A Penny For Your Thoughts

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At this time of year many a thought turns somber and rolls back to happier times.

Have you ever seen a headstone covered with coins? Actually, that is a common sight in many a cemetery across our land. But, what does it MEAN? What has the custom meant? How old a custom is it?

Sarcophagi as well as gravestones from the Seljuk and Ottoman Era are also on display in the big backyard of the Afyonkarahisar Archaeological Museum The Afyonkarahisar Archaeological Museum (also known as the Afyon Museum) is an archaeological museum in Turkey. Its coin collection is quite well-preserved.

Silver coins have also been found on Roman gravestones, perhaps indicating that there was a Roman settlement at that excavacation site. Perhaps indicating a helpful gesture to help a Roman soldier to pay his way over to the happy vale of heaven.

Turicum dating from the 185/200 BCE time was found on the Lindenhof hill. The gravestone was erected for one Lucius Aelius Urbicus. The inscription indicates a one-year-old child once was interrede there by his parents.

An article in NamPost suggests this might be a postage stamp for the interred friend beneath that gravestone.

The custom is not dying out. Hans Karl Burgeff died in Lohmar in 2001 CE. and was buried in Weibern in the Eifel. His gravestone was a represention of two wheatsheaves. It was made by his last master student, Ulrich.

It is no longer unusual to see some of the stones in our local cemeteries covered in various amounts of coinage. According to legend, the coins “belong” on the gravestones of U.S. military veterans.

Visitors who wish to show their respect leave coins on the headstones in different amounts. Leaving a penny simply means you visited and want to thank that particular veteran for their service. A nickel means you trained at boot camp with the deceased, while a dime suggests you served with him or her. A quarter signifies you are a personal friend or hold a close family relationship with the soldier at the time of departure.


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