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FACE of a coin. Every perfect coin has two faces or sides: one called the obverse, the other the reverse; and the figure, and legend, or inscription, on each are alike subjects for consideration.

Note: Today's way of describing varies slightly:

Obverse: The "front" of the coin. On most Romans coins, this is the side with the portrait of a ruler. Technically, it is the side of the coin that lays flat on the anvil when being struck.

Reverse: The "back" of the coin. Also described as the "Type." On most Roman coins, this side features figures of people, scenes worthy of note, deities, various symbols, and interesting designs. Sometimes, a provincial city will have a constant design or type on the reverse, in effect a civic symbol or badge. Technically, the reverse is the side struck with the hammer and punch. This is the side of the coin paid most attention to when classifying coins.

Edge: The "third side" of the coin. Most edges are of plain design, but some are serrated. On modern coins, the edge often has many small ridges or is "reeded," in hopes to prevent the act of clipping a little of the precious metal from the edges. Since the reeds would be missing from a clipped coin anyone would know the coin to be below proper weight. This practice continues today even though precious metals are no longer used in coins for circulation.

View whole page from the |Dictionary Of Roman Coins|