Artifact: 1856 Gold Coin

I wanted the 19th century character in my novel to come into possession of a peddler’s pack with some money sewn into the bottom. I figured about $50 or so would be the right amount, so I put that into the story. Then I started to wonder how many coins that would be and what size they’d be.

On Ebay I found somebody selling an 1856 dollar gold coin–three years before my character encounters the pack. So far so good–until the coin arrived in the mail. As you can see by comparison with the penny in the photograph above, the coin is tiny and weighs next to nothing. It would take a lot of those coins to be noticeable in a canvas pack. I had to start rethinking the amount of money and how big the stack of coins would be.

Since a five dollar gold coin is a bit bigger, I decided to have ten of those sewn into the pack. I don’t have ten coins and a peddler’s pack to test, so I hope it’s at least plausible.