World of Coins

Research and reference => Numismatics => Topic started by: chrisild on July 11, 2008, 04:20:09 PM

Title: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on July 11, 2008, 04:20:09 PM
I am currently trying to come up with the "perfect" description for the Irish reverse coins using correct terminology.
Now I'm a little confused. :) The side with the harp is usually the obverse. So the reverse would be the "map side" (when referring to circulation and commemorative coins) or the side that shows the occasion (when referring to collector coins) ...

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: blackev on July 11, 2008, 04:52:23 PM
Quote
Now I'm a little confused. Smiley The side with the harp is usually the obverse. So the reverse would be the "map side" (when referring to circulation and commemorative coins) or the side that shows the occasion (when referring to collector coins) ...

Sorry old habit, over here the reverse was called the heads and the obverse called the tails.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Figleaf on July 11, 2008, 06:59:48 PM
For euro coins, I avoid "obverse" and "reverse" and use "national side" and "common side" or "european side" instead. However, on older Irish coins, I call the side with the harp obverse. Tastes may differ.

Peter
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: a3v1 on July 11, 2008, 07:20:26 PM
When it comes to Euro circulation coins, it is generally agreed that the national side is the obverse, and the side with the map and value is the reverse.
Euro coins are not issued by the European Union, but by the member states.
And there is long numismatic tradition that the side indicating the authority having issued a coin is the obverse.
Regards,
a3v1
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: blackev on July 11, 2008, 08:25:01 PM
how bout this then:

The obverse side of the coin contains the inscription 'éire' (Irish: Ireland) and year of issue.
The relief is a design based on the Brian Boru harp.

I want to use a description of the obverse for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro_gold_and_silver_commemorative_coins_%28Ireland%29 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro_gold_and_silver_commemorative_coins_%28Ireland%29)
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on July 11, 2008, 08:25:20 PM
When it comes to Euro circulation coins, it is generally agreed that the national side is the obverse, and the side with the map and value is the reverse.

Agreed. My personal opinion differs - what counts for me is the face value of a piece, so whichever side indicates the value is the obverse. But I am aware of the fact that this is neither EU legalese nor the majority's view. :)

Quote
Euro coins are not issued by the European Union, but by the member states.

Basically right, except ... what makes, say, an Irish €2 coin legal tender in the currency union? Certainly not the harp and not the word "Eire" either: A coin which has precisely that obverse design but a face value that is different from the eight circulation coin values is "worthless" anywhere in Euroland except the issuing member state. The best terms are the ones used in the German Reich's 1873 coinage act: the one side and the other side. ;D

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on July 11, 2008, 09:05:43 PM
Sorry old habit, over here the reverse was called the heads and the obverse called the tails.

Where's "over here"?  Heads is normally the obverse and tails the reverse.  Interesting if somewhere has a tradition of using the exact opposites.

There was some interesting (and heated) discussion at nzcca.com/forum a year or two ago regarding the terms obverse and reverse with reference to 19th century NZ tokens.  The tradition is that the side containing the name of the issuing trader is the obverse, which means that those tokens that show Queen Victoria or Prince Albert have the portrait on the "reverse" (tails!) side if the rule is applied strictly.  Some cataloguers follow the rule carefully, but some suddenly switch over as soon as they see the human effigy.

Martin
NZ
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on July 14, 2008, 01:42:33 PM
By the way, I guess that people who actively collect euro coins will understand the terms "common side" and "national/country-specific side", no matter whether those collectors are in the currency union or elsewhere.

Would be fun to have such a debate in a football game when the referee asks the heads or tails question before tossing a coin. "I pick the obverse!" "Fine, reverse for me then." (Toss) "Ha, obverse!" "Nah, wait, that is the reverse ..."

 ;D  Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: BC Numismatics on July 14, 2008, 01:57:04 PM
Peter,
  That's a very nice trader's currency token that you have got there.This series is,in a sense,Australia's first coins,so therefore,they are listed in Krause with 'KMTn.' numbers.

The side with the seated figure on a bale is actually the obverse,not the reverse.

Yes,I do collect this series of coins.I also collect the New Zealand traders' currency token series,which also has quite a few scarce & rare coins among them,just like the Aussie series does.

Aidan.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on July 14, 2008, 08:58:19 PM
We've had this discussion about obverse and reverse before (see http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,1765.msg8342.html#msg8342, for instance) - the side with the issuer's name is generally taken to be the obverse by convention in the NZ and Australian currency series, though some individual cataloguers (and collectors) choose to differ.

Martin
NZ
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: tonyclayton on August 31, 2008, 10:23:45 PM
The dictionary definition of obverse quoted in 'The Seaby Coin Encyclopedia' is that the obverse is the most important side of the coin, normally that with the head of the Emperor or monarch.  This to me indicates the side which defines the issuing authority.
Having a value is a relatively modern phenomenon, and I would usually consider that to be on the reverse.  However, even UK coins do not stick to that rule - the two pound coin commemorating the end of slavery has the value on the obverse, while the Peace two pounds has it on the edge!
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 11, 2008, 05:38:06 AM
I'll throw my spanner in the works and argue that the Casimir side should really be the reverse (whether it officially is or not is academic): the state emblem, name of country and denomination are all on the other side, which should by rights be the obverse.  The changeable, commemorative side should be the reverse, surely?

(I know full well that we are accustomed to seeing a head on a coin and calling it the obverse, but should we do so, logically?)

Even more technically - and those who followed the recent discussion on nzcca.com/forum will know what I'm talking about - to answer this question we should really know which die was the upper and which the lower when the coin was struck :-)

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: BC Numismatics on November 11, 2008, 07:03:32 AM
Martin,
  The Casimir side is the obverse,as it has the date.The denomination is on the reverse.

Aidan.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 11, 2008, 08:48:35 AM
Martin,
  The Casimir side is the obverse,as it has the date.The denomination is on the reverse.

Aidan.

Since when did date determine the obverse?  Are you going to tell me that New Zealand's pre-1965 coins had the monarch on the reverse in that case?
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: BC Numismatics on November 11, 2008, 09:20:40 AM
Martin,
  You're being ridiculous.We're talking about the Commie Polish coins here.The denomination is located on the reverse,therefore the date is on the obverse.

Aidan.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 11, 2008, 09:55:15 AM
Martin,
  You're being ridiculous.We're talking about the Commie Polish coins here.The denomination is located on the reverse,therefore the date is on the obverse.

Aidan.

That doesn't even merit a response.  You seem to be making the rules up as you go along here.  The principle is (usually) that the name or symbol of the issuing authority or ruler (i.e. a current one, not a historical figure being commemorated) constitutes the "most important" side, which is historically the obverse.  The location of the date and/or denomination is irrelevant.

I'd be interested to read considered views from other members in this regard.

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: BC Numismatics on November 11, 2008, 10:11:13 AM
Martin,
  I am not making up the rules as I go along.In the case of the Commie Polish coins,the reverse always has the Commie Polish Coat-of-Arms.

Aidan.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on November 11, 2008, 10:52:34 AM
I'd be interested to read considered views from other members in this regard.

My view is ... obverse, shmobverse. :) Seriously, does it really matter? Some countries have laws/regulations about what is the obverse and what is the reverse of a coin, others do not. Some collectors seem to have very strong opinions about what is or should be the obverse, and apply their views to each and every coin. For me (as a "user") what primarily counts is the face value, so I tend to consider the side that shows it to be the obverse. Yes, I know that many collectors do not share that view - so what?

