Author Topic: Obverse and reverse  (Read 38750 times)

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Offline chrisild

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Obverse and reverse
« 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

Offline blackev

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #1 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.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #2 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline a3v1

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #3 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
Over half a century of experience as a coin collector.
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Money is like body fat: If there's too much of it, it always is in the wrong places.

Offline blackev

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #4 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

Offline chrisild

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #5 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

translateltd

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #6 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

Offline chrisild

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #7 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

BC Numismatics

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #8 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.

translateltd

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #9 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
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Offline tonyclayton

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #10 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!

translateltd

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #11 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 :-)


BC Numismatics

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #12 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.

translateltd

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #13 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?

BC Numismatics

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Re: Obverse and reverse
« Reply #14 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.