Another important aspect of the coin's design is the portrait. Generally, all the coins in circulation in US will have a portrait. The portrait coins have the Miss Liberty and the Former Presidents featured, but they never feature a person who is still alive. This is not the case in other countries such as England, where the living Queen or monarch is depicted in the portrait.
The date indicates the mint date of the coin and the letter rightwards to the date is the mint mark.
In US coins, the designer's initials are also present and it can be read using a magnifying glass. The US Lincoln Cent has the letters "VDB" embedded for the designer's initials, which stand for Victor David Brenner, who has designed the US Lincoln penny that has been in circulation since 1909.
When you view the side view of some of the widely circulated coins in the US such as dimes, quarters and half dollars, which are also known as clad-coins, as they have several layers of metal sandwiched between them. In the present day coin, the copper is found in between while the exterior layers are made of a silver-colored alloy known as cupro-nickel, present on both sides. The cupro-nickel coins have been in circulation since 1986. Cupro-nickel is the short form for Copper-Nickel, the alloys used in the manufacture of these coins.
When the US Cent was considered, there was a plain edge. These coins are known to have reeded edges and the clad coins are also reeded, such as the dime, quarter and half dollar coins.
Another category of coins, known as Proof coins, are manufactured using a special minting process and are of high quality. They are not minted for public circulation and are minted exclusively for the collectors. The proof mint process has advanced significantly over the past few years and the technology used in proof coins these days is known as cameo portrait.
Cameo portrait, or popularly known as cameo, are coins that are frosted and has a matte finish. It stands out from the plain area and has a sharp contrast to the otherwise gleamingly polished and shiny surfaces of the coin. However, the process of making proof coins has evolved only recently and the previously minted proof coins do not necessarily need to have a cameo. But all the proof coins are usually shiny, pristine and sport of mirror-like and bold surfaces.
Coins that have reeded edges in the publicly circulated edition will also have reeded edges in the proof coin edition. Both the circulated and proof coins of US necessarily have a rim. The type of rim used is known as upset rim. This is because, the rims are created by "upsetting" the machine during the minting process. Upsetting implies the upward setting of rim from the surface of the coin to create the rim. The technical term used is known as upset rim and this would impress coin collectors that you have a sound knowledge about the coin analogies used.
The main parts of a coin are as follows:
A - Obverse
B - Reverse
C - Edge
D - Rim
E - Portrait
F - Field
G - Mint Mark
H - Date