People love putting holes in coins. Some countries designed their coins with holes in the center, France is one of the countries that produced a lot of holed coins for their colonies. But, why did people take coins and put holes in them? In this blog I’ll try to answer that question.
The most common coin that we receive in the shop that has a hole drilled in it is the old Large Cents from the early 1800’s. We’ve had large cents that were used for target practice, we’ve had large cents that had a hole drilled right through the center and we’ve had large cents that had a hole drilled just above Lady Liberty’s head. What does that all mean?
Back before the Civil War the price of the copper washers used in construction jumped to over one cent each. Many frugal builders realized it would be cheaper to just take the copper cent coin and use it as a washer. Also, during that time it was a token of good luck to take a copper coin and nail it to the main support beam of a structure. We have also seen coins with two holes drilled close to the center, most likely those were used as buttons. That explains why someone would drill a hole in the center of the large cent, but why would they drill a hole above Lady Liberty’s head?
Jewelry. The large cents were used as pendants on necklaces or charms on bracelets. I personally think the large cent was a bit large to put on a bracelet, but it would make a nice pendant. If you are wanting a large cent as a pendant, please don’t drill a hole in one, there are so many that have survived with a hole already drilled in it that you can pick one up fairly cheaply from your local coin shop.
Finally, some coins were just designed to have a hole in them. Whether it’s a call back to the countries heritage or they were looking to save on some metal, each case is different.
Thanks for listening.