In my country, the Federal Republic of Germany, we have never had a "legal definition" of what the obverse/reverse of a DM or Pf coin is. For the euro and cent coins, there is the EU usage of common side/reverse and national side/obverse, and for German collector coins we use Bildseite (lit. image side) and Wertseite (lit. value side). The terms I like best can be found in the German Reich's 1873 coinage act ...

... "the one side" and "the other side".

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 11, 2008, 11:09:32 AM
Martin,
  I am not making up the rules as I go along.In the case of the Commie Polish coins,the reverse always has the Commie Polish Coat-of-Arms.

Aidan.

The view I have expressed here is supported by a mass of reference books as well as tradition (where do you get the "always has the Commie Polish Coat-of-Arms" reference from, btw?).  While it's probably unnecessary to go this far, the Deutsches Münzsammler-Lexikon (Battenberg, 1977) contains an extensive definition of what constitutes the obverse of a coin, and says, with regard to coins issued by republics, "the obverse is the side containing the name of the city or country or the coat of arms or other symbol of state, in that order". 

The only country that seems to take the date as a defining point for the obverse is the US, so the date is irrelevant to Polish issues.

As I said earlier, the only way to be completely sure in practical (rather than legal) terms would be to find out which die was up and which down at the time of striking ...

What you wish to believe is entirely up to you, but this definition seems to be supported by the bulk of the literature.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 11, 2008, 06:20:37 PM
Martin,
  The Commie Polish Coat-of-Arms doesn't have a crown on the eagle's head,whereas,the current Polish Coat-of-Arms does.

I am trying to be objective as well as subjective here.

The Coat-of-Arms reverse on the Commie Polish coins applies to the coins & medal-coins denominated above 1 Zloty issued as commemoratives.Whether or not these commemorates circulated is debateable.

Aidan.

Why is a crown supposed to be relevant?  We've moved from dates to arms to crowns now - what next?
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Figleaf on November 11, 2008, 07:42:52 PM
I go with Christian. On 15th century and later coins there is very often a legend that's too long to be on one side, so it's continued on the other. For instance, one side might have abbreviations for PHILIPPVS DEI GRATIA while the other side would continue with HISPANIARVM ET INDIARVM REX. In those circumstances, and especially when coins are badly struck or clipped it is useful to know where the legend is supposed to start, especially when the coin has no portrait, like this one.

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=1062.0;attach=912;image)

from this thread (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,1062.0.html), where you can find what the legend means. From the late 18th century, titles of nobility and the king of France were significantly shortened and today, even British coins have all the titles on one side. This obviates the utility of the obverse/reverse distinction on modern coins as well as the need to argue about it.

Peter
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: africancoins on November 11, 2008, 08:46:10 PM
>>I'd be interested to read considered views from other members in this regard.<<

For Polish coins of the two periods mentioned I agree completely with Martin. On these coins it is obvious to a coin collector that the side with the eagle is the obverse - as the side with the eagle has the state emblem (the eagle) and the country name. The world coin books are of this same opinion and the website of the Polish mint always shows the images of the two sides of Polish coins the same way around as the world coins books. Also on the site of National Bank of Poland many coin descriptions can be seen starting as...

>>>>>>OBVERSE: On the left-hand side, an image of the Eagle established as the State Emblem of the Republic of Poland.<<<<<<

Aidan - What rules will you re-write next. Stop wasting time.

Thanks Mr Paul Baker
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: ghipszky on November 12, 2008, 04:06:29 AM
I have learned something from this post about how other countries regard the obverse of a coin and reverse.
Ginger
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on November 12, 2008, 11:36:37 AM
So we did not deter you with all those comments about what is, and what should "rightfully" be, the obverse or reverse? Great. ;)

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: ghipszky on November 13, 2008, 02:12:17 AM
I just try to keep the peace and go with the flow and learn all I can!!! :)
Ginger
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 13, 2008, 03:27:02 AM
I thought the principle was a nice, straightforward one that can be applied in almost all situations (except the US and EU, which have established principles of their own), but evidently not everyone thinks so - I trust some of our members got some food for thought out of it, anyway, whether we choose to disagree or not.

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Figleaf on November 13, 2008, 09:24:26 PM
And don't forget the third opinion: who cares? Numismatics is not kind to "rules". There are many exceptions to all of them (no, not all coins are metallic, but most are).

Discussions, when civil and respectful to other opinions, are great and to be encouraged. They do indeed open minds and you always learn something.

Peter
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 13, 2008, 09:59:07 PM
"Principles" (I prefer that term to "rules", as it allows for the obvious existence of exceptions, and sounds less dogmatic) can still be handy as a guide, even if they may be of no interest to some and a red rag to others.

One thing I would be very interested to find out is whether the side defined by "principles" as the obverse is still the one actually produced by the lower die in the manufacturing process - this could be of importance to those who study die linkages, sequences of die cracks and degradations, etc.  So is the Queen's effigy on UK and commonwealth coinage always on the fixed (lower) die, with the reverse on the moving (upper) die?  Anyone know?

This question is directed to those who *do* care (and are prepared to discuss sensibly): in around 1946 - not sure of the exact date, would have to trawl through some Japanese references to find it again - Japan decreed that the sides known as the obverse and reverse were henceforth to be swapped.  Anyone know why?  Was it in fact a technical factor, e.g. putting what was the "obverse" die in the upper part of the striking machinery and vice versa, that gave rise to the change?  That has always puzzled me, and I've never got around to asking about it before.

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: BC Numismatics on October 19, 2009, 04:05:17 AM
This is obverses C and D on KM-129.x coins.

This is also the difference between 2 Rupees KM-121.5 and 2 Rupees KM-121.6. If it helps I could do an image for those too. It is a distinct difference even if slight. OBV C is shows central die wear and this is corrected for on OBV D.

There was something similar in the 1970s with what are now KM-49.x sub-types. I have some of those too.

Thanks Mr Paul Baker

Paul,
  The Asokan capital is on the reverse of the Indian 2 Rupees & 10 Rupees coins.

Aidan.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: africancoins on October 19, 2009, 07:11:56 PM
>>The Asokan capital is on the reverse of the Indian 2 Rupees & 10 Rupees coins.<<

Ha ! Ha ! Very funny.

thanks Mr Paul Baker
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: asm on October 20, 2009, 03:31:13 AM
Aidan has his own views on this point which were a cause of a fairly long discussion earlier when it was Aidan v/s all others. However he has set views and will not change.

Amit
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: BC Numismatics on October 20, 2009, 03:52:18 AM
>>The Asokan capital is on the reverse of the Indian 2 Rupees & 10 Rupees coins.<<

Ha ! Ha ! Very funny.

thanks Mr Paul Baker

Paul,
  It is because the denomination is on the same side as the Asokan capital,which is why it is the reverse.

Whatever they are commemorating is depicted on the obverse.

Aidan.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: africancoins on October 20, 2009, 09:40:50 PM
>>It is because the denomination is on the same side as the Asokan capital,which is why it is the reverse.<<

Ha ! Ha ! Very funny.

Do you ever take any note of what the Reserve Bank of India or the world coin catalogues say about this ? Of course not - what do they know. Forgive for taking their lead.

You have not said otherwise - so the coins of 10 Rupees to which you refer must be all 10 Ruppes coins or the normal current pieces ("Information Technology" and "Unity in Diversity"). The latter two type have legend "TEN RUPEES" included on the opposite side to that on which the Asokan Capital - but you are saying that the denomination being on the same side as the Asokan capital on these coins makes the side that includes these two feature together the reverse side. No side includes these two features.

