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The Anatomy of a Coin


In the past, coin collection was considered a hobby for those with time on their hands. However, people have now started to consider it as a profitable investment as they can gain a considerable amount of money by selling their ancient coins. If this sparks your interest, one thing you should be aware of is that the monetary value of every coin tends to vary by its anatomy.

The anatomy of a coin is basically the front, back, edges and engravings on a coin. These usually tell you many things about the coin you are investing in, especially about when it was made, where it was produced in and the country it was minted in. When discussing this aspect with someone, you need to know the following terms and their significance for investors.

  • Obverse - Considered the most prominent aspect of the coin, the obverse is the face of the coin. In sports, it is also called as the head. Usually, the obverse part of the coin has a depiction (portrait) of an eminent ancient personality. In addition, the mint and date is present on the observe part of some coins.
  • Reverse - The second most important aspect of a coin is the reverse. It is the backside of the coin where you will find a unique motif signifying a particular nation’s era or perhaps even culture.
  • Motto - The motto is usually present on top of the obverse above the portrait. However, in some coins, it can be inscribed on the backside. It is basically a quote of the person whose image is inscribed of the front side of the coin.
  • Mint Mark - These are tiny letters inscribed on reverse side of the coin. Mint marks help coin collectors to identify the place where the coin was made. For example, coins with the letter “D” imply Denver.
  • Portrait - Portrait, without a shadow of a doubt is the most captivating aspect of the coin since it includes the face of a famous historic figure such as Queen Elizabeth. It is also equally significant since whoever buys a coin, will first look at the portrait.
  • Date - The date displayed is that of the year the coin was first minted. For example, the peace silver coin was made back in 1921.
  • Legend - Another important part of the coin’s anatomy is the legend. This essentially indicates the country the coin belongs to along with its monetary value. In some places, it is also called as the ‘coin’s inscription”.
  • Relief - This aspect of the coin cannot only be seen but felt, mainly because it protrudes above the coin’s surface.
  • Edge and Rim - People often consider the edge and rim of the coin the same thing, which is not the case at all. The edge is the side with a smooth, decorated or lettered surface. Rim, on the other hand, runs through the coin’s edge on both sides to prevent the coin from wear while keeping its design intact.


So these are the things that make up the anatomy of a coin and determine whether a specific coin is worth having. Keeping these points in mind when buying or selling your coins will help you tremendously in making the right decision.

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