RAM Vikings – Coins as jewellery

coin with a ship motif on one side found at Lolland, Denmark. It's been dated 825-850 CE.

coin with a ship motif on one side found at Lolland, Denmark. It’s been dated 825-850 CE.

Near the entrance to the Viking display at the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) there was a really small display – featuring a single silver coin. It was just one of many exhibits that included coins used as personal embellishment.

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Bails for my homemade pendants

Heart-shaped pendant, with bail

Heart-shaped pendant, with bail

In my previous post, I discussed that I made my own bails for the pendants for my necklace project. A while ago I tested out this with sheet metal (coated copper) and showed the results in this post. My silver arrived, so I used similar steps with the silver as I had done with the coated copper.

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Skull print coin purses

Kiss-clasp coin purse and skull-print coin purse

Kiss-clasp coin purse and skull-print coin purse

Each year for the holidays I host a little craft get-together, and this year, while it was super small (it’s always so hard to find a date that works for everyone… Note to self – next year do it in October!) it was still fun and we made some cute things. I ended up making things for myself instead (since I had already bought most of my gifts to give) which included two small skull-print coin purses, very much like the sushi-print ones I posted about earlier.

The large black (with white skull-and-crossbones) coin purse has a kiss-clasp, plus a little ring for coins or to clip the coin purse to another purse. The larger purse is lined with the same fabric as the smaller purse. The smaller black and white skull print purse is self-lined, and has a snap closure.

I used the sushi-print coin purses to divide up currency during my trip to Iceland and Finland, and totally knew I could use a few more!

hand-made pendant bails

Reproduction coin with hand-made riveted bail

Reproduction coin with hand-made riveted bail

So this might not seem like much, but I was really happy that I was able to add a hand-made bail to one of my coin pendants. This is another of my ‘stretch’ goals in working on my Hameenlinna (inspired) necklace now that I have (most of) the right reproduction coins.

I used coloured copper sheet metal (24 gauge) from Michael’s, along with a selection of small rivets from Michael’s too. I THINK I can make my own rivets from wire, but I haven’t tried that yet.. maybe next…

I’m expecting a small order of sheet silver, which will be the more period material, and I really need to use some nylon-head pliers to avoid marking the metal – but I’m happy that I was able to figure this out to get one stretch closer to my stretch goal of improving my necklace.

Alpha Officium Viking Mix coins

Replica Viking Age coins from Alpha Officium

Replica Viking Age coins from Alpha Officium

When I posted my article about my Hammenlinna-inspired Viking Knit (Trichinopoly) necklace, I mentioned that I had ordered some replica Viking Age coins from – well they arrived not too long ago! I thought I’d share them with you, though I still have some work to do with them before stringing them on my necklace.

I had ordered the coins in mid-March, though they didn’t arrive until early June unfortunately – way too late for my competition piece, but still they’ll look great. I had asked them to be punched for stringing, and they arrived without holes unfortunately, so I’ll need to figure out how to punch them myself… in a neat way that won’t snag clothing when worn as a necklace or scratch skin. Some of them are a bit rough too, so I’ll need to find some kind of file to smooth them out and polish the edges I think… I wonder if I have a Dremmel attachment that might work? Luckily I got the mix which has WAY more coins than I’ll need, so I have a bit of wiggle and experimentation room.

I thought it was a really good price though either way, especially to get a lot of coins. I’ve seen other places selling them individually or for 2 – and for a lot, this was definitely the way to go.

The mix included:

  • 25 Dirhems
  • 25 Viking York coins – “Another Cnut type penny, unusual for its cross pattern.”
  • 25 Cnut Coins
  • 25 Eric Blood Axe coins – “A ‘King’ Of Viking York. 25 pewter ‘Silver’ pennys.”
  • 25 Tenth Century Saxon coins – “Tenth century Saxon Pennys.”

Photos from the Alpha Officium website

Omayyad Dynasty Dirhem from Alpha Officium (direct link)


Viking York “penny” from Alpha Officium (direct link)

Cnut the Great, Viking King of England coin from Alpha Officium (direct link)

Eric Blood Axe coins from Alpha Officium (direct link)

10th Century Saxon coins from Alpha Officium (direct link)

… and was $50.00 US plus shipping.

 My “horde”

My own personal "hoard" of Viking Age (replica) coins from Alpha Officium

My own personal “horde” of Viking Age (replica) coins from Alpha Officium

If you have fool-proof tips on how to punch holes in my coins for my necklace -please leave your tips and ideas in the comments below!

Update: I did end up punching holes in the coins, quite successfully using a jewelers punch and a set of needle files. A lot more work than I had intended to do with them, but a nice result!