Does your "rule" apply to coins of other countries ? On which side of a Nickel-Brass G.B. 2 Pounds coin of 1986 to 1996 do you see the portrait of the queen ?

Or are your views just here to waste our time and cause confusion to those who may be trying to learn something useful. Do you realise that no one else has the same opinion as you on this subject.

Thanks Mr Paul Baker
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: BC Numismatics on October 20, 2009, 09:50:31 PM
Paul,
  You don't need to be so condescending in this debate about which side is the obverse & which side is the reverse on Indian coins.

The Reserve Bank of India are banknote & coin issuers.They aren't numismatically-minded like we collectors are.

Aidan.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: africancoins on October 20, 2009, 09:59:23 PM
>>condescending<<

Really. You were the one who thought you would correct me in the first place. It seems your numismatics is different to mine.

That you have not answered my questions seems to show that you can't.

I won't waste anymore time on this.

Thanks Mr Paul Baker
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: a3v1 on October 21, 2009, 03:56:06 PM
It is because the denomination is on the same side as the Asokan capital,which is why it is the reverse.
So, according to you, the side showing the denomination always is the reverse?
Then what about the Austrian and Greek Euro circulation coins having the denomination on both sides? Do these coins have two reverses?.
Regards,
a3v1
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on October 21, 2009, 04:33:02 PM
One must also remember that there are four UK decimal circulation coins, with mintages of 7,452,100, 37,061,160, 9,306,000 and 26,773,600, all of which are current legal tender, which have no denomination shown at all.

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: BC Numismatics on October 21, 2009, 09:28:33 PM
Bill,
  It is obvious in the case of coins of Great Britain,the colonies,& the Dominions about which side is the obverse.

Aidan.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on October 21, 2009, 09:53:22 PM
Of course it is.

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: BC Numismatics on October 23, 2009, 09:08:10 PM
So, according to you, the side showing the denomination always is the reverse?
Then what about the Austrian and Greek Euro circulation coins having the denomination on both sides? Do these coins have two reverses?.
Regards,
a3v1

Rob,
  The Austrian & Greek Euro coins also have common reverses as well.

The denominations on the obverses are only the translation of the denomination into Austrian-German & Greek respectively.

Aidan.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Bimat on October 24, 2009, 04:48:54 PM
I noticed a related post here by Oesho here (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,4588.0.html) (See reply #9)
Does it apply to modern coins,too?

Aditya
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: a3v1 on October 24, 2009, 05:08:23 PM
I noticed a related post here by Oesho here (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,4588.0.html) (See reply #9) Does it apply to modern coins,too?
Aditya,
On modern coins the side showing an identification of the authority that has issued the coin is generally regarded to be the obverse. Though a few may think otherwise. The denomination very often (but not always) is at the other side.
Regards,
a3v1
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Figleaf on October 24, 2009, 05:13:55 PM
The convention Oesho mentions may be quite practical for Indian subcontinent coins, but it's not for European coins. On a coin of Philip II, for instance, the portrait side usually have his name and titles, while the other side very often has his personal motto DOMINVS MIHI ADIVTOR (I have made god my helper), which would be a reference to the higher authority.

My best advice remains to do what is logical for you and to realize that it is not important at all if other people's logic is different.

Peter
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: africancoins on October 24, 2009, 06:41:13 PM
But, when in the case of the 2 Rupees of Republic of India......  ONE person's logic is contrary to the ONE view of

(i) the normal (according to anyone else I know) rules for modern coins,
(ii) the world coin catalogues (U.S. and German published) AND
(iii) the issuing authority (in this case the Reserve Bank of India)

it is rather difficult for many of us to consider that OBVERSE is open to interpretation in this case.

I want to feel free to use a clearly defined term on this forum - but if I use this particular one again in this exact context then some ONE (if he has the chance) will again tell me I am wrong. In doing so he will be wasting forum time again.

Thanks Mr Paul Baker
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: tonyclayton on October 25, 2009, 10:51:16 PM
In Mediaeval times the obverse was that on the lower die or pile.  The upper die, or trussel, had the reverse.  As the upper die wore out more quickly than the lower die (as it was the one struck with the hammer) there were normally two trussels issued for each pile.

Nowadays the situation is more confused, as is evident from the discussion that we have been having.  However, if not defined in legal terms as in the USA it is generally held to be the more important side, being the one that in some way declares the country of origin.  Thus UK coins (which often had no denomination, and in early issues no date either) are considered to have the monarch's effigy and the titles on the obverse.

There has been talk of defining it to be the side with the date on.  Clearly this is an impossible definition; the side of the Peace two pounds coin has the date on the edge!

Tony
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Galapagos on November 12, 2009, 10:34:18 PM
Look at these two coins of Rwanda. In each case, say which is the obverse, which the reverse, and why.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on November 12, 2009, 11:03:00 PM
Without knowledge to the contrary, I tend to pick the obverse as the side with the date.

Dale
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Galapagos on November 12, 2009, 11:06:16 PM
Here's what the editor of the Standard Catalog of World Coins emailed me when I queried his decision (the same as yours, but for different reasons):

"It is our usual policy that the ruler is the obverse (QEII...) or the country name.
Rwanda only has a shield and denomination, thus the country name is on the side with the plant, and we call that the obverse!"
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on November 12, 2009, 11:09:56 PM
The reason I tend to pick the side with the date as the front is that:
1. I grew up with US coins...never been anywhere else to get used to something different.
2. For the greatest part of my life I was a date, mintmark collector and the date was the most important to quickly determine if I already had an example.

Dale
 I ain't saying it is correct
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: a3v1 on November 12, 2009, 11:26:53 PM
When, over half a century ago, I started coin collecting I was told over and over again that on any coin the obverse is always the side showing the country or authority that issued the coin.
Since, I have learnt that on some pre-1800 coins the title(s) of the ruler (the issuing authority) start on one side and is continued on the other side.
These coins must be the exception to the rule.
Regards,
a3v1
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: bart on November 12, 2009, 11:39:32 PM
On the coins of many German and Italian States, the coat of arms was the only way a country was recognisable. So, the side with the coat of arms was the obverse. In most cases, when the country name appeared on the coin, it was on the same side as the coat of arms.

In the case of the Rwandese coins, I tend to say the obverse is the side with the country name (in fact it's not the country name, but the name of the issuing bank)

Bart
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Galapagos on November 13, 2009, 01:02:16 AM
My own feeling is that the side with the constant image should be the obverse, and the side with the changing designs, the reverse. But from what you all have said, there is more than one way to look at it. Normally, I would have expected the denomination to appear on the side showing the plants, and the country name with the coat of arms. That's what is causing the confusion, I think.

I grew up with US coins...never been anywhere else to get used to something different.
Dale

Oh no, you have been trapped in the tiny US of A your whole life!  :-\  I just looked at it on the map, and it's no bigger than a sheet of A4. Can't they send the cavalry to rescue you? See - you should have never left the Empire!  >:(
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on November 13, 2009, 01:21:54 AM

Please send the calvary....I would like to see Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, India Brazil, New Zealand...just to start
Dale

.......Oh no, you have been trapped in the tiny US of A your whole life!  :-\  I just looked at it on the map, and it's no bigger than a sheet of A4. Can't they send the cavalry to rescue you? See - you should have never left the Empire!  >:(
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on November 13, 2009, 01:31:57 AM
In the case of the Rwandese coins, I tend to say the obverse is the side with the country name (in fact it's not the country name, but the name of the issuing bank)

Hehe. Those two coins do have the country name, on the side that also has the face value. Just keep looking. ;)

In my opinion those obverse-reverse discussions do not make much sense anyway. For me the side that tells me about the value of a coin is the obverse, but I know that is not necessarily a widespread opinion. And if a government says that this or that side of its country's coins is the obverse, well, then that's it. Personally I like "the one side" and "the other side" best ...

