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Sunday, July 26, 2009

MIPC: Scrooge's Number One Dime

The Number One Dime is an artifact in the fictional world occupied by Scrooge McDuck. In Of Ducks, Dimes and Destinies, it is indicated that Howard Rockerduck brought the dime to Scotland in 1877.

Howard threw some coins from his pocket to a group of girls on the dock, one of which happened to be Scrooge’s sister, who gave it to her father. Scrooge’s father gave the dime to a man instructing him to give it to his son in exchange for shining the man’s shoes. However, since he lived in Scotland and the dime was American coinage, he felt cheated and saved the dime as a reminder to never be cheated again.

When Scrooge immigrated to the United States he brought the dime with him. While many of his friends and family ascribe magical luck giving powers to the dime, Scrooge sees it only as a symbol of the rewards of hard work.

In 1961 the Italian sorceress Magica De Spell debuted in a story titled The Midas Touch. It was her belief that she could create an amulet from the coins of rich men to make herself the richest person in the world. According to Magica's belief, the number one dime isn't the source of Scrooge's wealth, but rather the dime is special because Scrooge is so wealthy--a fact that many later writers have ignored.

Commentary:

Images of money have longed been used in folk magic traditions for the purposes of increasing one’s prosperity or conferring luck to its owner. In fact, the practice of using money to draw more money is a universal concept found in cultures the world over.

In the early 20th century novelty coins or pocket pieces were a form of advertisement. These coins were often given away to customers as lucky tokens. On one side of the coin certain words or symbols may be found, such as the world luck or a four leaf clover, and on its reverse would be the name of the company which provided the coin. The purpose of the coin was to promote the store and bring in more customers and therefore more money to the business.

In America, the most often used forms of money utilized in folk magic are two-dollar bills and Mercury Dimes, and it was considered even more auspicious if they were minted during a leap year. This is owing to the coin’s rarity as leap years only occur every four years.

Today with the advent of State Quarters and other special coins (such as those which can be made at certain tourist sites), many practitioners are utilizing coins as talismans for many other purposes as well. Some examples include:


1) I have heard of women using the Sacagawea coin in workings to conceive since the coin has an engraving of a woman carrying a child.

2) Coins from the Republic of Liberia which are engraved with an elephant holding its trunk up in the air used for drawing money. In Feng Shui, an elephant with it’s trunk up facing your door is thought to draw money.

3) Indian Head coins used to keep away the law.

4) ‘Hell’ Money used as currency by the dead.

5) Coins have long been thrown in wells as offering when making wishes.

6) Wheat pennies used to draw food into the home.

In my personal practices I have a South Carolina quarter in my medicine bag representing my home and my roots. I also carry a coin from an arcade that shows a wizard throwing off his hat and kicking up his heels in joy to remind me to have a sense of humor in life.

These are just a few examples of how coins are used in folk magic for various purposes. As you can see when Magical De Spell ascribed magical luck granting powers to Scrooge’s Number One Dime, she was following a longstanding universal tradition.

Carolina Dean

Links

Church of Good Luck: Coins and Tokens

Lucky Mojo: Silver Dimes

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