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Coin Anatomy

By CAA    |   Monday, 9 January 2023

Like many other specialized hobbies, it's important to learn basic collecting coins terminology, including the parts of a coin. You can find more definitions in the glossary.


Side of the coin with the effigy or with the main design.

Anatomy of a Coin - Obverse

  • Effigy: A representation or model of a person on the obverse of a coin.
  • Field: Part of a coin, medal or token characterized by the absence of design.
  • Initials: Designer's initials
  • Legend: Inscription around the edge of a coin, mostly in Latin for Australian pre-decimal coins and in English for decimal coins.


Tail side of a coin.

Anatomy of a Coin - Reverse

  • Device: Principal element of the design on the obverse and reverse of a coin, token or medal.
  • Denticle: Ornamental pattern (usually dots or beads) used near the edges of coins.
  • Rim: The raised area around the edges of a coin.
  • Denomination: Face or nominal value of a coin.

Related numismatic tools, articles and links

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