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---------- interesting Things around Ancient Coins ----------
Holed ancient Coins

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Every now and also then you have the right to come throughout an old coin v a hole in it. Coins which were holed in antiquity are intriguing. Why to be this done? it takes time and effort, and also reduces the steel content of the coin and also therefore the value. Periodically a reason deserve to be found, periodically not. Countless holed coins will have been provided as decoration, or a keepsake. Part may have actually been intentionally defaced.

You are watching: Coins with holes drilled in them

Some can have been preserved on a pin for usage in emergencies. Or in part cases, holed coins that low worth may have simply been offered in some utilitarian method as a handy item of metal. Examples like these, and more, are shown here.

Coins Holed together Jewellery
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Asilver trihemiobol that Eion in Thrace, 500-437 BCE.

Most holed coins watch a bit like this one native Eion, enlarged top top the left. The actual coin is only 11 millimetres across. The cautious placing the the hole, avoiding any kind of damage come the design, makes it noticeable that this was pierced for usage as a decoration, possibly as an individual jewellery.

over there is a rim around the leaf of the hole on the reverse, which mirrors that it to be pierced native the other side, as you would execute if you to be being careful not to spoil that is appearance. This is a really archaic coin, from a time prior to it was typical to have designs top top both sides. Mine Hellenic holed coin collection page has actually several examples of fairly beautiful small Greek coins which have actually been pierced in this way.


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Acoin of Cyrene used as a pendant, fourth century BCE.

To display screen one next of a coin reliably, typically a tiny metal loop would certainly be resolved through the hole and also used to affix the coin to (for example) a cord or necklace. Just looping a cord with the feet to cave round her neck would display screen either side at random.

You can think that it seems obvious that if a coin has actually been pierced, that is to make it into an individual jewellery. After ~ all, if a contemporary coin has been holed, this is inevitably the reason. Because that example, in the joined Kingdom, Maundy money was frequently pierced to be attached come a charm bracelet. And, in fact, ns think that most of the ancient coins on my holed coin gallery web page were pierced for simply this reason.

On the ideal is an illustration native Ian Carradice"s "Greek Coins" showing a coin native Cyrene in phibìc Africa, made right into a pendant in ancient times; proof that this occurred at the very least once. Friend can"t see how the coin is attached, yet in this instance it might have to be soldered on.

That instance is a yellow coin on an elaborate necklace. Many coin pendants and chains will have been much simpler.

Centred Holes

Coins which have actually been provided as pendants or together lucky charms have actually a hole placed near one sheet to make this easy. Yet when you check out the selection of methods that ancient coins have been holed, you could agree the it is much better not to make assumptions, yet to start from scrape by assessing the evidence.


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Acopper as of Caligula v a Vesta reverse, 37-41 CE.

This coin the Caligula, on the left, may have actually been nailed to a shrine that Vesta. It was unlikely to have been used to glorify the emperor, looking at the way the hole has defaced his head. This is a relatively big coin, practically 30 millimetres across, and therefore a good choice for a display.


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Abronze coin the Gordian III native Singara, 238-244 CE.

The chunky coin ~ above the appropriate is also big and showy, a full 33 millimetres, and the feet in this one looks do to have actually a nail holding the in place. It also looks as though the head the the nail would have actually been countersunk into the surface ar of the coin, for a smooth finish. Even though the hole partially defaces Gordian"s head, it must have been over there to show off the emperor and his wife Tranquillina.

Multiple Holes
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Asilver antoninanus of Severina, wife of Aurelian; 274-275 CE.

This antoninianus of Severina is definitely an elegant choice as jewellery. It has two tiny holes in ~ opposite ends of the coin. Possibly it has been fastened come something, or maybe it formed part of a much more elaborate construction. It could have to be chained together with other coins to form a hefty necklace. Certainly two holes would not have been essential for a basic pendant.


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Asilver siliqua the Arcadius, 393-394 CE.

In this smaller and much lighter silver coin of Arcadius top top the right, the two holes are next to each other at the same finish of the coin. The may have been sewn ~ above a piece of clothing, probably one of countless such pieces in a glittering display.

Many late roman inn bronze coins are uncovered to have actually been holed. One concept is the soldiers may have actually threaded them onto their armour, where they would have served together a combination of decoration and also extra protection. Their worth as money was low, so this is feasible.


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Acast copy the a bronze coin that Honorius, approximately 400 CE.

Some instances have numerous holes, therefore they may have served some practical purpose. Top top this website is a quote native Marvin Tameanko, writer of "Monumental Coins," saying "Checking some notes i made a lengthy time ago, (sources unrecorded) ns found old holed coins, 2 or 3 holes, i beg your pardon were offered sewn in overlapping fashion to a leather tunic come make range (mail) armour. I additionally saw a multi-holed coin supplied as a strainer in the bottom the a clay funnel. This was used to strain grain the end of beer."

