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Index Of All Titles


Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Folles
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Armenian Numismatics Page
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
A Case of Counterfeits
Clashed Dies
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
Facing Portrait of Augustus
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
Greek Alphabet
Greek Dates
Greek Mythology Link
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Helvetica's ID Help Page
Historia Numorum
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Nabataean Numerals
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Names
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
The Sign that Changed the World
The Temple Tax Hoard
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Widow's Mite


For ancient coins, the classical numismatist traditionally uses the term reverse to describe the side of the coin struck with the die that was hit with the hammer.  For the most ancient coins this side is easily identified because it was a plain punch and later a design within an incuse created by the punch.  

The mobile or reverse die tended to wear out faster than the obverse die, which was fixed in the anvil.  For this reason, the more important design was usually put on the obverse.  For Roman imperial coins the most important design was, of course, the portrait of the emperor; hence the modern universal acceptance of the "heads" side of the coin as the obverse.  

Reverses frequently bear an interesting allusion to contemporary events. Some provide important representations of actual statutes. They may portray the ruler's favorite deity, a dedication to a deity for assistance provided, or an appeal to a deity for aid. For Roman Republican moneyers reverses frequently make allusions to their ancestral origins. Sometimes reverses express political aims or pretensions. They are sometimes commemorative, sometimes proclamatory. Some reverses bear dates or regnal years which often allow the coin to be closely dated and associated with the events which influenced the choice of types.

Dictionary of Roman Coins

Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
Reverse of a coin, in Latin called aversa and postica is the side opposite to that of the head.

View whole page from the Dictionary Of Roman Coins