Obverse and reverse

Obverse and its opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coins and some other two-sided objects, including paper money, flags, seals, medals, drawings, old master prints and other works of art, and printed fabrics. In this usage, obverse means the front face of the object and reverse means the back face. The obverse of a coin is commonly called heads, because it often depicts the head of a prominent person, and the reverse tails.

Roman imperial coin, struck c.241, with the head of Tranquillina on the obverse, or front of the coin, and her marriage to Gordian III depicted on the reverse, or back side of the coin, in smaller scale; the coin exhibits the obverse  "head", or front  and reverse  "tail", or back  convention that still dominates much coinage today. Legend: SABINIA TRANQVILLINA AVG / CONCORDIA AVGG.
A Roman imperial coin of Marcus Claudius Tacitus, who ruled briefly from 275 to 276, follows the convention of obverse and reverse coin traditions. Legend: IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG / VICTORIA GOTTHI

In numismatics, the abbreviation obv. is used for obverse,[1] while ,[1] )([2] and rev.[3] are used for reverse.

In fields of scholarship outside numismatics, the term front is more commonly used than obverse, while usage of reverse is widespread.[citation needed]

The equivalent terms used in codicology, manuscript studies, print studies and publishing are "recto" and "verso".[citation needed]

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