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Galapagos on November 13, 2009, 01:38:54 AM
Hehe. Those two coins do have the country name, on the side that also has the face value. Just keep looking. ;)

You're right - but you'd need a magnifying glass for that! Wait till I tell George...
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 13, 2009, 03:58:33 AM
I've just been going through the 2010 SCWC (21st century) and noting all the inconsistencies and typos I could find for the compilers with a rapid skim-read.  One thing I noted on my way through was how many issues had the obverse/reverse images transposed (even though the descriptions were correct) and, conversely, how many issues that were part of a series had the descriptions of obv/rev incorrect, or at least inconsistent with the descriptions of the rest of the series on the same page!

I've sent through quite a listing of suggested amendments, so it will be interesting to see how many are implemented come publication of the next edition.

As for the debate about which side is which, it's quite clear that there are no completely universal principles, and some issuing authorities/governments clearly decree which is which, and that has to be that.  For US coins, the side with the date is generally taken as the obverse; for monarchies, the side with the monarch's effigy or monogram (in that order of precedence, in case they have both on opposite sides!), and for republics, the side with the national emblem or name of the country.  I find these are pretty good rules of thumb, though there will of course be exceptions.

I like the idea of keeping the "unchanging side" as the obverse, but again there are cases where that doesn't work (Euros being a current example).

With tradesmen's tokens, the side with the issuer's name is generally the obverse, even if there is a royal effigy on the other side (two reasons: 1. consistency and 2. the tokens aren't issued under royal warrant so the king/queen isn't the (nominal) issuing authority).  Same thing goes for countries such as Poland that commemorate former monarchs and other human figures on their republican issues - even though it may feel weird to collectors from monarchies, the "head" side is the reverse in these cases, if the republican emblem is on the other.

When token issuers lacked creativity and put their names on both sides, you just have to run with whoever catalogued them first ...

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Galapagos on November 13, 2009, 04:34:20 PM
Here's George Cuhaj's (of SCWC) final word:

"Okay, here is a train of thought.
 
I am not a collector, barely know English, yet any other languages.
 
Many coat of arms do not have country names on them. So, in the KM wisdom, we went with the name in Roman letters. In Arabic countries with no English, or in Japan, then it is the side with the state arms or image, country name in their language; so we do deviate there.
 
That is why we have broken out the coins from say British Honduras, which formerly was hidden within Belize, to British Honduras. A person with the BH coin would not need to know that the country name has since changed.
 
It has come a long way from ancient coin making when the obverse die was set into the anvil (high relief), and the incuse square punch was the reverse or top die."
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on November 13, 2009, 05:14:06 PM
India Brazil without the comma probably is a candy bar  ;)
As a citizen of the US, visiting Merry Olde England as a priority shouldn't have to even be stated.
That is where the Hallmarks came from and I would love to see the country of my family's origin.
Dale


India Brazil - is that some kind of chocolate bar?  ;D

And no mention of Merry Olde England, there, I see.  :(
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 13, 2009, 06:39:48 PM
Here's George Cuhaj's (of SCWC) final word:

[...]

It has come a long way from ancient coin making when the obverse die was set into the anvil (high relief), and the incuse square punch was the reverse or top die."


Far from "coming a long way", that would actually solve the question in every instance: find out from the mint which die was the lower when the coin was struck and, hey presto, you know which is the obverse, with no room for argument!
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on November 13, 2009, 08:24:04 PM
Oh I am quite sure that point could be argued as well  ;D

Dale




Far from "coming a long way", that would actually solve the question in every instance: find out from the mint which die was the lower when the coin was struck and, hey presto, you know which is the obverse, with no room for argument!

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Bimat on November 14, 2009, 06:21:25 PM
For me the side that tells me about the value of a coin is the obverse
In case of Euro coins,the side showing denomination is the reverse,you know ;),The side which shows the highest authority(who issued the coin) is obverse.(as a3v1 said)

Aditya
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on November 14, 2009, 06:47:21 PM
As I wrote, for me the side with etc. etc.  Who cares about laws and regulations. ;)  And regarding the euro and cent circulation coins, I (as a consumer, not as a collector) care even less whether a piece is from Portugal or Finland, as long as it buys me what I want. Again, it's the value that counts ...

Seriously, I have always wondered why for some it is important to have some kind of authoritative decision about which side is what.

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 14, 2009, 07:00:24 PM
Seriously, I have always wondered why for some it is important to have some kind of authoritative decision about which side is what.

Christian

You don't have to consider it important if you don't want, but others like to make the distinction.  Just like some folks like to collect things we can't see any interest in, I guess.

The distinction does exist, and not being interested in it isn't going to make it go away :-)

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on November 14, 2009, 07:47:03 PM
Ultimately, I see nothing intrinsic to a coin that makes one side a front and the other a reverse. ...a rose by any other name....
So what I am willing to accept as the "official" front is the side that:

1. the designer says is the front
2. the issuing authority says is front

Assuming the above don't contradict each other...

In the absence of the above knowledge, anyone stating that one side or the other
is the front or reverse, in my opinion, is just an an opinion, and we all know what opinions are worth  :).

I have an entire binder of tokens that according to the issuer, I have the reverse to the front.  I like the designs  :)

I do like to know the official front and reverse but not something I am going to be very concerned with if I don't know it.

Dale

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 14, 2009, 08:07:00 PM

I have an entire binder of tokens that according to the issuer, I have the reverse to the front.  I like the designs  :)


The coins in my folders/flips usually have the reverse to the front anyway, as the 'heads' side, which tends to be static, is usually the less interesting.  I don't collect Euros so I don't need to decide which side to display.

Being generally ornery by nature, I have my NZ tokens arranged showing the obverse, since I like to be able to see who issued them!

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Galapagos on November 14, 2009, 10:18:25 PM
Seriously, I have always wondered why for some it is important to have some kind of authoritative decision about which side is what.

Christian

Well, I've been looking at Numismaster's online database, to identify missing designers, so I send them a spreadsheet showing "Obverse Designer" and "Reverse Designer" - along with KM and country of course. You have to have some form of differentiation. It just threw me when I saw the database had labelled the plants on the Rwanda coins as being on the obverse, contrary to my expectations.

As you say, ultimately it isn't important. Pied wagtails in England go through their whole lives without knowing that they're known as "pied wagtails", and I'm sure it makes no difference to them. Though I once said to my sister, when visiting her, "I'm taking the dog for a walk", whereupon her dog leapt up, jumped for joy, and came bounding over to me. So some animals do know what they are called in English.  :D
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 14, 2009, 10:36:19 PM
Indeed - call them "one side" and "the other side" if you wish, but there comes a time, particularly for cataloguers, when you need to determine which is "one side" and which is "the other" simply for convenience of describing details or making sure your descriptions of all coins in a series are consistent.

For a conundrum, have a look (either on Numismaster or in the printed catalogues) at the Sri Lankan 2 rupee series.  The "national arms" side should in theory be the obverse and the "denomination" side the reverse; however, Sri Lanka seems to keep the denomination side constant, and drops the national arms when it wishes to use one side for commemorative purposes.  The commemorative side no longer qualifies as the obverse, so does the "denomination" side keep swapping identity?   I was trying to sort this out in my rapid trawl-through recently, but don't think I succeeded.


Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on November 15, 2009, 02:39:16 AM
A previous post I did on one of my favorite tokens:

http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,741.0.html

Seems to me to show that in this instance the obverse and reverse changed from one issue to the next.

Dale
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: andyg on November 21, 2009, 04:16:22 PM
Here's one to test you all  ;D
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: asm on November 21, 2009, 04:24:35 PM
Heads you win, Heads you loose. This one has no tail.
Amit
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 21, 2009, 06:56:50 PM
Here's one to test you all  ;D

I would apply some historical knowledge to this one and say the "tusks" side is the reverse. Why?  Because on comparable issues prior to 1963, the name of the King/Queen was on the other side, making it the obverse ...

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: andyg on November 22, 2009, 01:00:22 PM
I would apply some historical knowledge to this one and say the "tusks" side is the reverse. Why?  Because on comparable issues prior to 1963, the name of the King/Queen was on the other side, making it the obverse ...



Ok then, try this one....
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on November 22, 2009, 01:32:05 PM
The best interpretation that I have seen is as follows:-

Reverse.   The side of a coin or medal regarded as of lesser importance; in colloquial parlance, the "tails" side.

I take this as meaning that, for a series of coins, the obverse will be the 'fixed' side, whether it be a Monarch or even the common side of a Euro.   The reverse will be the one that varies, like the national side of a Euro coin.

In the example given above, this means that the side with the 'star' is the obverse as it is the 'fixed' side for that series.

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: andyg on November 22, 2009, 02:18:12 PM

In the example given above, this means that the side with the 'star' is the obverse as it is the 'fixed' side for that series.


Both sides are 'fixed', both sides have the date of issue, the issuing authority and the value......
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: a3v1 on November 22, 2009, 02:28:55 PM
I take this as meaning that, for a series of coins, the obverse will be the 'fixed' side, whether it be a Monarch or even the common side of a Euro. The reverse will be the one that varies, like the national side of a Euro coin.
@ Bill,
In this case, alas, I must object. Taking the common side of the Euro coins as the obverse would suggest that the EU is the issuing authority. Which, as we all know, is not the case. The Euro coins all are issued by the participating nations, so the national side in this case should be regarded the obverse.
Regards,
a3v1
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on November 22, 2009, 03:03:07 PM
Aha!   I thought that might get something moving.

The common side of a Euro is the one of maximum importance as it applies throughout Euroland.   The content of the national side has relevance only within the nation which issued the coin and is often meaningless elsewhere.

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on November 22, 2009, 05:15:03 PM
Another case that proves how futile any attempt of coming to a generally accepted "definition" of what the obverse or reverse of a coin is. ;D

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on November 22, 2009, 05:45:56 PM
Worry not, I pushed the bit about the Euro in just to prove a point about the importance of the 'common' side throughout the area.

I am quite happy to use the terms 'common' and 'national'.

However, I fail to understand why (say) a sprig of five oak leaves and a couple of acorns (Germany) are considered more important than an international requirement.

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on November 22, 2009, 06:03:54 PM
Further to the above, here are two currently valid coins, a 2c from Germany and a silver 3p (formerly 3d) from Britain, although you are extremely unlikely to find the latter in circulation.

Euro 'national' and British 'reverse' are depicted.

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on November 22, 2009, 06:10:18 PM
However, I fail to understand why (say) a sprig of five oak leaves and a couple of acorns (Germany) are considered more important than an international requirement.

Same here. For me the face value is the most important element, and that is on the common sides too. But of course a3v1 is perfectly right; the coins are issued by the member states (and the ECB only approves the issue volumes), and the issuing member state can be found by looking at the national side. Also, various European and national regulations say that the common side is the reverse ... so be it. :)

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on November 22, 2009, 06:24:01 PM
Further to the above, here are two currently valid coins, a 2c from Germany and a silver 3p (formerly 3d) from Britain, although you are extremely unlikely to find the latter in circulation.

Easy. Two acorns make a side the obverse. Three acorns - reverse. ;D

Well, if by British law or tradition the side depicting the monarch is usually the obverse, then it makes sense to call the other side the reverse. In Germany we just use the EU terms for the obverse and reverse of the circulation coins; and with collector coins (regional money) we have a Bildseite which shows the "theme" of an issue, and a Wertseite that shows the value ...

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: a3v1 on November 22, 2009, 06:24:22 PM
Bill,
Just a question out of curiosity. If the United Kingdom used the Euro as well, would you still regard the common side more important than the UK national side?
Regards,
a3v1
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on November 22, 2009, 06:34:12 PM
If we used the €uro, I would consider the 'common' side as the more important and therefore the 'obverse' although I would refer to it as the 'common' side.   

However, bear in mind the the English word 'common' has more than one meaning.   From the Concise Oxford English Dictionary:-

common
    adjective (commoner, commonest)
1   occurring, found, or done often; not rare. Øwithout special rank or position; ordinary. Ø(of a quality) of a sort to be generally expected: common decency. Øof the most familiar type.
2   shared by two or more people or things. Øbelonging to or affecting the whole of a community: common land. ØMathematics belonging to two or more quantities.
3   showing a lack of taste and refinement supposedly typical of the lower classes; vulgar.
4   Grammar of or denoting a noun that refers to individuals of either sex (e.g. teacher) or belongs to a gender conventionally regarded as masculine or feminine.
5   Prosody (of a syllable) able to be either short or long.
6   Law (of a crime) of lesser severity.
    noun
1   a piece of open land for public use.
2   a form of Christian service used for each of a group of occasions.
3   (also right of common) English Law a person's right over another's land, e.g. for pasturage.

PHRASES
   common ground views shared by each of two or more parties.
   common or garden British informal of the usual or ordinary type.
   the common touch the ability to get on with ordinary people.
   in common in joint use or possession; shared.
   in common with in the same way as.

DERIVATIVES
   commonness noun

ORIGIN
   Middle English: from Old French comun, from Latin communis.

Note meaning number 3 of the adjective ...  >:D

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on November 22, 2009, 06:55:10 PM
Here's a bit more fun on the subject.

In English, the 'obverse' sides are commonly known as 'heads' and the 'reverse' as 'tails'.

On the first scan, the only 'tail' to be seen is on the 'obverse' and the two 'heads' (note the plural) are on the 'reverse'.   The coins are the 25p for 1977 and 1981 respectively and full details can found in my series on the  British Crown coins (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,4788.0.html).

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on November 22, 2009, 09:49:41 PM
Note meaning number 3 of the adjective ...  >:D

The UK will fortunately never get to use the European currency. But at least I now understand what "Commonwealth" means. ;D

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Figleaf on November 22, 2009, 09:55:20 PM
Come on ;)

Peter
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on November 22, 2009, 11:56:31 PM
But at least I now understand what "Commonwealth" means. ;D


Yes, wealth is common.  I wouldn't be bothered with it, myself.

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on December 03, 2009, 04:56:31 PM
Within the last couple of days, I've seen a post which suggests that there might be some doubt about which is the obverse and reverse on recent-ish UK coins which do not show the usual portrait of Her Majesty.   This is no way criticising any such posts.

In the UK we are lucky in having the Royal Mint website which clearly states which is which.   Take, for instance, the Crown coin which is the most likely candidate for confusion, the Royal Mint (http://www.royalmint.com/Corporate/facts/coins/FivePoundCoin.aspx) gives us the answer.

