January 23, 2014

A Ha'penny Will Do...

 Part of a Christmas rhyme I learned and recited as a kid went like this:
"Christmastime is coming,
the goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny 
in the old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny,
a ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny,
God Bless you!"

The "ha'penny" (pronounced "hay penny") is short for the British half
penny. Aunty Margaret told me that when Great Britain went to the 
decimal system in 1969, they stopped striking many of the traditional 
coins, including the half pennies and the "lucky" sixpence.

When I was married in 1984, I had saved a sixpence to tuck into my shoe as
British brides have traditionally done for generations but it was minted before '84.

Yup. There's a rhyme for that, too. You've heard most of it before:
"Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, something blue...
and a lucky sixpence for your shoe."
 I recently came across an artist who creates pendants from coins. I inquired
whether she might have a sixpence from the year I was born, as well as a
 British half penny from the year Handsome was born. Because they stopped
minting these coins prior to our marriage, there is no sixpence for that year.  
I was tickled to find out that she did have both of our birth years in her stock.
 My pendants arrived yesterday and I couldn't be happier with them! Now, I 
have a choice. If I'm in the mood to wear silver, I'll wear the sixpence. The 
half penny has a coppery tone, so I can wear that with my gold jewelry. 

I've already taken the sixpence off the leather necklace and created something
different for it. I'll share that with you another time. For now, not only do I 
have my lucky sixpence, but I also have a ha'penny...and that will certainly do!

4 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

Createology said...

This is a very sweet and thoughtful idea. I just knew you would change out the black cording. Enjoy your lucky ha'penny and sixpence dear...

jenann said...

I miss these old coins of my youth! We collected them and swapped them, trying to find pennies from each year of a monarch's reign. I would walk to and from school to save the penny for my return bus fare if it was from 1901 or before - but I never got all the pennies for Victoria's reign!
My favourite coin designs were the threpenny bits (obviously worth 3 old pennies -just over 1 pence in modern coinage) and the farthing which was phased out just before I was born but had the most beautiful embossed picture of a wren on the reverse.

Little Birdie Blessings said...

These are lovely, thanks for sharing. ~ Abby

Anonymous said...

Would you share where you got these I would like to get one or two also.


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