The miniature metal object, unearthed by a detectorist near Wetherby, is an example of a sceat, one of the smallest coins ever made in Britain.
Kat Baxter, the museum's curator of archaeology and numismatics, said the coin, which had been pierced, dated back to around 700 AD, and may have been worn around the neck "as protection, or as a spiritual symbol".
"More than 1,300 years ago, someone decided they wanted to wear it as a piece of jewellery because it meant something specific and personal to them," she said.
"Even after so many centuries buried in the ground, just seeing it today gives us a very real and direct connection to that person and reminds us of the history underneath our feet."
According to the museum, pierced sceattas are uncommon and are more usually found in Kent, suggesting the Leeds example may have been a copy made at the time.
The tiny sceat forms part of an exhibition exploring the evolution of money, which has attracted more than 30,000 people.