In England at least, the general public use the terms 'heads' for obverse and 'tails' for reverse but if you refer back to reply #39 in this topic, and with the information that the side illustrated is the obverse, you may wonder why the side with a tail (of the horse) on it is the obverse!

What I am really trying to point out here is that we have to be guided by official information (where available) and local knowledge.   Rather than argue about which side of a eurocoin is which, let's just accept that a couple of additional words have been introduced to our language; 'common' and 'national'.

Whenever I post illustrations of both sides of a coin, the order that I show them relates solely to my private referencing system which includes the letters o,r and now c,n as appropriate.   I always show them in alphabetical order (according to my coding) but it should be obvious which is which; if not, it could be because it is a question being asked.

Does it matter, in this context, which side shows the date or denomination?   I think not, because as soon as someone says that it does someone else will give an example of something which proves it wrong.

Are we happy, please, with the terms (in alphabetical order) 'common', 'edge', 'national', obverse' and 'reverse'?

Now, what doubts remain?   Let's see if we can find a way of covering coins to which the above does not apply.   Possibly we may need to add more words such as 'heraldic' to the list.   I do however appreciate that, particularly for early coins, such descriptions may not be possible so if there are illustrations they can simply be referred to as the 'upper' or 'lower' one and further labels become unnecessary.

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on January 04, 2010, 06:03:31 PM
... ...
Are we happy, please, with the terms (in alphabetical order) 'common', 'edge', 'national', obverse' and 'reverse'?

Now, what doubts remain?   Let's see if we can find a way of covering coins to which the above does not apply.   Possibly we may need to add more words such as 'heraldic' to the list.   I do however appreciate that, particularly for early coins, such descriptions may not be possible so if there are illustrations they can simply be referred to as the 'upper' or 'lower' one and further labels become unnecessary.

Bill.

Simply, are we all happy with how this topic has been left, or are there any 'matters arising'?

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on January 05, 2010, 02:32:49 PM
Being an advocate of the "who cares" approach, I am probably not the right one to answer your question. ;) Guess that in some cases it would indeed make sense to call one side the heraldic or CoA side. But as for the obv/rev question, we will certainly not come to a one size fits all definition here ...

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Sir Sisu on March 29, 2010, 10:28:37 PM
In the Finnish language there is no such ambiguous terminology as obverse/reverse regarding coins (at least regarding Finnish coins ;) ) The respective terms are tunnuspuoli/arvopuoli, which roughly translate as emblem side / value side. Of course such simple terms do not solve the dilemma of some of the examples posted here. Just thought to point out that not every nation necessarily thinks in terms of obverse/reverse, front/back, etc. when it comes to designing and/or making coins. So in certain cases the whole issue could be moot.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on May 26, 2010, 02:39:49 PM
Just to keep this interesting topic alive, who would care to suggest which is the obverse/reverse of this coin?   There is an answer which I will give later, but in the meantime just try reading all the replies here and see where that gets you.

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Austrokiwi on May 26, 2010, 03:07:19 PM
Well you could go either way with that coin. But I would go with the lower picture with QEIIs bust  as being the obverse.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: <k> on May 26, 2010, 04:03:14 PM
If you want to learn a little more about the design history of that coin, have a look at this topic by the late Galapagos (R.I.P.):

http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,3974.0.html
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on May 26, 2010, 05:56:44 PM
I would pick the date side  ;)
Dale
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on May 26, 2010, 08:22:01 PM
I would pick the side with the name of Her Majesty for reasons already discussed.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: andyg on May 26, 2010, 08:24:59 PM
try this one.....
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on May 26, 2010, 10:22:02 PM
In this case I would pick the side with the date and denomination.
Dale
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on May 26, 2010, 11:09:34 PM
In this case I would pick the side with the date and denomination.
Dale


That's both, depending on which language you are reading.  What appears to be the national emblem is on the "French" side, though ...
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: <k> on May 26, 2010, 11:17:11 PM
That's both, depending on which language you are reading. 

Dale knows that, of course. He didn't get to be Grand Wizard of the Texan Mafia for nothing, you know!
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: andyg on May 27, 2010, 12:57:53 AM
here is the emblem,
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f0/EscudoMauritania.PNG/85px-EscudoMauritania.PNG)

but here is the flag,
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/43/Flag_of_Mauritania.svg/125px-Flag_of_Mauritania.svg.png)
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on May 27, 2010, 02:23:17 AM
I didn't know that but I suspected that would turn out to be the case  ;)
However I was too lazy to look it up to be sure.
So I should have said the French side (the side I can nearly read)  ;D.

Dale



Dale knows that, of course. He didn't get to be Grand Wizard of the Texan Mafia for nothing, you know!
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: FosseWay on October 19, 2010, 03:11:55 PM
I tend to take the view that it doesn't matter. Nevertheless, I have a convention for my own records as follows:

The side which gives generic information (i.e. which is not specific to that issue or denomination) is the obverse. This means royal effigies, the Irish harp, the Soviet arms. By extension I also call the obverse the side with a President's head on it on standard US coins. Although each denomination has a different President, the coins aren't specifically commemorating that President. So I treat the President's head in the same way as I treat the Queen's head on Commonwealth issues.

The side which gives specific information is the reverse. This may not necessarily be the face value, although it often is. On some UK £2 coins, for example, the value is under the Queen's head, but the other side contains very specific commemorative material and is therefore clearly the reverse.

Of course, there are always going to be grey areas, which is why ultimately I don't think it matters. For the 2002 £5 coin above, I take the profile image of the Queen to be the obverse and the equestrian view the reverse. Virtually all British coins have a profile of the Queen, and that profile appears on the obverse, so the obverse it is here.

On Andy's Mauretanian coin it's virtually impossible to decide on objective criteria, whether mine or anyone else's. In such a case I'd go for the side that's most important to me as being the reverse, and in this case the important side is the French side, because I can read French well but can do little more than transliterate numerals and placenames in Arabic.

There are also downright exceptions. Most Soviet coins have the value (with or without wreath) on what I call the reverse and the hammer and sickle and CCCP on the obverse. It seems perverse, therefore, to swap them round for the 1 rouble commemorating the centenary of Lenin's birth in 1970, so the value side is still the reverse in my records, even though by my criteria above Lenin should be on the reverse. Perhaps I'm reinforced in this by the fact that he's represented by a profile bust, which custom tells me is on the obverse from my own country's coins.

I also suspect I'm unorthodox in my use of the terms obverse and reverse. Before I was interested in coins, I'd never come across the term 'obverse' and the word 'reverse' was more often a verb describing something you do with a car than it was a noun (where 'back' would be a plainer English term in most instances). Therefore I did not allocate in my mind a status to each term, although subsequent reading makes it clear that, certainly where the Royal Mint is concerned, the 'obverse' is more important. Because the tails side of UK coins was called the reverse, I simply then called what I deemed to be the tails side of other countries' coins the reverse too. FWIW I always list the reverse description before the obverse in my spreadsheets.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: <k> on October 19, 2010, 11:22:40 PM
See my own topic, with images, for an illustration of how complex the subject can get:

http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,4877.0.html

Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: FosseWay on October 20, 2010, 09:53:11 AM
Quote from: chrisild
and with collector coins (regional money) we have a Bildseite which shows the "theme" of an issue, and a Wertseite that shows the value ...

