Many people believe that finding a penny on the pavement is an auspicious sign. Some believe that picking a penny will bring good luck only when the heads are visible. A penny with its tails facing up should be then turned over so that somebody else could find it. Many people also believe that finding any penny, be it with a heads up or the tails, is good luck. You might have heard a familiar rhyme repeated various times: “Find a penny, pick it up. All-day long, you will have good luck.”
How did it All Start?
In ancient times, people saw metals as gifts from a Supreme being or the gods. It also included copper used for making pennies. People believed that gods sent down the metals to give people as their protection. If you find metal, you must pick it up, as it would bring you good fortune and protect you. Probably, this is how this belief came into being. Also, let us not forget the value of pennies. Presumably, people also believed that if you found a penny, it would, even though for a cent, would increase your wealth.
The Battle of Good vs Evil
Long ago, there was also this belief that a constant war between the forces of evil and good was always on. Often, things were viewed as either good or bad. There were no in-betweens. Hence, one side of the coin ( tails) was linked with unlucky or evil, and the other side (heads) was linked with good. Of course, many people collect the tails-up coins whenever they find them, without thinking about the misfortune or bad luck.
This Belief Seeped into Traditions
The belief that coins bring fortune or misfortune moved into various other traditions. You can find multiple examples of this. There is a famous saying among the brides that goes like this: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a lucky penny in the shoe.” Supposedly, these are the things that a bride should wear to ensure good luck follows her on the wedding day and in marriage. (See How much does a US Quarter Weigh?)
In the future, Pennies may continue to be auspicious, and this would be only because they are not used anymore and are pretty rare. In the current times, a penny is worth a hundredth of a dollar. However, you cannot buy much with just a cent. In fact, some people even claim that the costs of producing, handling, and counting the penny coins actually costs more than their actual worth. This is why some countries have completely stopped the production of pennies. New Zealand and Australia are among these countries, and chances are, the United States will be the next in line.