Do You Know the Parts of Your Coins?

If you’re a kid coin collector, then you’re obviously pretty smart. But just how smart are you when it comes to knowing all the parts of the coins that you love so much?

Read on to see just how much you know about the names of the specific parts of a coin:

  • Obverse and Reverse: You probably already know that there are more technical terms for a coin than “front” and “back,” or “heads” and “tails.” The front of a coin is typically called the obverse. This side usually contains a portrait, or a picture, of someone who is important to a country, or a symbol of something important to that country like a coat of arms. The back of a coin is called the reverse, and it can also contain a portrait, or a symbol or picture of something else cool.
  • Field and Relief: The field of a coin is the smooth parts that don’t contain any features – it is just smooth metal. The relief of the coin is any part of the coin that is raised above the surface. The relief usually includes a portrait, as well as the country name, and any motto.
  • Rim and Edge: Understanding the difference between the edge and the rim of a coin can be a little tricky, but think of it like this: Not all coins have rims. This is a part of a coin that is sometimes added to make coins easier to stack and handle. The rim of a coin is on the flat surface of the coin and it encircles the relief of the coin like a picture frame. All coins have edges, which are the sides of the coin.
  • Legend, Motto, Date: Where your coin originated from is called the legend; usually this is the name of the country (for instance, “The Republic of France” is the legend). You probably already know what a motto is, but any saying, (such as “In God We Trust”) that is inscribed on a coin is called a motto. And the year the coin was minted is called the date. That’s pretty obvious!
  • Super Secret Cool Stuff: You have to look carefully, but some coins will have what’s called a mint mark. The mint mark will tell where a coin was made. You can find the mint mark for U.S. coins on the obverse. “D” stand for Denver, and “S” for San Francisco. These mint marks are very tiny, so look close!  Sometimes you can also find the initials of the coin’s designer, called designer initials, on your coin, but you might have to use a magnifying glass!

If you didn’t know all the parts of your coin, you do now! Keep reading more cool stuff about coins, like how to care for them like a pro or what makes a coin valuable.