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Thread: Why holes in coins?

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  1. #1
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2008
    Berkshire County Massachusetts
    White's M6
    172

    Why holes in coins?

    I have an 1862 3 cent coin with a hole in it and I've seen numerous posts of coins that have holes punched in them. Was it common to use these as necklaces or charms?

  2. #2
    us
    Dec 2008
    Michigan
    Fisher 1266
    483
    95 times

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    The theory that you hear the most is that they put holes in them and then ran a string through the coins so that they wouldn't be lost. I guess if they had them all tied together there was less chance of losing them than having a pocket full of loose change.

    Wolverine.
    Endeavor To Persevere.

  3. #3
    us
    Sep 2006
    Montana
    11,702
    22 times
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mich. Wolverine
    The theory that you hear the most is that they put holes in them and then ran a string through the coins so that they wouldn't be lost. I guess if they had them all tied together there was less chance of losing them than having a pocket full of loose change.

    Wolverine.
    There ya go... I agree.

    Unless they were drilled to make jewelry or whizzers.

  4. #4
    Charter Member

    Mar 2003
    Indiana
    All types of BFOs owned. Especially want White's Arrow; White's Oremaster; Exanimo Spartan Little Monster; Garrett contract Little Monster.
    1,563
    11 times

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    holes near the rims were for bracelets or charms. Larger rim holed coins
    were for teething or birth years and ocasionally saw use as watch fobs.
    Larger round center holes were used as washers for slate roofs when the
    suppliers tried to jack up the prices from 1/4 cent each to two cents each.
    Ragged center holes were made by indians so that they could use them for
    buttons on leather garments. Two knots on a piece of rawhide did the trick.
    Wartime coins with holes were sometimes for hate money. I've seen them
    with holes like buttons in them. When it is on a peacetime coin it was for
    use as buttons so that people with arthritus could dress themselves. On
    wartime coins it was usually so they could be sewn to the inside of military belts as "hate" money and the coins were taken from the corpses of the enemy.
    Most of the coins on strings were center holed and they are still made that
    way in Africa. Some are found in the old slaves quarters of the south. Many
    slaves saved every penny they could get so that they could buy their freedom.
    siegfried schlagrule
    "We have done so much; for so many; for so long; with so little; that pretty soon we'll be able to do anything; with nothing at all."
    my unit motto - 138th Aviation Company -  224th Aviation Battalion - Phu Bai, I Corps, Republic of Vietnam - 1972
    Siegfried Schlagrule

  5. #5
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2008
    Berkshire County Massachusetts
    White's M6
    172

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    Interesting information! It sounds like you did some homework siegfried. Thanks for the feedback guys. bg

  6. #6
    us
    Dec 2008
    South Korea
    Cobra II/Minelab Sovereign
    1,263
    14 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    Just to add to Siegfried's comments. Almost 100% of coins minted in China, Korea, Japan, and (perhaps) Annam - VietNam - were holed, prior to the very late 1800's. Common story in all of these countries is that they were, indeed holed to put some kind of small rope, though them, and then they would be hidden under the long outer-flowing garments that were commonly worn in each of the countries. I think that that is mainly true, but it does not account for the many single-dropped holed coins that I find when THing in Korea. Only thing I can think of is that only the very wealthy had enough to put on a stringer, and the poor joes would put their single or several coins in whatever kind of pocket they had available. (Maybe MaMa would only let Dad out of the house with a few coins, so he couldn't get in too much trouble.....like my wife does me. )
    It wasn't me, but another hunting buddy who did find a stringer of coins in the hills....kind of stuck together, just as we see pieces of metal
    stick to other pieces of metal when left in the ground for a long period of time. He took time to slowly soak them in lemon juice, and let the citric acid do the trick.....a cleaning method I still use. He had a stringer of 56 of the larger denomination-2 coins....an average of 32 or 33 mms in diameter. All were Korean coins except one, and dated from the mid-1600's to the mid-1700's. The one was a huge Chinese coin, about double the size of the smaller Korean coins, and it dated about 1,000 a.d.......a truly great find.....and I could have killed him.
    Been jealous ever since. Why coudn't it have been me?
    Can't find it if you're watching tv at home, your machine isn't on, and the head of your detector is pointed up!!

