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