The Latin word inversus derived in the French envers, which came to our language as obverse . This term is used especially with reference to medals, tokens and coins to name the most relevant face or side for the drawing they carry .
The obverse is usually the face that shows the face of a personality, a historical monument, the representation of a transcendental event or some allegory . The opposite side is known as back .
In this context, it is necessary to define the concept of numismatics , since it is about the study and practice of collect paper money and official coins in a country at a certain time. If the focus is only on paper money, the most appropriate term is notafilia.
The origins of numismatics date from the Roman Empire; However, so far the exact point of history in which it became a social phenomenon is unknown, where it is generally spoken of collecting. As a science, it can be said that it began during the 19th century, and its importance is incalculable, since its findings serve to reconstruct an essential part of the history of peoples, both aspects of their economy and their politics, their religion and their geography.
Thus, it can be said that the obverse is the most important face, while the reverse is the least important face. By extension to this idea , the duality between front and back appears in other areas beyond numismatics: papers, pictures and flags, for example, can also have an obverse and a reverse.
The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE ), in fact, recognizes the meaning of the concept of obverse in the field of the printing press to name the face where the print is printed first page corresponding to a sheet and the mold with which said impression is made.
Here comes into play the discipline known as coinage , which refers to the action of certifying, printing, sealing or coining a piece of metal with the use of a die or wedge. This is especially practiced on medals and coins.
The coined object acquires a value specific, exchange or intrinsic, and so when we have a legal tender in our hands we can know what allows us to buy thanks to the data printed on its front and back, although we ignore the value of the material and the processes used for its manufacture, since they have no relevance in a commercial exchange.
It should be noted that the obverse of the banknotes and coins is usually used to render different tributes . The authorities of a country , responsible for minting the legal tender, can make the decision to include images or portraits representative of certain characters or events of great importance nationwide. In Argentina, to cite a case, the government created a series of one hundred peso bills that, on the obverse, presents a woman with a handkerchief covering her head, the symbol of the Mothers and the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo .
In the cult language, the term obverse It can acquire a different meaning, away from material objects: it serves to describe the most important part of an event, an epoch or a process, among other spaces of time. For example, when talking about a discovery scientifically, we can say that it has a certain risk of environmental pollution as its reverse, but that its obverse lies in the opening of new doors to knowledge and a technological level growth unprecedented so far.