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bigjarofwasps

Connecticut Copper "Witch Coin"

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Thought this might be of interest?

I believe it was a custom in the New World, for Colonists to hammer a coin over their front door entrance to ward off witches and evil spirits. This example I'm led to believe was dug up from a Colonial homestead in Massachusetts.

Would be interested to know if anyone has ever heard of this custom or come across such an example before? 

Witch coin 001.jpg

Witch coin 002.jpg

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I did a bit of googling... there is almost no mention of this tradition, just one guy asking if coin may be a witch coin.... the answer on that forum was rather negative.

Lets not forget, back in those times, as in Africa, natives had coins... but no pockets.... some coins were minted with holes in the middle... some had holes made, and where then thread on a string.

I saw a youtube video of metal detecting in the USA, they were searching for coins and on occasion turn up a coin with holes. the consensus amongst the coiners was for threading on a string.

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Witch coins are not pierced but bent so the tradition goes. However silver coins were often bent to prove they were silver

Paul

 

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Thanks for your replies chaps, all very curious. 

I have since found this.....

Coins with Holes

It is told that coins with holes are especially auspicious. An old superstition from England tells us that if you always carry a coin with a hole in your purse or pocket, you will never be without money.

During a new moon you must take your coin with the hole out of your pocket or purse. Hold the coin in your hand and spit on it for good luck. Return the coin to your pocket.

Also found that there  was the custom in ye old days in England of putting a coin in the brick work above a door for good luck, along the sames lines as a horse shoe I suppose?  Also the custom of putting shoes in walls for the same purpose? 

 

Curious to know what the thinking behind bending a "witch coin" was all about? Do tell Paul.....

 

Witch coin 003.jpg

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It was believed that a bent coin offered protection against witchcraft. Re coins in buildings a coin of the date was often placed within the building. Our shed/garage was originally a small Georgian labourers cottage, a 1740's halfpenny was found in the brickwork when my father was doing some alterations.

Paul

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46 minutes ago, paul wood said:

It was believed that a bent coin offered protection against witchcraft. Re coins in buildings a coin of the date was often placed within the building. Our shed/garage was originally a small Georgian labourers cottage, a 1740's halfpenny was found in the brickwork when my father was doing some alterations.

Paul

Thanks Paul that's really interesting. Does the coin your Dad found still exist, would very much like to see a picture if it does. 

 

Going back to the bent coin thing found this.....

In 1984, an archaeological collection at St. Inigoes, a long-standing Jesuit site in Maryland, uncovered an unusual coin: a 1596 Elizabeth I sixpence that had clearly been folded and straightened out again. Since silver coins have often been used in witchcraft and other rituals, the folding of the coin is a good indicator that it had been used as some kind of charm.

 

 

Witch coin 006.jpg

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 Silver coins were particularly effective against witches: the tradition of dropping silver coins into cream so witches could not keep it from churning lingered in Scotland into the 1880s.

Some lore insisted that a silver sixpence, used as a bullet, was the only effective weapon against witches who took the form of hares.

 

The folding of the sixpence may be a holdover from pagan practices: “The fold lines indicate that it was retained while bent for a lengthy period of time. By the time this coin was minted, bent coins had a centuries long history of use in sacred ritual. The bending process is believed to represent the creolization of Christian worship and pagan practices that include the ‘killing’ of an object to be devoted to a deity. As early as 1307, it was considered ‘the English custom’ to bend a coin as part of a vow to a particular saint.” Coins bent to invoke a saint were generally considered as a vow to make pilgrimage to a particular saint’s shrine. Bent coins could also be used in case of stormy weather or other disasters. 

Witch coin 007.jpg

Back in the `Witch trial days` in Salem, Mass, it was believed that if you carried a 
bent silver coin in your pocket this would ward-off witches.
Its why there were, it is believed, so many Massachusettes colonial coins were bent.
 

Witch coin 005.png

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Posted (edited)

Lost coins of early America................

Witch coin 008.jpg

Edited by bigjarofwasps

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Alas the halfpenny got lost about 40 years ago during one of my many moves.

Paul

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