Origin of holes in coins

Danish coins, the 1 2 and 5 crown ones, have rather small holes in the middle. Various European coins have had holes. I asked about it in a discussion group and got this reply:

Others said the Nordic people got it from the Middle East who got it from China. Was there ever a practical reason?Clear cultural reason?

Well, really now. somebody here must know all about coins. And the rest, use your imagination.

Humans have experimented with all sorts of shapes for coins. We’ve pretty much settled on the round shape with occasional 6+ sided polygons, since other shapes have points which can break or wear off easily or be hard to make without any reciprocal advantage.
Having a hole in the coin can make for easy storage, as was noted in your viking story. In nomadic groups, wealth tends to be worn as decoration. (This is the origin of the coin covered costume in belly dancing) In addition, some cultures consider it lucky to find a stone or coin with a hole. IIRC, this is the specific reason why Chinese coins have a hole.
OTOH, if you’re an emporer & want to have your picture on all of the coins minted, a hole would definitly interfere. Since American coins and (I’m guessing) most European coins have a picture on them, the hole is not so popular in these areas.

The holy coins are the medium value coins. There’s even smaller ones, two, that have no holes. The bigger coins that have profiles or fancy artwork don’t have holes.

According to my old AD&D Oriental Adventures sourcebook, coins have holes so they can be strung together for easier handling of large sums. This is about all the input I have on this topic. =B^)

I’m not a warlock. I’m a witch with a Y chromosome.

I suppose the stringing theory is not too far fetched, but I suspect that its just a rosy story concocted to hide the less romantic reason. I wager that the true reason is not more interesting than to reduce the amount of metal in the coin. In ancient times it likely was originated to save valuable metals (when the coin was worth the metal its made of), and to make smaller denomonations larger and more manageable.

The only way the stringing theory holds water is if every coin in those systems had a hole, and I don’t think thats the case. second if this method was so efficient more countries would have adopted it. I don’t argue that folks likely strung them together once the holes were there, but its merely a beneficial side effect than the motivation.

One idea someone suggested in the Denmark case was blind people. With 7 coins in common use, you have to be able to tell them apart. None of them have the same diameter.
Some of the bills are of different size, too. Let’s see what they will do with the Euro. Denmark is outside of that for now.Guess they like their holy coins.