The obverse is The obverse and reverse are the sides of the coin
The obverse is The obverse and reverse are the sides of the coin

Here, it would seem, what could be difficult in a small ordinary coin? Two planes that show different information. One of them is the obverse, and the other is the reverse. But distinguishing these sides is not so easy.

Coin and its “body parts”

The coin you carry in your pocket "for good luck" may not be as simple as it seems. Take it out and take a closer look! Numismatists distinguish as many as 6 structural parts of the coin. This is a edge, edge, rim, edging, as well as the obverse and reverse of the coin.

A edge is nothing but the edge of a coin. It can be decorated or unformed, it all depends on the technology of making the coin. The edge can be of several types: ribbed, mesh, patterned or text. What is the band for? First of all, in order to protect the coin from fakes. An edge inscription is often applied to the edge of a coin.

the obverse of the coin is

The edge is called the elevated part of the coin, which borders it around the circumference. But the side is an integral part of the edge in the form of a raised edge of the coin. It protects the coin from premature wear. Although the side may be missing. But inin some countries it has a special role to inform blind people about the denomination.

Meaning of the word "obverse" and "reverse"

And now let's move on to the main components of any coin - this is the obverse and reverse.

The obverse of a coin is, literally, “facing”, “facial”. The word comes from the Latin "adversus".

Overse is a numismatic term for the face of a coin, which (usually) bears the state coat of arms or a portrait of a monarch or government ruler.

obverse is

Reverse in the same Latin - "reversus", which means "reverse". In Russian, this word is first found in the annals of 1710. Reverse is a numismatic term that refers to the opposite side of a coin or medal.

The obverse is…

It may seem surprising, but in the special numismatic literature there is no consensus on how to distinguish the sides of coins. There are also no clear criteria by which it would be possible to determine the front side of the coin - the obverse. This is, in essence, the main side in any coin.

However, most of the numismatic catalogs offer a list of signs by which the obverse is determined. Here they are:

  • image of a portrait of a famous person (king, monarch, president, etc.);
  • state coat of arms or emblem;
  • name of the country, territory;
  • name of the owner of the coin regalia or issuing bank.

However, it happens that the coat of arms is applied on both sidescoins. How, then, to determine where the coin has an obverse? This can be done as follows: study both coats of arms and take the obverse of the side on which the coat of arms of a higher rank is depicted.

the meaning of the word obverse

If the coin does not have any of the above signs, then the obverse should be considered the side opposite to the side with the denomination of the coin.

Of course, the easiest way is to define the reverse first. As a rule (with very rare exceptions), the denomination (value) of coins is applied to it.

Heads or tails?

It is important to note that when a coin is depicted in a photograph or drawing, it is customary to place its obverse first (that is, on the left side), and then the reverse of the coin (that is, on the right). This rule is worth remembering, as it is generally accepted for all images of coin money without exception.

In the monarchical countries of Western Europe, it was customary to depict the head of the monarch, the king, on all coins. This tradition was borrowed from the era of Ancient Rome, where they did exactly the same. And almost always the face of the monarch was depicted on the front side of the coin (that is, on the obverse).

obverse and reverse of the coin

The tradition of depicting the faces of rulers on coins was founded during the reign of Alexander the Great. And even after his death, his portraits continued to be minted on coins. After Alexander conquered Egypt, he decided to depict himself on the obverse side of the coins as a god and a king. In this way, he wanted to win the favor of the Egyptians, who revered their previouspharaohs for the gods.

The following monarchs, who ruled after Alexander the Great, kept this tradition alive. Their heads were also applied to the obverse of all coins.

So we figured out what "parts of the body" each coin has. As you can see, it is not so easy to distinguish where the obverse is and where the reverse is. A lot of controversy and discussion arises on this issue among numismatists. However, for an ordinary person, the rules given in this article will be quite enough to determine the sides of the coin.

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