This example, oddly, appears to it is in a cast copy that a coin, and also its seller conjectured that it had been used as a button. Ns think the is a fair guess. There would be no allude in make a actors which can only have been meant to have actually a decorative function and then hiding it within a funnel. However it is far from gift fine work. The lugs at each finish are typical of an loose cast, and also you can see wherein two much more holes have actually been started and also abandoned. That course, it might be a rejected item that has been recovered in modern times indigenous some old waste heap.


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Abronze obol the Hadrian native Alexandria, 129-130 CE.

There is no doubt about the way this Alexandrian obol the Hadrian to be attached. The continues to be of 2 bronze nails room still in place. It looks together though the heads space on the obverse side. Doug Smith has conjectured around another nailed coin the it might have been fixed to a soldier"s coffin. That"s a nice romantic idea, however as the says, there"s no way of proving it.

You can see native the various colours that the bronze of the pond is a different alloy from the copper of the coin. In fact, Alexandrian coins often consisted of a ratio of command in your mix, giving them a soapier feel and often a smoother surface ar with less well identified details 보다 bronze coins of comparable age indigenous elsewhere.


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Abattered silver denarius that Septimius Severus, 202-210 CE.

This quit old coin has actually two holes. Your positioning, and the way the steel of the coin has been stressed and bent roughly them, imply strongly the this coin has been top top a pen or fibula. Can this have actually been a means of save on computer the coin because that emergencies?


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Roman coins threaded ~ above a fibula.

The snapshot on the right is from another old coins site, and also shows coins strung top top a roman inn fibula, supposedly so the they can be pinned to a tunic. The website doesn"t show any kind of evidence that this is actually ancient, and also the setup seems quite clumsy. It"s no that basic to do a feet in a coin, and also then, this must have actually hung awkwardly or dug into the wearer. So, ns don"t think my own example was pinned through others choose this. This certain coin celebrate the come of the emperor Septimius Severus into Rome, and I think it might have been made into a rudely brooch. If you look at the feet on the left of the coin, you deserve to see a groove which argues that a pin passed end the edge of the coin and also then behind the emperor"s bust, perhaps to display it. Mine romantic creative thinking shows it to me pinned come the tunic of a loyalist, shining out in the cheering crowd together the emperor do his officially entry right into the city. My creative thinking then goes on to show it gift ripped native his tunic through a thief, climate dropped in the chase and trampled by the hob-nailed sandals the the soldiers. Coins favor these might be in negative condition, however that only enhances their interest.

Almost Holes
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Abillon centenionalis that Constantius II, 348-350 CE.

Some coins show an attempt at a feet which has not been carried through. Top top the left is a centenionalis the Constantius II with simply such an attempt on the reverse. The within of the depression has actually the very same patina together the remainder of the coin, so it is pretty specific that the attempt to be made in ancient times.


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Asilver drachm that Corinth, 350-206 BCE.

This silver- drachm of Corinth has holes started on both sides. There"s no proof of what stopped them gift completed, but they execute look choose separate attempts. They room in various positions, so the hole-borer might not have expected castle to sign up with up.

Could this be check holes, dug right into the coin to check out if the is really silver every the method through? The possibility is there, however it is low. Test cuts and also holes were typically made in a thicker part of the coin, and also they space usually dug right into the coin, not very closely bored together these seem to be.

In neither instance is there any indication of why the feet was no completed. The boring procedure seems to have actually started well; neither coin has actually cracked or damaged under the strain; so this coins room mysteries.

Drilled Holes
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Asilver siliqua that Constantius II, 355-260 CE.

Most of the holed coins top top this page and in my gallery have been pierced with a punch. This is apparent from the crudeness and sometimes the irregularity that the form of the hole, occasionally by the deformation the the metal approximately it, and often by the lip of steel which has formed on the side far from the allude of entry, moved to one side by the punching tool and sometimes flattened roughly the hole. Yet sometimes, over there is evidence of a little an ext workmanship, and perhaps the use of a drill.

On this coin, for example, the hole is countersunk native both sides, leave no elevated edges. A punch can not perform this. Despite it is feasible that the hole was made with a punch, and also tidied through a tiny knife.

One advantage of using a drill or a knife choose this, from the allude of check out of the workman, is that he gets to keep a small amount that silver, the steel shavings indigenous the drilling. I wonder if the person who do this rather big hole, v its extravagant countersinking, had that in mind?

Plugged Holes
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Asilver siliqua of Constantine II, 351-355 CE.

Some holed ancient coins have been repaired, through plugging the hole. The plug is generally the same metal as the coin, or at the very least the same in appearance. Repairs are more common in the most an important coins, for this reason it"s basic to uncover gold coins v plugged holes, though ns don"t have actually one here. This silver- siliqua of Constantius II, the same form as the coin just above, has been plugged through a silver-appearing metal and also the end up of the repair is center rough, so it may well have been both holed and repaired in old times.


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Abronze follis the Licinius II, 317-320 CE.