That's much plainer language than obverse/reverse and lets the user know (providing they speak German) what they can expect to find on each side. However, not all countries are consistent in which side they put the face value on relative to the other information in question. For example, British commemoratives can have the value on either side -- so it can be on the same side as the Bild.  ???
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: kansal888 on August 17, 2011, 05:35:37 PM
Dear Friends

One of the forum members has suggested that side of Indian Commemorative coins carrying busts of leaders like Nehru, Gandhi, Tagore, Rajiv, Bose etc may be treated as Obverse. He feels that second side having denomination plus our national emblem be treated as Reverse.

I and others feel that as per the convention, our Ashoka Lion Pillar indicates the authority and it is a constant/continuous symbol of state.  By this logic this side should be Obverse.

You are requested to inform if there are examples elsewhere when a bust of dead person (different from bust of living issuing authority) gets precedence over national symbols?

Regards
Sanjay Kansal
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: brokencompass on August 17, 2011, 08:19:59 PM
I think the rule is, if there is a portrait that portrait is the obverse, if there is no portrait the side with the common repeating symbol/ court of arms would be the reverse and the other side would be obverse.

So Nehru, Gandhi, Tagore are all portraits and so they all naturally become the obverse of the coin.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Figleaf on August 17, 2011, 11:08:11 PM
Chrisild once suggested a very good and logical solution. Call them "one side" and "the other side". There just is no rule that can catch the wide diversity of coin designs. At the same time, obverse and reverse are just code words, handy when they are clear, clumsy when they are not.

Peter
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: <k> on August 17, 2011, 11:16:25 PM
Numismaster considers that the obverse is the side that carries the country name, though just occasionally, it appears on both sides.

Have you seen that film, "No country for old men", where a homicidal criminal asks strangers to "call it" when he flips a coin? If they get it wrong, he shoots them. Now, just imagine if they'd tried to start a discussion about obverse and reverse. It would have spoilt the whole film.  >:(
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: brokencompass on August 18, 2011, 12:24:34 AM
I use this article as my guideline. I am not sure if there are more official guidelines from like ANA or Krause

http://coins.about.com/od/worldcoins/qt/obversecointip.htm
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: translateltd on August 18, 2011, 12:37:50 AM
I use this article as my guideline. I am not sure if there are more official guidelines from like ANA or Krause

http://coins.about.com/od/worldcoins/qt/obversecointip.htm


Rule 4 is unfortunately incorrect - most proof sets display the reverse upwards!  If it really matters, contact the Mint and ask which die was on the bottom (obverse) and which die was on top (reverse).  If the dies were mounted sideways, we're doomed.

I have no idea how authoritative about.com is supposed to be, but in view of the above, and a recent case in which someone drew on that site to claim that New Zealand's post-1946 cupro-nickel half crowns were actually 50% silver, I think a grain of salt is called for.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on August 18, 2011, 01:31:22 PM

In Britain, there is no such problem.

Specifications for new or altered coins are given by Royal Proclamation, published in the London Gazette (official newspaper).

An example is the change to nickel-plated steel for 10p (also 5p) coins (http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/59496/notices/1170069/from=2010-01-01;to=2011-01-01;all=PROCLAMATION) which reads:

2. The design of the said ten pence coin shall be as follows:

‘For the obverse impression Our effigy with the inscription “ELIZABETH · II · D · G REG · F · D ·” and the date of the year, and for the reverse a section of Our Royal Arms showing elements of the first quartering accompanied by the words “TEN PENCE”. The coin shall have a graining upon the edge’.  

Do you have any similar notification?

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on August 18, 2011, 02:19:39 PM
Rule 4 is unfortunately incorrect - most proof sets display the reverse upwards!

That rule mentioned at about.com is correct for the relatively few countries that do not use parallel orientation, but for the coins from most countries it makes no sense indeed. But again, I do not think this is an important issue - if a government "defines" (by law or otherwise) what the obverse of a certain coin is, then fine, use this rule for that coin or group of coins. May be helpful especially for those who focus on coins from that one country. Apart from that ... phhh. ;)

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Bimat on August 18, 2011, 04:44:59 PM
Quote
One of the forum members has suggested that side of Indian Commemorative coins carrying busts of leaders like Nehru, Gandhi, Tagore, Rajiv, Bose etc may be treated as Obverse. He feels that second side having denomination plus our national emblem be treated as Reverse.
Not only coin catalogs, but our government also believes that side showing Ashoka pillar is obverse. Check this RBI press release for example:

http://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/BS_ViewCurrencyPressRelease.aspx?Id=17492

Everytime a new commemorative is issued, RBI issues a notification which always mentions the side showing Ashoka pillar as obverse.

Aditya
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on August 18, 2011, 07:19:25 PM

Well done Aditya, I think that certainly gives Sanjay his answer.

It is surprising that there are a lot of dealers, etc., who try to make up their own rules on something like this without referring to official documentation which is readily available these days.

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Prosit on August 18, 2011, 09:11:05 PM
That is what I do   ;D

Ok, maybe not so much but I do decide which side I show as the front in my collection regardless of the official
front.  I feel no compulsion to show it correctly.
Dale



......who try to make up their own rules on something like this without referring to official documentation which is readily available these days.

Bill.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: UK Decimal + on August 19, 2011, 12:32:22 AM
No Dale, we all know that if you really want to know about something, you ask, just as Sanjay did.

Unfortunately, there are some myths from the past that have been repeated over and over again and eventually appeared in print for the whole world to believe - except for a few doubters like ourselves who question them.

Bill.    ???
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: squarecoinman on August 23, 2012, 01:37:59 AM
Ok so i have a simple question about Obverse and reverse

are there any golden rules
like , the head of a person is always Obverse ( like king and queen )
or the value is always reverse , and is this the same for all countries

thanks Michael
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Coinsforever on August 23, 2012, 04:32:31 AM
This topic has been discussed extensively here . (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,4600.0.html)

Cheers ;D
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Figleaf on August 23, 2012, 02:22:49 PM
And here (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,1765.0.html). We have learned that there's no good answer and personally, I think the question is not of great interest to modern coin collecting.

Peter
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: akona20 on August 23, 2012, 11:51:52 PM
Akbar the great Mughal ruler had some square coins which are rather beautiful but nothing other than calligraphy appears on both sides. So which is the obverse? That is for our squarecoinman to research.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: squarecoinman on August 24, 2012, 07:57:44 AM
Akbar the great Mughal ruler had some square coins which are rather beautiful but nothing other than calligraphy appears on both sides. So which is the obverse? That is for our squarecoinman to research.

Old man , that was one of the reasons , another are some Arabian coins , and some Moorish coins

regards Squarecoinman
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: paisepagal on August 24, 2012, 08:38:14 AM
Dear Friends

One of the forum members has suggested that side of Indian Commemorative coins carrying busts of leaders like Nehru, Gandhi, Tagore, Rajiv, Bose etc may be treated as Obverse. He feels that second side having denomination plus our national emblem be treated as Reverse.

I and others feel that as per the convention, our Ashoka Lion Pillar indicates the authority and it is a constant/continuous symbol of state.  By this logic this side should be reverse.

You are requested to inform if there are examples elsewhere when a bust of dead person (different from bust of living issuing authority) gets precedence over national symbols?

