A Bullion Coin's Anatomy is very easy to remember when compared to their numismatic coin counterparts.
Most Numismatic coins change their designs a lot more often than bullion coins, which can make some of the features of these coins harder to recognize.
Bullion coins are often looked upon as what they were created for; Investing, not collecting.
It is good practice for any bullion coin investor to know the separate features that make up a bullion coin.
At least once in your life you've flipped a coin and called "Heads" or "Tails."
In terms of a coin's anatomy, "Heads" is known as the "Obverse" side of the coin and "Tails" is known as the "Reverse" side.
But, there is also a third side that will almost never come up when you flip a coin and that is the coin's "Edge."
The Free Bullion Investment Guide has over 100 coin pages, all of which are narrated using obverse, reverse and edge coin terminology.
All the coins on the Free Bullion Investment Guide are narrated in the first person point of view.
Points of view Defined:
3rd person point of view: When you are looking at your computer screen, you are looking at it in the third person point of view and your right and left sides are the same as they are on your body.
1st person point of view: the first person point of view, is to describe a item or coin, as if you were holding it to your chest and describing it, flipping the right and left sides from the person viewing it.
How a coin is described is up to the individual who is interpreting its features, it can get confusing if a coin website mixes the two points of view in their narration of a coin.
As you will see in the coin description below, the 1st person narration works best for describing a coin.
The following is a first person narration of a Gold Eagle's obverse side.
When you look at the American Gold Eagle above, you immediately know which hand is Liberty's right hand and which hand is her left, without the arrows and names.
This is an example of the first person point of view, the following narration is from the guide's American Gold Eagle coin pages:
"She (Liberty) is holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left."
Since you see that the torch is in Liberty's right hand and that the olive branch is in her left hand, wouldn't you also say that the Capital Building is behind her on the right and the Year of Issue is to her left.
The following is just one example of where both points of view are mixed in the description.
The following is Wiki's description of the same coin.
Wikipedia's description for the same American Eagle Gold coin:
"The obverse design features a rendition of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' full length figure of Lady Liberty with flowing hair, holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left, with the Capitol building in the left background."
If the olive branch is in her left hand, how can you say the capital is in the "left background?"
Field - The flat area of a coin’s surface that is not raised and doesn’t have any design or inscription.
Rim - The raised edge that runs completely around both sides of a coin.
Edge - The edge is the very outer border of a coin. Edges can be lettered, plain or reeded. See below for more information on coin edges.
Portrait - Found on the Obverse side of the coin. Common portraits include presidents, monarchy, and Liberty.
Legend - Usually found at the top of a bullion coin, often referred to the coin’s inscription.
Relief - The part of a coin’s design that is raised above the surface.
Motto - Coin lettering or inscriptions like "In God We Trust" and " "E Pluribus Unum."
Weight & Purity - States the coins' weight and the purity of the precious metal in the coin.
Face Value - The value of the coin, the face value of every bullion coin is guaranteed and backed by the country in which it represents.
Date or Year of Issue - Indicates the year a coin was minted or first issued.
Designers Initials - The initials of the person who designed the coin.
Mint Mark - A mint mark is a Mark or an Inscription on a coin indicating the mint that produced the coin.
United States bullion coins are not minted with a Mint Mark.
It is the one way to recognize a Numismatic (Proof or Un-Circulated) American Eagle from the Bullion version of the coin.
and uncirculated numismatic versions of the American Eagle bullion
coins have a "W" on their reverse side, representing the West Point
The practice of including a Mint Mark is shared with some bullion coins and not with others.
For instance, Mexico includes their ("O" over an "M") mint mark on all of their minted Libertads.
The edge of a coin is often referred to as the third side of a coin.
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