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Ligature – An Element of Coin Engraving Design

This is an image showing various text blocks - ligature.
Image: Adobe Stock / CoinWeek.

A printing, engraving, and general design term, a ligature is a combination of two letters into a single unit in order to appear more pleasing to the eye or to save space (or both). For example, “A” and “E” can be combined into “Æ”, or “O” and “E” into “Œ” – though ligatures are not confined to just vowels or diphthongs. The resulting coin inscription would have a different look, both aesthetically and spatially, than setting type for the component letters individually.

“Ligature” derives from the Latin verb ligare, which means “to bind”.

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