Thursday, October 14, 2021

Deciding the Obverse and the Reverse of the Ser Nya Maartam

Our Maartams were hammered a few centuries back – thus it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty which side of the coin was intended to be the obverse and which side the reverse.

I was for a moment perplexed as to how to decide on the following coin’s sides. Outside historians call this coin “2 Fish Coin”. But I am changing that. I am going to call this variety of coins – the “Ser Nya Maartams” because one side of the coin depicts one of our Tashi Taag Gye (8 Lucky Signs) – the Ser Nya. The other side depicts the Bengali/Assamese term “Dhra”.

Ser Nya Maartam with a Cross on the Obverse

In truth, there appears to be an accepted convention in the minting world – that the obverse side should hold the more important information or that the start of the information should begin at the obverse of the coin and end with the reverse of the coin. This would imply that we should designate the side with the important information as the obverse and the other as the reverse.

Thus, since the Ser Nya is more important to the Bhutanese than the Bengali/Assamese “Dhra”, we should, therefore, designate the side with the Ser Nya as the obverse of the coin.

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