Regards
Sanjay Kansal

An old topic, but new insights for me...until a few years ago, I also use to think that the denomination indicates the reverse while the obverse was the other side. However, as a couple of posts here indicate, the obverse is the 'important side' that carries the issuing authorities name . In this case, that would be "INDIA" and to a lesser extent the Ashoka lion as the symbol. This principle really clarifies it for me! And I do think it is important to note.
There is no doubt though on which side is which, as i've uploaded pictures of various sets in the Personalities and Events (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,9865.msg66547.html#msg66547) thread in the Post 1947 India section. 
An example below

(http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/302050_10150470313890943_536160942_10823177_1401937205_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: asm on August 25, 2012, 03:29:23 AM
Akbar the great Mughal ruler had some square coins which are rather beautiful but nothing other than calligraphy appears on both sides. So which is the obverse? That is for our squarecoinman to research.
Since scm has his reply, I take the liberty to reply this one. On the coins of the Mughals as for all others, we always presume the that the face which has the name of the higher authority is the obverse. So for the Kalima type coins of Akbar, the side with the Kalima is the obv. For the Ilahi side, the side with the Ilahi date etc is the reverse......... (I hope I have it correct - but that is what I have learn't in the few years that I have been around on WoC)

Amit
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Kushi on August 07, 2014, 11:01:38 PM
This subject has really been overworked. However, here's an example of what makes life interesting.

Usually, the side with the device is considered the obverse. But how about when the device is one one side and the issuing authority is on the other?

Take a look at this rare, old token used to pay workers removing snow from the tramway tracks in Bucharest, Romania. The authority SOCIETATILE DE TRAMVIE BUCURESCI and the value 1 DI are one one side, while the other side depicts a old tramcar and SERVICIUL CURATIREI ZAPEDI, that is Snow Removal Service. Photos: C. Cretulescu.

Personally, I would still stick with the authority side as the obverse.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Globetrotter on September 01, 2014, 09:36:41 PM
Hi, I don't operate with obverse or reverse at all, too complicated, since nobody agrees on anything!

I use year side as side 1 and the other side is obviously side 2. Have you ever seen a coin with the minting year on both sides? I haven't.

So maybe we should switch to that definition?

Ole
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: FosseWay on September 01, 2014, 10:13:38 PM
Have you ever seen a coin with the minting year on both sides? I haven't.

Sorry to burst your bubble Ole...
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: <k> on September 01, 2014, 10:15:56 PM
Excellent. Any more?
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Figleaf on September 01, 2014, 11:53:19 PM
Excellent. Any more?

Mughal coins usually have a date on one side and a regnal year (the real date) on the other side. Quite a few Ottoman coins follow the same pattern. I like Christian's terminology: one side and the other side.

Peter
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: JoeYuk on September 02, 2014, 01:48:26 AM
Lithuania was difficult for me. 
In 1925 the year,  issuing authority and national emblem were on the obverse.
 (http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/joeyuk/Lithuania%201925-1936%20coins/19255cPCGS66_zps6cbeed16.jpg)

Then in 1936 they moved the date to the reverse.
(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j220/joeyuk/Lithuania%201925-1936%20coins/19365cPCGS64BN_zps99bed8ac.jpg)

Many feel the date is on obverse.  When I loaded pics on omnicoin that is one criteria for obverse.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Globetrotter on September 02, 2014, 10:44:36 AM
Hi,

of course I knew, that some coins have no date, but honestly I didn't notice any with the minting date on both sides. Might be because I don't turn the coin, when I have found  the date already.... so my suggestion is no good either! Bad luck, I can live with it, but I still report my findings to KM as side 1 and side 2 according to my "standard".

Ole
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Pabitra on September 02, 2014, 06:37:38 PM
This is a standard topic which is discussed every few years in every numismatic forum.

Lao had issued coins with Christian Era in Roman Numerals on both sides  in its first series. Congo has it on 2 of 3 of its current coins where Dominican Republic has its bimetallic coins with the same property.

Lebanon current series has Christian Era in Roman numerals on one side and in Arabic numerals on the other side.

I am assuming that Ole did not think that Hejira Era in Arabic numerals should be counted as date so I am ignoring those examples.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on September 03, 2014, 11:45:15 AM
Please note that the posts dealing with the terms NCLT, fantasy etc. coins are now parts of this topic:
http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,1849.0.html

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Pabitra on November 23, 2014, 11:13:16 AM
New addition to both side dated coins

Srilanka 10 Rupees - district commems - 25 different designs- issued November 2014 - dated 2013
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Globetrotter on November 23, 2014, 12:51:14 PM
and it has NO portrait, so the Pos A and B would be very, very difficult to determine, if has an inscription on the rim :-X

Ole
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: Pellinore on September 15, 2017, 10:31:21 AM
I always thought: the head of the ruler is on the obverse, or the Kalima, the dominant destining factor. At the reverse is the value, the minting place, some symbol, abstract, less important matter. But this is probably naive. What's the scientific way to decide obverse and reverse?
-- Paul
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: eurocoin on September 15, 2017, 10:48:22 AM
The way you think it is, is the way in which almost everyone does it and that is being used in catalogs aswell. I personally do it the other way around in my albums as I do not like to look through pages with each 20 times the same coat of arms/effigy/map of Europe/...

I do not think there is such a thing as the scientific way.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: <k> on September 15, 2017, 11:28:31 AM
Krause says that the side with the country name on is the obverse. Sometimes, however, it appears on BOTH sides. Some countries actually specify which side of each coin is the obverse and reverse.

Here is an example from Austria, where sometimes the denomination is also on the obverse and sometimes not.



(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=19015.0;attach=29801;image)
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: <k> on September 15, 2017, 11:31:46 AM
(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=10156.0;attach=14543;image)

And which do you think is the obverse here? No, it's not the side with the Queen, even though she is the head of state of PNG.
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on September 17, 2017, 02:37:23 PM
I personally do it the other way around in my albums as I do not like to look through pages with each 20 times the same coat of arms/effigy/map of Europe/...

Arrange your collection by country, and you won't have that problem. ;)  But I agree, with euro and cent circulation coins (including €2 commems) it is the country specific design that makes an issue "individual".

Obverse and reverse - it is quite easy in my opinion. Just look at what the laws of the issuing country/entity say. In the euro area the terms "national side" and "common side" are, also in European law, most commonly used. Sometimes, like here (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32004R2182) (Art. 2), the law refers to "the national obverse designs or to the common reverse face of euro coins". Single member states may have similar regulations.

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: chrisild on September 17, 2017, 02:51:26 PM
Here is an example from Austria, where sometimes the denomination is also on the obverse and sometimes not.

In my opinion this is not an important issue (I prefer "the one side" and "the other side" ;) ) but if the local law says that the obverse is always the side that has this or that feature, fine with me. Personally, I think of the side that has the denomination as the obverse, as that info* is most relevant for me. As a user, not as a collector ...

(* assuming that I deal with coins that are "local money" here)

Christian
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: <k> on September 17, 2017, 04:11:13 PM
Personally, I think of the side that has the denomination as the obverse, as that info* is most relevant for me. As a user, not as a collector

Totally unscientific. I always knew you had all the wrong opinions.  >:(
Title: Re: Obverse and reverse
Post by: brandm24 on December 22, 2020, 07:08:28 PM
Well, this will really mess up the discussion of obverse and reverse, but in the tiny little world of counterstamped coins things are really muddled. ???

The side of a coin that's counterstamped is ALWAYS the obverse no matter if it is or isn't in the real world. When both sides are stamped then the most prominent or important stamp is considered the obverse. If both are equally important then the one with the most information provided is the obverse. If both sides are, then it's a toss-up. Nothing funnier than seeing two collectors having a slap-fight in the parking lot over obverse and reverse. :laughing:

Bruce :)