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NNP Blog

Oct 26 2021

Numismatic Superstition

Bent coins convey various meanings throughout history, with one idea being that ruining a coin symbolizes a sacrifice intended to win favor with fate. Sydney Noe wrote in The Pine Tree Coinage of Massachusetts (1952) “We are told that it was the superstitious belief of the time that wearing a bent coin afforded protection against the power of ‘witches.’ Some of our Pine Tree coins show evidence of having once been bent even though as we see them now they have again been flattened.” Superstition seems to run in inverse proportion to valuation, and it’s a safe bet that no one today is deliberately bending Massachusetts silver coins.

Link to The Pine Tree Coinage of Massachusetts on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/512405

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