Homepage / Bullion Investment Basics: Coin Anatomy

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Updated 12/21/23

Bullion Coin

Like any other coin, a Bullion Coin's Anatomy is very easy to recognize, and as you will see below, bullion coins are no different from any other coin.

The bullion coin used is the 1oz. American Eagle Platinum Bullion Coin.

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The Obverse Side of a
Bullion Coin

coin anatomy obv

The Reverse Side of a
Bullion Coin

coin anatomy rev

Coin Edges

obverse & reverse of a coin

The edge of a coin is often called the third side of a coin.

The Three Sides of a 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.

There is a third side of a coin that will almost never come up when you flip a it, and that is the coin's "Edge."

The Free Bullion Investment Guide has over 100 coin pages, and all narrated using obverse, reverse, and edge coin terminology.

Reeded Coin Edge

Lettered Edge

Plain Edge

Grained Edge

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Bullion Coin Anatomy
- Breakdown -

field and rim of coin

Field - The flat area of a coin’s surface that doesn’t have any design or inscription.

Rim - The raised edge that runs 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 Lady Liberty.


Legend - Usually found at the top of a bullion coin, often referred to as the coin’s inscription.

bullion coin relief

Relief - raised art/design on the surface of a coin's field

coin motto

Motto - Coin lettering or inscriptions: ex, "In God We Trust" and " "E Pluribus Unum."

weight and purity

Weight & Purity - States the coins' weight and the purity of the precious metal in the coin.

face value of 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.

coins year of issue

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.

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Mint Marks

Mint Mark - A mint mark is a Mark or an Inscription on a coin indicating the mint that produced the coin.

The United States Mint puts the first letter of the satellite-Mint that produced the coin on all their precious metal collectors and commemorative coinage, including the American Eagle Proof and Un-Circulated versions' of the bullion coin.

Silver Eagle Bullion Coin1oz. Silver Eagle Bullion Coin
No Mint Mark
2023 - 1oz. Silver Eagle Proof w/ Mint Mark Circled - Reverse1oz. Silver Eagle Proof
with the "S" Mint Mark

However, the United States Mint 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.

Proof and uncirculated numismatic (collectors) versions of the American Eagle bullion coins have a "W" or an "S" on their reverse side, representing the West Point Mint or the San Francisco Mint.

Israel Bullion - small Tower of David - obverse"Star of David" Mint Mark of
The Holy Land Mint

The practice of including a Mint Mark on a bullion coin is shared with some bullion coins and not with others.

For instance, Israel's Holy Land Mint puts its Mint Mark of the "Star of David" on its "Jerusalem of Gold" bullion coins.

Australia's Perth Mint is known for adding its "P" Mint Mark on many of their bullion coins, and Mexico's Mint has on every Gold and Silver Libertad its Mint Mark of an "O over an M."

Note: The Mexican Libertad is a 'round' and not a 'coin' because it has no "face value."

Enhanced Anatomy
American Eagle Platinum
Bullion Coin


exploding coin obv


exploding coin rev

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Bullion Coin Anatomy

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