Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The anatomy of a coin

Sacagawea Dollar with info
The Anatomy of a Coin

 
obverse:
The front ("heads") side of a coin.  Generally, the side with the date and principal design.

reverse:
The back ("tails") side of a coin.
 
edge:
The outer border of a coin, which is the third side, can have plain, reeded, lettered, or decorated edges. Do not confuse the "rim" with the edge. Rims are features of the obverse and reverse of a coin.

Plain Edge Reeded Edge
Lettered Edge Decorated Edge
rim:
The raised border around the obverse and reverse that helps protect the coin's design from wear.
 
legend:
The main inscription or lettering on a coin.
 
mint mark:
A small letter or symbol on a coin used to identify where a coin was made.  Current United States mint marks are P (Philadelphia), D (Denver), S (San Francisco), and W (West Point).
 
relief:
The part of a coin's design that is raised above the surface.
 
field:
The flat portion of a coin's surface not used for design or inscription.

*For a more in-depth treatment of this subject, please consider joining my e-mail list. I am currently putting together the first e-book, How Coins Are Made.

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