  7. #7
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2008
    Berkshire County Massachusetts
    White's M6
    172

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    Very nice finds hikeinmts! He's lucky to say the least!! I can't imagine finding something that's a thousand years old!!! Thanks for the info. bg

  8. #8
    Charter Member

    Oct 2004
    N. San Diego area (Pic of my two best 'finds')
    Minelab Explorer
    11,623
    1556 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (2)

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    On page 236 of a book written by Homer Hulbert entitled "The Passing of Korea", he writes about coin casting, stating:
    "The metal was poured into moulds....... These were broken up, and the coins were strung on square metal rods that just fitted the (square) hole in the coin. The ends of this rod were then put in a rude vise, and men with enormous coarse files ground down the edges of a thousand or more coins at a time."
    In other words, in Korea the square hole was used in making the coins.

    Previous to square holes were round holes, but they could not 'hold' during this filing process, so square holes were introduced. Various cultures also used the round and square holes to symbolize China (square hole) and the Universe (round hole), for example.
    Don....

  9. #9
    seger98

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    I've also heard that in the logging camps up here in Northern Wi. that they use to sew them to the inside of their jackets so they wouldn't lose them & it was harder for someone to steal them from them. Also alot of lumber tokens from up here also have holes in them.

  10. #10
    us
    Feb 2009
    Pa
    Bountyhunter
    175

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    What ive been told by collectors of holed US coinage that the pre civil war coins were holed often to use as sweetheart tokens/jewelery or good luck tokens as silver was regarded as lucky.

  11. #11
    us
    Feb 2006
    GARRETT PRO
    10,845
    881 times

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Siegfried Schlagrule

    "....Most of the coins on strings were center holed and they are still made that
    way in Africa. Some are found in the old slaves quarters of the south. Many
    slaves saved every penny they could get so that they could buy their freedom...."
    siegfried schlagrule
    Interesting...I have a 1858 Flying Eagle Cent that is center holed...the hole edges are somewhat mushroomed on both sides...which means that a hole was enlarged possibly using an awl or a nail. Coin description is correct for the Civil War period...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1848 FLYING EAGLE.jpg 
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ID:	277863  
    The more one learns the more he understands his ignorance. I am simply an ignor ant man trying to lessen his ignorance
    Those with the most birthdays live the longest

  12. #12
    us
    Ace250man

    Jul 2004
    Shelbyville or any yard where the owner will let me detect!
    ace 250
    19,955
    59 times
    Metal Detecting
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    ive seen numerous old coins made into necklaces like that.
    ALLEN

  13. #13
    us
    Aug 2005
    Townsend, MA
    Garrett Ace 250
    237
    10 times

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    I have many 1800's US coins with holes. Makes it easier to collect as they are always cheap! I have large cents, half cents, old silver... you name it!

    I bought most of them one time when I went to Boston and saw a coin store (don't remember where it was... near a small graveyard that was tucked between two buildings). I guess some new guy had marked the prices on them and I bought several coin sleeve pages full for around $1 each coin!

    Snapped a few pics of some of my favorites.





  14. #14
    us
    Dec 2008
    VALLEY ALABAMA
    GARRETT GTA 500
    3,650
    1 times

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    i find at least 1 holed coin a week
    STRIPPING SILVER OUT OF BANKS AT FACE

  15. #15
    us
    Nov 2006
    N. Alabama
    Minelab X-terra 70, AT Pro, Tesoro Tejon, ML X-terra 50
    681
    10 times
    Relic Hunting

    Re: Why holes in coins?

    There was one use that I haven't seen mentioned (probably what the flying eagle cent was used for), that was nailing a coin to the center post of a new house for good luck.
    Relic hunting consists of a series of misadventures interspersed by occasional moments of glory.

 

 
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