A coin-like piece of gold was discovered on Overton farm land in Wrexham (North Wales), UK. Although circular and golden like many old coins, it wasn’t used for spending.
Only historians and archaeologists would likely recognize its intended use. Believe it or not, over 300 years ago it was used for "curing" diseases.
Although similar finds have been referred to as coins or medallions, they’re really known as ‘touch pieces’. In times of old, they were believed to cure diseases, bring good luck or perform other magical-like actions.
The recognition of touch pieces goes back to Ancient Rome when Emperors gave coins to those suffering in illness. In the times of kings and queens, many believed a royal touch could cure. After the touching, a ‘touch piece’ – like the one discovered – was often given as a reminder.
It’s easy to see how anyone who later recovered could have great fondness and even superstitious beliefs for their gold piece.
Experts dated the discovered gold touch piece back to James II, Kind of England (1685-88) in the 17th century. It’s a unique find as it may be the only one ever discovered in Wales.