Holes in Ancient coins, numismaforminisologia

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by MarcusAntonius, Jun 28, 2021.

  1. MarcusAntonius

    MarcusAntonius Well-Known Member


    Although I did try to find answers on this matter before did I stumble today over a interesting post on the site 'coins-auctioned'. Interesting enough to citate some parts of the post and share it here:

    It takes a lot of time and lessens the metal content of the coin and its value, so why were these ancient coins holed? Sometimes Roman and Greek coins were used as decorations by both males and females.

    Ancient people through the ages also used holed coins to nail them to a door or wall. This ritual is to praise the ruler or the God illustrated on them or in hope of gaining protection from the ruler or ancient god.

    Many holed coins have been used as decorations or as a souvenir. Some may have been purposely defaced. In some cases, holed coins with lower value may have been used simply as piece of metal. The following are types of Holed Coins.

    Several late Roman bronze coins have multiple holes. One significant theory is that armoured soldiers may have threaded them onto their weapon, where they can provide a mixture of decoration and extra protection. Their value as currency was low, so this is feasible.

    Silver Antoninanus of Severina composed of two different holes. This is a stylish choice of jewellery. It consisted of two smaller holes at opposite ends of the coin. It could have been put together with other coins to form necklaces. Certainly, two holes would not be enough for a simple pendant.

    Some coins demonstrate a hole which has not been passed through. One of the best examples is the Centenionalis of Constantius II. This Corinth has holes found on both sides. There’s no proof being revealed, but they do have a split attempt. They are in various positions, so the hole-borer could not have accepted them to fasten together.

    There is usually some roughness and sometimes abnormality on the shape of the hole, sometimes by the warp of the metal around it. There may be an indication of a slight flaw of workmanship. Bronze coins were drilled the most because of their cheaper value but gold and silver ones were also drilled by more wealthy individuals.

    Most of the ancient coins have been restored by plugging the hole. The plug is typically the same metal as the coin. Fixes are most common in the most precious coins such as gold coins with plugged holes.

    Another popular use of coins was in decoration on clothing or leather bags. Ancient Roman soldiers used holed coins in their uniforms and another use has been in leather bags where the coin would not be holed but would have a plug soldered to the coin and a hole inserted to add to a leather item.

    In Africa they would add a slug to a leather bag and hammer the end flat to make the coin fix permanently.

    I was thinking about the huge presence of wholes in Marc Antony's Fleet coinage, this was a good way to keep them save on your body.

    What about a Trachtenbelt, beautiful and great for a visit to the 'Bierfest' or just during the first date to display great honor to your German heritage? Perhaps not always a great idea for a first date.... second or third?

    Enough challenges to make a study of it, was thinking of the appropriate latin name for studying holes in coins, what about numismaforminisologia?

    A collector of holed coins, is that perhaps a numismaforminiscollector?
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2021
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  3. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..heckofva word man....
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  4. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I wonder, would @lordmarcovan be a numismaforminiscollector then? :)
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  5. MarcusAntonius

    MarcusAntonius Well-Known Member

    Does he wear a Trachtenbelt when het lets out his dog (or is he a catman perhaps, sssshhhhhh)?

    If so, there you'll have the answer!
  6. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I don't know either way, but he does have a fancy hat full of holed coins...so there's that :)
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  7. MarcusAntonius

    MarcusAntonius Well-Known Member

    There you have your answer, a beer lover with a hat which is inspired by both a Trachtenbelt and a River runs through hit fly fishing hat. Since he is not suffering from the proud German heritage part but still might want to flirt with the 'Bierfest' image is this plausible, very likely even.:angelic: Or perhaps is he a fly fishing fanatic, but a bit clumsy one who got tired of being hurt by his own streamers and decided to protect his head by sewing pieces of metal as armor on the hat.:happy: @lordmarcovan could you please shine your light on this?
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  8. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    :confused: I don't see a hole in the OP's coin. Is it partially filled? Question? Does anyone see a hole? This looks more like a punch mark to me because it does not penetrate the coin completely.
  9. MarcusAntonius

    MarcusAntonius Well-Known Member

    I own the coin, and unfortunately is there a huge unflattering hole, right through the faces of Octavia and Marcus Antonius in this rare Fleet coinage Æ 27 Dupondius, RPC I 1464

  10. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Well-Known Member

    Webster's dictionary definition of a hole : 1) an opening through something 2) an area where something is missing.
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  11. MarcusAntonius

    MarcusAntonius Well-Known Member

    It's complying with the definition of a hole, a forminis and even a ugly one!
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2021
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  12. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I don't think this applied to ancient coins, considering how clothing was fastened, (fibulae) but in 19th Century America the half cent piece is not uncommonly found with two holes for use as buttons.
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  13. norantyki

    norantyki CoinMuncher

    The typical gouge at the center of (especially provincial) Roman Bronzes is generally accepted as being a means of properly centering the planchet before striking.
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  14. MarcusAntonius

    MarcusAntonius Well-Known Member

    This is a German Belt Trachtenbelt:
    Yes, can only agree and it's very good visible in this example.

    RPC I  1290.jpg
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  15. Exodus_gear

    Exodus_gear Well-Known Member

    I remember reading a bit back about some theories as to how these holes or dimples came to be on coins. One theory stated that it could have been caused by a lathe like apparatus, they would use it to try and round the edges off. Second is that using the tongs to grasp the coin while it was still super hot, though this one didn't make much sense to me as you would assume it would appear on both ends of the coin and not just one.
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  16. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Seleukid Kings. Seleukos I. Æ 13.5mm (2.49g). Antioch. Holed in antiquity.
    Ref: SC 22
    ex CNG e-auction 349, April 2015, lot 730 (part of; unsold; John Mixter collection)

    John Mixter wrote: The hole has a rectangular shape which is most unusual in any size, but more so when it is this large on a relatively small diameter coin. It is uncertain what tool was used, though it is possible is was simply a large punch that was the only tool available at the time...."
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  17. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Thanks! Now I understand what a hole actually is! Bag marks, chop marks, punch marks, scratches, gouges, counter stamps, test cuts (?), corrosion pits, and marks from damage ARE ALL HOLES with different names.
  18. MarcusAntonius

    MarcusAntonius Well-Known Member

    The Kind of hole I was referring to is often called a puncture.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2021
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  19. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    I cannot speak for what any TPGS (except ICG) is doing at this time - especially NGC Ancients BUT this is a fact:

    Grading came into existence to DESCRIBE what a coin looked like when you could not see it and NOT to price it. Therefore, describing any mark INTO a coin that fits the dictionary definition of a hole as a "hole" would be misleading.

    That's why in order for a coin to be determined to have a HOLE, light MUST PASS THROUGH it. ;) Otherwise, it is a plugged HOLE. Any other depression into a coin's surface is given another name. They are not called "holes."

    I think most of the :bucktooth: folks in the world including myself understand this intuitively although if asked to dig a HOLE for a fence post they know it will not go completely through to China! :p:D
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  20. MarcusAntonius

    MarcusAntonius Well-Known Member

    Love the answer! In this case did at a certain time someone made an attempt to fill the puncture which makes it a plugged hole. I am in need of some help with the identification of a set of three coins (Cyprus mint).
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