On the various other hand, this bronze follis of the boy emperor Licinius II is of low value, and also has to be plugged through copper, which looks fresh and new, totally different native the greatly patinated bronze roughly it. If this were done as soon as the bronze was still shiny, it would certainly still have looked different; refined bronze is much yellower 보다 this metal. The crudity the the repair is constant with the low value of the coin, however the factor for that is quiet a mystery, specifically if that was actually done in modern times, i beg your pardon seems an extremely likely provided the clean problem of the plug.

Contemporary Fakes
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Afourrée roman Republican denarius, about 100 BCE.

I have actually come across several holed coins, supposedly for use as jewelry, i m sorry are noticeable fakes. Not modern-day fakes, but made approximately the very same time as the originals. Why would anyone usage an obvious fake as a decorate item? Well, it"s one means to manipulate it when you recognize it can"t it is in passed on together currency. It would obviously be the cheaper finish of the market, however might do a pretty item because that someone through a short income, perhaps a family slave.

The coin ~ above the right is a fourrée, a modern fake of a Republican denarius, and you have the right to see wherein the silver- coating has actually worn turn off to reveal the base metal beneath. It would have been rather a surprised if this just became apparent when the feet was first made!

There is an additional holed fourrée, this time that a denarius the Augustus, on my Republican holed coin gallery page.

Holes with Loops
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Abronze coin the Honorius, 408-423 CE.

Sometimes, holed coins are discovered with metal loops tho in ar though the holes. The an initial coin in this ar is a small bronze that Honorius from early on in the 5th century CE, and has a brass loop with its hole. Although the coin is heavily patinated, the brass loop is not. That does not look new, however might no be ancient. This is the type of loop you might expect native a skilled metal-worker of any kind of time because this coin was struck.


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Abronze Romaion follis the Maurice Tiberius, 586-587 CE.

This worn old coin is a byzantine bronze follis of Maurice Tiberius indigenous 586-587 CE. Most unusually, it has both a loop and also a chain! Unfortunately, the chain is absolutely modern. That is a machine-made contemporary plated brass chain v a modern-day fastener. That is really worn. The silver(ish) plating has come off all the exposed parts, and the fastener is grounding shut. This must have actually been a well-loved pendant in reasonably recent times, and also it is most likely that the coin additionally received most of its considerable wear relatively recently.

This modern-day fastener walk not hold to the coin. It is attached to an iron loop i m sorry looks somewhat older. It"s difficult to tell the period of this loop. Iron deserve to corrode and degrade very fast in some conditions. This loop is worn and also the surface ar is etched or eroded, however even so the is not likely to it is in ancient. It"s a pity the these attachments don"t come with day stamps as so many coins do!

Permanent Fixtures
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ASasanian silver drachm the Yazdgard I, 399-420 CE.

Sometimes, instead of looping wire through a hole in a coin, a loop to be attached. The loop ~ above the Sasanian silver drachm that Yazdgard I shows up to it is in silver, and also has to be soldered right into place. This gives a harmonious effect, and the coin would have actually made one attractive pendant. The coin is fairly worn now. It is impossible to be certain whether it was already worn once the loop was attached, however it is likely. When attached, the loop would certainly have defended the area just about it native contact, and thus native wear; and there is little evidence of such protection. So that is quite feasible that the coin was currently an ancient relic once this loop to be made. Together the coin is about 1600 years old, this still gives a wide selection of feasible dates for the loop.


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Asilver denarius the Hadrian, 128 CE.

Instead that a silver- loop, this denarius the Hadrian had a loop of basic metal, probably iron in this case, attached v a rivet. This watch clunky and unattractive now, however when it was new, this would certainly have gone to least partly balance out by the loop having a dull shine. You have the right to see the damaged ends of a silver wire passing through the loop, ~ above which that would have been hung.

I tested this attachments with a magnet, and Hadrian"s loop is attractive at about half strength. It could contain any ferromagnetic material, not simply iron but likewise cobalt or nickel. Yet given the rusty appearance, it is probably half iron and fifty percent rust.


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Asilver siliqua of Valens, 364-378 CE.

The siliqua of Valens ~ above the left has a hook instead of a loop. Favor the denarius, the attachment is of base metal, this one more than likely bronze, and is resolved with a rivet with the coin. This was certainly made to display screen the head the the emperor, and may have been resolved to a shrine that the imperial cult. One benefit of the hook is that the display could have been readjusted as conveniently as the emperors were in those times.

See more: Does A Parallelogram Have Two 90 Degree Angles, Are The Corners Of A Parallelogram 90 Degrees

The attachment does not respond come a magnet. As soon as it was made, it would have actually shone a glowing yellow, practically like gold.

You deserve to find nearly any mix of holes and attachments on ancient coins. These few illustrate few of the possible range. You deserve to see more, as well as some an ext recent examples, in mine holed coin gallery. These are my holed coin gallery pages:

Hellenic Coins —Roman Republican and also Augustan Coins —First Century roman Coins —Second Century roman Coins —Third Century roman Coins —Fourth Century roman Coins —Fifth Century roman Coins —Byzantine or Romaion Coins of later Centuries —Other Holed Coins of differing Origins and Times

The contents of this web page was last updated ~ above 5 January 2009.
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