Coins for Luck Under the Mast

By Henning Henningsen, published August 1965


Coins were often placed under the mast of a sailing vessel to bring a fair wind, a good catch or profitable trading. Examples are given of such practices in historic vessels in the pre-1800 era from Penzance, Sweden, Denmark and the Orkneys. Later examples from the USA, Germany and Scandinavia are also described. Locations for coins other than under the mast such as in the truck of the main- or mizzen mast and objects other than coins such as silver nails or goblets were also used for superstitious purposes. Preference was frequently given to old coins, coins of precious metals or coins from foreign countries.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Baltic | North Sea | Other (Early Modern) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

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