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One of These Is Not Like the Others

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One thing I feel that is needed in coinage is a uniformity on deciding what is an obverse and what is a reverse. Almost all US coinage is quite simple as we declare that the side with the Bust or Lady Liberty is usually the obverse. There are some instances with modern and classic commemorative issues where there remains inconsistency with opinions on which is the obverse and which the reverse.

Things are far less clear with world coins. Many nations don't use busts at all but have National Shields, emblems or simply have variance on both sides with all issues. It remains often unclear which is considered the obverse. Is it determined by the side with the nation's name? How about the side with the year/date on it?

The grading services seem to have no idea either- or maybe they just don't place any priority or are unconcerned with the issue. However collectors seem to have a certain inherent desire for uniformity or order in our collections.It seems as if the obverse should always be facing forward on the same side of the coin as the label, be it the Queen's bust, Liberty in one of her depictions or a former POTUS. Yet we don't even see this simple consistency. I have seen PCGS deliberately invert the reverse onto the label side simply because the reverse had some nice toning on it and the TPG decided of their own volition to place the coin in encapsulation with "reverse side up."

I have a simple Canadian 10c Proof issue set. The Queen's bust in all its aging glory is depicted on the obverse of all 43 issued coins and my set is 100% complete, yet 11 of my 43 coins have the reverse on the label side and 32 of the coins with the Queen's bust on the label side. I do notice a trend though. Six of the coins with the Bluenose Schooner on the label side are perfect 70's...4 of the other 5 are commem issues with the commemorated event on the label side ( and one PF69UCAM just seems to be reversed for no reason at all, no matter how I try and reach.)

Oh well, not the biggest of issues unless the coins in their slabs are meant for some type of display or group encasing. We can always just flip the coin over in-hand if we want to see the other side...

What brought this about is the 2 sets I just finished--each having 1 coin inexplicably reversed with the obverse of the coin on the back of the slab. Am I the only one this happens to or has nobody else noticed this randomness? As we always say, it's about the coin and not the holder so que sera sera........

Happy Hunting everyone




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Interesting issue. In Mexican law, the coinage always have the National Emblem on the obverse. So in theory, all Mexican coins should be slabbed with the eagle on the front of the holder. But this seldom happens because all coins from Mexico have the Shield and therefore look the same, and when it does, I have heard complains about it. My guess is that the complaint sparks due to the fact that under this law, all Mexican coins have the same obverse and the difference is the reverse. I assume all coins, when approved by a given parliament, in the approval law it is described what is the obverse and the reverse.

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More than usual --- the artistic view is the deciding factor these days. Look at our state and parks quarters. All reverses to justify the creators of the arts.

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I collect of a lot of German States pieces and the reverse is almost always on the label side. I was told that if there is a side that is more attractive (as Rick said artistic) then that is the side they will face up. Most of the GS stuff has a shield or coat of arms on the obverse but they all are pretty similar. The real artistry is on the reverse. It bothers me more when for whatever reason they ignore this trend. I wonder if it is the person putting it in the holder that makes the ultimate decision. Since the above pictures are of coins that weren't all graded at the same time it could just be that last persons opinion of what should be facing up.

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I noticed that also, 3 or 4 slightly different slabs. I was wrong in my journal--it is 5 coins in each set with the reverse forward and one, lonely coin in each set has the Queen forward ( and each of these have the ANA golden lamp to the left of the grade on the label.)

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Lincoln Shield cents seem to almost always be mounted reverse side up.  I understand the excitement of a new design on the first year of issue, but it's been going on ever since.  I hate it.  I want mine slabbed obverse (date) showing, and I can flip it over to see the reverse.

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