gold alloy that is 91.67% pure (22 karats) and is available in 1/10oz, 1/4oz, 1/2oz and 1oz sizes. In 1980 the Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the global gold coin market.



A trading term meaning 100,000, coming from the Indian word for the same.


The London Bullion Market Association acts as a coordinator for all activities conducted on the behalf of its members and participants in the London Bullion Market. It is the principal point of contact between the market and market regulators.

Legal Tender

Any coin, note or form of currency which a nation’s monetary authority declares to be universally acceptable as a medium of exchange.


The inscription on a coin.

Limit Order

An order placed by a client for a transaction to be carried out at a set price point, with the order being triggered when the market reaches that price.


The process of converting securities, assets and other property into money.

Liquidity (1)

The ability of a market to absorb a reasonable amount of buying or selling at reasonable price changes.

Liquidity (2)

A measure of item’s ability to be readily convertible into money. Smaller physical gold bars are seen to be more liquid than larger bars.

London Fix

Two daily sessions in London at which the price of gold is “fixed” or set. See Gold Fix above.


To be long of a commodity, associated futures or options contract is to be a buyer and holder of that investment (for the longer term). The opposite is short.

Long-term Contract

One or more deliveries set to happen after a year following the contract execution.


The slightly frosty appearance of a coin caused by the way light interacts with the minted surface, usually apparent on an uncirculated coin.


Maple Leafs

Canadian Gold Maple Leafs are the official bullion gold coin of Canada, being produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. Canadian Gold Maples are one of the purest gold regular-issue coins available, having a minimum gold fineness of .9999, with some special issues being .99999 fine (five nines), meaning only 0.001% of the metal is non-gold. Gold used in Maples are from Canadian mines. They are available in 1/25, 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2 and 1oz sizes and are legal tender with face values of $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50. Maples are also available in silver palladium and platinum metals.

Margin (1)

The deposit required to be put up prior to opening a futures, forward or option contract.

Margin (initial)

The amount of money deposited per contract at the start of the trade.

Margin (maintenance)

A sum of money that needs to be maintained on deposit throughout the life of the trade.

Margin call

Money that is called for from the client during the life of any transaction. The money is used to cover exposure resulting from an adverse price movement – or from an endemic increase in margins by the exchange. There is a film of the same name dramatizing the beginnings of the 2007 financial crisis.

Mark to Market

The value of an open position at current price levels.

Market Maker

A dealer who makes a market, that is who quotes bid and offer prices to counter-parties and will deal at those prices.

Market Value

The price at which an investment, ie gold coin or bullion item trades. In the case of ordinary bullion this will be spot price plus a small dealer’s premium.


A round piece of metal which may look like a coin but is not an official coin of the realm. May also be referred to simply as rounds. Rounds/medallions can be issued by government or private mints and may be valued at intrinsic metal weight, or with an additional collector value.

Mexican 50 Peso

A popular gold coin originally issued in 1921 celebrating the 100th anniversary of Mexico’s independence, most Mexican 50 Pesos circulating in the regular (non numismatic) bullion coin market are restrikes, being minted from 1943 onward. 50 Peso’s are 1.2057 troy ounces with a fineness of .900

Metric Ton

1,000 kilograms (kg) or 32,151 troy ounces.

Mint Mark

A letter or symbol stamped on a coin to identify the minting facility where it was struck. May also be called a Makers mark, or Responsibility mark.

Mint State

Describes a coin in uncirculated condition. Shortened to MS and appended with numbers (see Sheldon Scale) to quantify degrees of quality, being MS-60 (Mint State or completely un-circulated condition), going through MS-61, MS-62, MS-63, MS-64, MS-65, MS-66, MS-67, MS-68, and MS-69, up to MS-70 (Mint State – perfect). Coins showing wear are graded below MS-60 and are graded from AU (About Uncirculated) down to G (Good). Below G, AG(Almost Good) leads down to BS (Basal State) – the worst condition a coin can possibly be in.

Modern Issues

Current and recent coins, either struck for circulation or for sale to investors and collectors.


Naked Short

A seller of a contract who doesn’t have the assets or security to back his position.

New York Futures Exchange (NYFE)

A subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange devoted to the trading of futures and options on the NYSE composite index.

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

The largest organized securities market in the U.S. where prices are determined (usually) by supply and demand.


Acronym for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America, one of the two principal coin grading services in the U.S.


A .9995 fine platinum bullion coin issued by the Isle of Man between 1983 to 1989. Nobles are legal tender, but do not have a value associated with any currency. Available in 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2 and 1oz weights.

Noble Metal

Metals that are highly resistant to oxidation and corrosion, with ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, silver, osmium, iridium, platinum, and gold most commonly being considered Noble metals.


A nugget can either be a naturally occurring piece of native gold or a gold bullion coin minted by Australia. The coins have been minted in denominations of 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, 1 oz, 2 oz, 10 oz, and 1 kg of 24 carat gold and carry legal tender status in Australia. They are one of few legal tender bullion gold coins to change their design yearly.

Numismatic coins

Coins whose prices depend more on their collector value based on rarity, condition, dates, and mint marks than on their intrinsic value, that is their precious metal content.


A student or collector of coins and currency.


The New York Mercantile Exchange, a future exchange where platinum and palladium are traded. Now merged with COMEX.

NYSE Composite Index

The composite index covering price movements of all common stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange.