Why Do Modern Coins Have Ridges?

Coins have been used as a form of currency for thousands of years, and they have undergone many changes throughout history. One of the most interesting features of modern coins is the ridges that are present on their edges. These ridges are not just a decorative feature but serve an important purpose. In this blog post, we will explore the history of coin ridges, their purpose, and how they are made.

History of Coin Ridges

The use of ridges on coins dates back to the 17th century when coins were made of precious metals like gold and silver. Back then, people would shave the edges of these coins to get a small amount of the precious metal, and then they would spend the coin at full value. This practice was known as “clipping” and it caused a lot of problems for governments and merchants who had to deal with the devalued coins.

To combat this problem, coin makers started adding ridges to the edges of coins. These ridges made it easy to see if a coin had been tampered with or shaved, and it prevented people from clipping coins. The first coins to have ridges were made in the Spanish Netherlands in the 1600s. Other countries quickly followed suit, and by the 1800s, most countries were using ridges on their coins.

Purpose of Coin Ridges

The primary purpose of ridges on modern coins is to prevent counterfeiting and tampering. The ridges make it easy to detect if a coin has been shaved or if it is a fake. If a coin doesn’t have ridges, it is more difficult to tell if it is real or not, and it is easier for counterfeiters to produce fake coins.

Another purpose of coin ridges is to help the visually impaired to identify coins by touch. Coins of different denominations have different numbers of ridges, which makes it easy for people with visual impairments to distinguish between them.

How Are Coin Ridges Made?

The process of making ridges on coins is called reeding. Reeding is done after the blank coin is stamped with the design on both sides. The process involves using a machine that has a pair of rollers with ridges that press against the edge of the coin. The rollers are designed to cut grooves into the edge of the coin, creating the ridges.

The number of ridges on a coin varies depending on the country and the denomination of the coin. For example, a penny in the United States has 118 ridges, while a quarter has 119 ridges. The size and depth of the ridges also vary, depending on the coin’s denomination and the country that produces it.

In addition to reeding, some coins have other security features, such as microprinting, holograms, or special designs that make them more difficult to counterfeit.


The ridges on modern coins have an interesting history and serve an important purpose. They prevent tampering and counterfeiting and help the visually impaired to identify coins by touch. The process of making ridges is called reeding, and it involves using a machine with rollers that press against the edge of the coin. The number, size, and depth of the ridges vary depending on the country and the denomination of the coin.

While many people may not pay much attention to the ridges on their coins, they are an important aspect of modern currency. Without them, we would have to deal with the problems caused by clipping and counterfeiting, which would make it difficult to trust the value of the coins we use every day. So the next time you see a coin with ridges, remember that they serve a crucial purpose in the world of currency.