US Coins

Lord Baltimore Shilling finds a new home

A coin with a hole is usually called a problem coin, but all holes are not created equal. Some numismatic issues have inherent holes (think of a coin struck on a washer-shaped planchet) while others are always found holed because a hole was required to suspend the item, consistent with its original function. Other holes are considered damage and, with few exceptions, these holes always lower the value of a coin.

Several “holey” coins that sold at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Nov. 10, 2017, Session 7 auction held during the Whitman Baltimore Expo showcase the different effects holes have on the desirability and price of an item.

Here is one of them:

The Lot:

Undated (circa 1659) Lord Baltimore Shilling, Good Details, Holed

The Price:


The Story:

Lord Baltimore coins are relatively expensive in all grades, so a shilling graded Good Details, Holed, by Professional Coin Grading Service provided an entry-level example when it sold for $1,680.

Freedom and Liberty dominate the 19th century”During the 19th century, Freedom and Liberty often took center stage on American money. Also inside this issue, we look at a long-running series of auction catalogs that set a high standard for competitors.

The coins were struck under the direction of Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, who believed he could coin money for the colonies. Lord Baltimore’s coins, with his portrait on the obverse and with the reverse of the silver denominations bearing his family’s coat of arms, circulated in Maryland before and some years after his death in 1675. Many are found holed.


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On the piece it offered, Stack’s Bowers Galleries mentions, “The stated [holed] qualifier concerns a crude square-shaped hole through the upper obverse/lower reverse, this piece likely used as jewelry or otherwise suspended for a significant period of time.” While the portrait is nearly worn bare, plenty of detail remains on the reverse, and the hole kept the price affordable.

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