(Last Updated On: November 7, 2022)


On May 23rd, National Lucky Penny Day hopes you’ll have good luck all day long. Heads or tails, does it matter which side you find your penny?


Years ago a penny was able to buy something. (Check out National Taffy Day – to see what we used to get for a penny.) Today, due to inflation, the penny does not buy much of anything. The metal value and cost of minting pennies exceed their face value. Many nations have stopped minting equivalent value coins and efforts are being made to end the routine use of pennies in several countries including the United States.

See a penny, pick it up. All day long you’ll have good luck.

First U.S. Penny

The United States first issued a one-cent coin produced by a private mint in 1787. Benjamin Franklin designed it. On one side, it read “Mind Your Business” and the other “We Are One.” This coin was made of 100% copper and was larger than today’s penny. It came to be known as the Fugio cent. However, the first pennies struck in a United States Mint weren’t produced until 1793, but they were also made of copper.

Pennies may not have much value these days. However, there are a few pennies that have made a mint for the owner:

1943-D: Lincoln Bronze Penny sold for $1.7 million.
1944-S: Lincoln Steel Penny sold for $373,750.
1943-S: Lincoln Penny made of Bronze sold for $282,000.
1909 VDB: Lincoln Penny sold for $258,500.
1856: Flying Eagle Penny sold for $172,500.

Why are pennies lucky? Well at one time, metals, including copper were precious material. Finding a penny was a valuable find. Sometimes finding a penny had more to do with the daily battle between good and evil. Do you only pick up a penny if it’s head side up?

Superstitions carry on from generation to generation. And with some of them the rule that says if you find a penny tail side up, you should flip it over and leave it head side up for the next lucky person to find.

On a wedding day, there’s also a saying that leads people to put a penny in the bride’s shoe. It’s more likely to lead to a blister than to bring good luck in that case.

When you are out and about, look on the ground for pennies. It just might be your lucky day!


See how many pennies you can find. It just might be your lucky day! Use #LuckyPennyDay to post on social media.

The National Day Calendar Classroom also has projects created just for the penny.


  • The word “penny” denotes any sort of coin or money.
  • In 790 A.D., Anglo-Saxon King Offa, introduces the first English coin known as the penny.
  • The first U.S. penny was the size of a half dollar and made of pure copper.
  • Benjamin Franklin designed the first American penny in 1787 known as the Fugio cent.
  • Visitors to the Ben Franklins grave in Philadelphia leave one-cent pieces there for good luck.
  • National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of this mint condition holiday.

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