The meaning of obverse is confusing! Your definition states the meaning of the primary definition as being "the side facing the observer". If that were true, picking a coin up with the "heads" side facing you, you are looking at the obverse side. Ergo, if someone asks you to turn the coin to the obverse side, it would be impossible, as you are already viewing the "obverse" side. Is this correct? [email redacted] thanks,
Pete Dillon BsEE
Yes, that's correct. For a coin with an image of a person, the obverse is the same as "heads". You must have read the definition of the adjective. Have a look at the noun definition because it specifically mentions coins. Dbfirs 09:13, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
What do you mean, the "obverse" is the same as the heads side. What if there are two people, sitting head to head at a desk and on holds up a coin and looks at the heads side. The other is looking at the tails. Therefore both sides are the "obverse", depending on which observer you ask. But I think this is extrapolating, because in this context you would not use the word "obverse". It would be relevant if two people are standing facing a large square block and they are talking about the face facing them (the obverse) and the other side (I guess, the reverse). Then it would be important to easily distinguish between the "reverse" and "obverse".
For a coin, the obverse is the side with a picture of a head, regardless of who is looking at it and which side they are looking at. For an obelisk, the obverse is the side with the main inscription. I agree that "the side facing the observer" is a confusing definition and should not be used. Dbfirs 07:57, 26 December 2012 (UTC)