Sunday, February 20, 2011

Basics of Coin Collecting - Which side is front?

There is always a confusion as to which side of coin is the front and which is the back - or which is head and which is tail. Well in coin collecting no jargon as front/back or head /tail is used. Instead the words Obverse and Reverse are used.

Obverse (or for layman a head) is the "front" of the coin. And obviously the Reverse is the opposite side or the famous tail.

For U.S. coins, whichever side has the date on it is generally considered the obverse (barring a few exceptions). For other coins, the rule followed by the Krause Standard Catalog Of World Coins is that for countries with royalty, the bust is the obverse. For republics and other non-royally ruled countries, the side with the name of the country is the obverse, so neither the date nor the denomination is entered into it. But once again there may be variations.

The photo of the coins above is a coin from Pakistan, minted in 1950. In this One Anna coin, the Obverse (or Head or Front) is the photo of coin on the left showing the star and crescent of Pakistan's flag and denomination written both in Urdu and English. The photo on the right is the Reverse (Tail or Back) of the coin, showing its date of minting, i.e. 1950, and the issuance authority written both in English and Urdu. These coins were supreceded by the Paisa coins upon conversion to metric system in 1960.

Read more about the Journey of Pakistani Currency (Pakistanpaedia)


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