Both scenarios are proven fact, which ironically means that it is impossible to tell for sure which is the case with any given coin.
Fairly current, or contemporaneous, holed coins have been found in Roman
graves. They are usually associated with a child's bulla
. A bulla
is a necklace for a child. It had
apatropaic powers - that is it was believed to be able to protect the child from harm and evil through its magic warding powers. The bulla
was removed when a child finished adolescence. In addition to a specific small capsule holding a charm - which is itself known as a bulla
- the entire bulla
necklace could have many items on it like a modern charm bracelet. They are known with coins, beads, bits of shell or ostrich egg
, small egyptian
figures, etc. Though not proven, I suspect that the coins were also believed to have apatropaic powers.
Your coin would combine the powers of providentia
with that of the Sun god, through his
high priest Elagabalus
However, holed coins are also found in graves, including as part
of necklaces or earrings, as late as tenth century Magyar graves - and maybe even later. In these later graves they are not limited to child's graves and we don't know exactly why they were used.
There are two clues with yours. A few hundred km beyond the limes
and its good
My guess would therefore be used by a "barbarian", fairly contemporaneously with its issues - i.e. maybe sometime in the mid to late 3rd century. But for unknown reasons - jewellery, magic protection, luck?