Coins

Photo of Coin Tree by http://apatchofshade.blogspot.com/2012/11

Photo of Coin Tree by http://apatchofshade.blogspot.com/2012/11

While surfing the internet the other day I  saw pictures of trees with thousands of coins hammered into them. The particular site I was on said that it was they were in Brazil (wrong) and that the Brazilians hammered them into the trees believing that if you were ill, this act would take away the illness. The reason they are still in there, all those coins is the other belief is that if you remove the coin then you get the illness.

Well, of course, it tickled my curiosity so I went looking. It turns out that the actual pictures are from Scotland, England and Wales.  Not only is it  believed  you can rid yourself of illness, but other things can happen as well. It depends on what kind of tree you hammer the coin into depends on the outcome.  So if you are looking for fertility you hammer into a Hawthorne tree. Need good luck?

Photo of Coin Tree by http://apatchofshade.blogspot.com/2012/11

Photo of Coin Tree by http://apatchofshade.blogspot.com/2012/11

Hammer your coin into a Sycamore tree. Of course, my first thought is that would kill the tree.  I remember when we cut down the large, sickly Elm tree in our front yard we hammered some nails into the stump to

hasten decomposition (still not sure if it was the nails or the lye that did it). Hundreds of thousands of coins in all different metals has to kill a tree, or at least one would think. Indeed it can and it does, and it seems that many of these trees have already fallen. The Votives (or coins) are still offered to the spirit of the tree though.

Photo of Coin Tree by http://apatchofshade.blogspot.com/2012/11/coin-trees.html

Photo of Coin Tree by http://apatchofshade.blogspot.com/2012/11/coin-trees.html

I also came across many other superstitions that requires coin usage.. Some you  may have heard. The poem “Find a penny pick it up, all day long you have good luck” I am sure rings a bell. (The original saying was actually “”See a pin and pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck. See a pin and let it lie, you’ll want a pin before you die.”). Or how about putting a penny under each window and doorway during construction? I had not heard of that one before an unable to find out why that would be lucky. It would seem unlucky to me if you needed that coin for flour or something.

Henry VII touch piece (high resolution) (Credit: Science Museum via Wellcome Collection)

Henry VII touch piece (high resolution)
(Credit: Science Museum via Wellcome Collection)

I also was lucky enough (yep, I said that) to learn about Touch Pieces. Touch Pieces were coins that was believed to cure disease, bring good luck, change people’s behavior, do something, etc.What most touch pieces have in common is that they have to be touched or in close physical contact for the power concerned to be obtained and/or transferred. Once this is achieved, the power is permanently present in the coin, which effectively becomes an amulet.

The tradition of touch pieces goes back to the time when the Emperor Vespasian (69–79 AD) gave coins to the sick at a ceremony known as “the touching”. The tradition in some form continued with Emperors, kings, and Popes touching coins and people in order to heal them,usually for a payment of some kind.

tails up penny - created by wiseman

tails up penny – created by wiseman

Although coins are mostly associated with good luck there are bad luck coins. Remember that penny we were going pick up? Only do that if the coin is heads up, tails up is bad luck! The Greeks believe that money attracts money so to empty your purse or bank account means you have bad luck coming to you. And of course, we have been warned the the love of money is the root of all evil not to mention the bad penny that always turns up…