Saturday, September 26, 2015

9/26/15 Report - Pierced or "Holed" Coins: Characteristics and Uses. Slight Beach Improvement. Sea Glass Again.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Pot Shard and Sea Glass Incidental Finds
Here are a couple beach finds from this morning, They were eye-balled while detecting near low tide.  The blue sea glass is well tumbled and has a nice elongated teardrop shape.

Before I get into my main topic for today, I wanted to mention that the high tides lately has done some good, but not enough for me to  change my Treasure Beaches Detecting Conditions Rating.

I should also say that I would bet that there will be a few small cobs found.  I suspect they will be very few and very small.  The high tides have been dropping shells near the high tide mark on some beaches.

There are some shells and pieces of fossils on a few beaches now.  More than I've seen in quite a while.


If you've dug many coins you've probably found some that were "holed" or "pierced."  Over the years I've found everything from holed pennies to holed reales.  Probably most common in my experience are holed wheat cents.

You might have noticed the holed large cent in yesterday's post.  I pointed out the hole in one of the large cents dug by GoldNugget.

Holed coins are thought to have served a variety of purposes.  For slaves, it is said that holed coins were worn on a cord around the neck and served as a type of wedding band.

Holed coins may also have been used as charms.  You've probably heard of lucky pennies.  Some people wear coins bearing their birth year or other important years.

Some holed coins are simply used as a nice shiny trinket or adornment.

One coin found by archaeologists was punched multiple times and may have been used as a button.

Coins bearing two holes, one on each side, may have been strung together as bracelets or necklaces.

It is also said that coins were sometimes pierced to be sewn into clothing to prevent loss.

The practice of piercing coins may have been replaced to some extent  by the practice of mounting coins in a bezel.

One study looked at hundreds of "holed" coins offered on eBay.  Most had one hole, were holded at the top of the obverse (side bearing the main design) as if holed for hanging, and the majority were from the mid 1800s.

I think this survey of auction coins is great, but on a site like eBay, you never know how many might be copies, fakes or simply misrepresented.  Still, I think this survey is a good start.

The title of that study is Pierced Coins: Insights From eBay, by William B. Lees and Monica L. Beck of the University of West Florida.

Here is the link.

Here is something interesting on the subject found at another web site.

Based on my study of old coins excavated in Virginia, on average about eight per cent of the older coins have holes. Almost all are holed near the rim. Coins holed at center are unusual to dig. I understand coins used in West African rituals to be holed at the center and buried at the corner of structures. The tradition served to help spirits who could recognize objects they possessed in life, to find their way back to visit their living relatives when taken away from familiar surroundings...

That came from the following linked site.


Beach Near Low Tide Yesterday.

This particular beach has about twenty yards of flat sand out in the shallow water.  That sand came from the beach, which is now rather firm.  I chose to detect this beach rather than the steeper one with shells at the high tide mark.  This one had shells down near the water line.

We have a full moon tonight and will have another good high tide.  The surf will be increasing up to five feet in a couple of days, and the longer range prediction is for nine feet.  I can't get excited about the nine feet yet, because the long range predictions are not very accurate.

Nonetheless, it does look like we'll have some continued improvement in beach conditions.

Happy hunting,