The first US pennies were made of copper back in 1793. In days gone by, pennies could actually purchase things. If you're of "a certain age" then you might remember penny candy. Most general stores had barrels full of all different kinds of candy that sold for one cent each. A dime could buy you more candy than your mom would let you eat. But those days are long gone and candy bars cost nearly a dollar now...sometimes more.
There isn't any scientific proof, of course, that pennies actually bring you good luck. So where did this notion originate? According to many ancient cultures, metal was considered a gift from the gods. Metal was given to men to protect them from evil spirits and it is thought that the lucky penny may have stemmed from this tradition.
From 1928 to 1968 in Ireland, the Lucky Irish Penny was actually minted. In 1926 Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, was asked to chair the design committee for this very special coin. Well-known artists submitted their design concepts. The Irish harp, used on Irish currency since the 1500's was to be used on all coins, but the reverse side was to feature a series of farm animals that were so important to the Irish agricultural economy. Artist Percy Medcalf's design was finally chosen. Ironically, Mr. Medcalf was English and not Irish. After the last coin was minted in 1928, the "lucky" pennies were gathered up and melted down for their copper content. But it is no small wonder that the Irish still consider the few remaining Irish Lucky Pennies to be the "the luckiest piece on the face of the earth."
These days, the penny isn't worth much and many countries have discontinued making them. The US penny consists mostly of a zinc core covered by a thin copper plating. What might be interesting to note here is that the term "penny" isn't American, but is actually British. Nor is it the name for a one-cent piece. Originally "penny" was used to describe all coinage, regardless of its value.
How to celebrate Lucky Penny Day? You can go look for lucky pennies yourself or, do as I like to do, and that's to leave pennies for others to find. Nothing brightens up the face of a young child more than finding a bright shiny penny! To them, it's the same as finding a million dollars. And who wouldn't want to find that?
Don't forget to use #LuckyPennyDay on all your social media.