EXERGUE \ig.ZURG or ek.SURG\ n. a small inscription on a coin, usually below the emblem on one side
Most commonly, the exergue is located on the reverse side of a coin (what many of us colloquially refer to as the ‘tails’ side), and is often inscribed below a horizontal line that serves as the ground or baseline for an emblem. The exergue will often consist of the place and date of minting, as it does in the picture above.
It is handy to know, by the way, that the main side of a coin (the one often known as ‘heads’) is referred to by numismatists as the OBVERSE . With this term in tow, you are ready to read a catalog entry that might be used to describe the coin depicted above…
Obverse: HEIL DEM FRIEDEN ER SCHENKET SEGEN DER ERDE (Hail the peace which gifts the world with prosperity).
Reverse: UND MILDE WEISHEIT VERSCHEUCHT DEN VERSTORENDEN KRIEG (and gentle wisdom scares off destructive warfare).
Exergue: LUNEVILLE/ D.9 FEBRUAR 1801