coins

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Amazing

Precisely Stacked Coin Towers That Defy Gravity

December 7, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Using common household props, Twitter user @thumb_tani stacks gravity-defying towers that rely on precise and calculated balance. Coins, toothpicks, and silverware are positioned to play off of each others’ weight in ways that might crumble with the slightest of touch. The sculptures go beyond experiments many might have seen before, ranging in shape from thick twirling cylinders to horizontal pieces that balance coins at the very edge of a knife’s blade. You can see more of his feats of balance, and incredible patience, posted to his Twitter. (via My Modern Met)

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Art Crafts

Elaborate Floral Scrollwork Engraved on Coins by Shaun Hughes

October 28, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Over the past few years we’ve explored a number of artists keen on transforming the faces of coins into sculptural artworks, a craft dating back to the 18th century that’s known colloquially as a hobo nickel. One such artist who has his own unique twist on etching the faces of coins is UK-based engraver Shaun Hughes who focuses mostly on embellishing existing coin faces with different styles of floral scrollwork. The patterns often sprawl directly across the coin’s portrait creating an intriguing tattoo-like effect. Hughes shares photos and process videos on his Instagram account and sells many of his final creations on Ebay.

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History

Archaeologists Unearth Trove of 2,000 Mysterious Gold Spirals in Denmark

July 15, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Bronze Age gold spirals found in Boeslund, 900-700 BC. Credit: Morten Petersen / Zealand Museum.

A team of archaeologists working in Boeslunde, Denmark recently stumbled onto an intriguing mystery: nearly 2,000 tightly-wound golden spirals dating back to the Bronze Age. The discovery of gold in Boeslunde isn’t uncommon, as numerous gold objects have been unearthed in the region over the last few years. But the purpose of these coils has stumped archaeologists who refer to the find as the “golden enigma.”

The spirals are made from extremely pure gold that was hammered flat to just 0.1 millimeter thick. Some pieces measure up to 1.18 inches long and all together weigh between 200 to 300 grams (7-10 ounces). Their exact purpose is anyone’s guess, but Flemming Kaul, a curator with the National Museum of Denmark, believes the coils are most likely related to prehistoric Bronze Age people who were known to offer gold to higher powers as part of sun rituals.

“The sun was one of the most sacred symbols in the Bronze Age and gold had a special magic,” Kaul writes. “Maybe the priest-king wore a gold ring on his wrist, and gold spirals on his cloak and his hat, where they during ritual sun ceremonies shone like the sun.” It’s also suggested the gold was simply buried as part of an elaborate sacrifice.

Whatever the use or meaning behind the pieces, it’s an extraordinary and priceless find. The local museum in
Skaelskor already held a temporary viewing before the spirals find a permanent home. You can read more over on the History Blog. (via Neatorama, Gizmodo)

Update: Adam Swickle writes: “The shavings are from shaving gold coins down. Merchants did this when they paid in quantity instead of weight, and that is why coins have ridges now, to show they haven’t been shaven down.”

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Gold spirals surrounded by flakes of birch pitch. Credit: Flemming Kaul / National Museum of Denmark.

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Gold spiral in situ. Credit: Flemming Kaul / National Museum of Denmark.

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Credit: Morten Petersen / Museum Vestsjælland.