. . . and a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe
Posted on March 28 2019
Most American brides know the traditional wedding poem well and often check off the first four items:
However, the last line of the poem is often overlooked:
First, a little history
Since the age of Queen Victoria, brides have been honoring the tradition of wearing a sixpence in their shoe on their wedding day to bless the marriage with happiness and prosperity. The sixpence is a small silver coin minted from the 1800s in England continually through the decades until 1967. Just like the name suggests, the sixpence is worth six pennies. Over the years, the coins have proudly displayed the crowned heads of British royalty including Queen Victoria, King George VI and most recently Queen Elizabeth II. Originally minted in pure silver, they were eventually produced at 50% silver and finally none at all after 1946.
Did you know?
We love the history and tradition of the sixpence coin. Here’s some other interesting facts about this long time wedding tradition:
- The sixpence is typically worn in the left shoe.
- The tradition began as a part of the dowery gift to the groom. As time went on, the coin became more of a good luck charm worn in the shoe of the bride on her wedding day.
- The poem first appeared in print in 1883.
- In the past, the Father gave the bride the sixpence coin to show that he wishes his daughter prosperity in her marriage. Today, any family or friend can give the bride her own good luck sixpence.
- The sixpence coin measure 3/4 inch in diameter, or 19.3 mm. That is slightly larger than a U.S. dime and smaller than a penny.
- The most recent sixpence coin features the bust of young Elizabeth II and the reverse side depicts four crossed sprigs: the Tudor rose of England, the leek of Wales, thistle for Scotland and the shamrock for Ireland.
- If you are looking for a 1952 sixpence, you may be out of luck. King George VI, who was Queen Elizabeth's father died in February of 1952 and Queen Elizabeth assumed the throne later that year. The only sixpence coins issued that year were a small batch that had previously been sent to the island of Jamaica. The first sixpence coins for Queen Elizabeth did not appear until 1953.
Where to find a sixpence coin?
- The CoinArt Company carries a variety of sixpence coins which can be purchased individually or as part of a gift package that includes a personalized poem and drawstring pouch (see photo top left). You can also select a specific year, from 1953 to 1967. For older dates, you can visit their Etsy Shop.
- If the bride and groom prefer a beautiful new sixpence to commemorate their wedding year, The CoinArt Company also offers a limited number of 2021 sixpence made of 99% silver straight from the Royal Mint in the UK (shown below left).
- Instead of a sixpence coin, you can also wear a lucky penny from the year you were born or a brand new penny from your wedding year.
How to wear the sixpence coin?
Instead of slipping it in your shoe, you can actually tape it into the ball of your shoe so it won’t move around. Another idea is to slip the sixpence into a small drawstring pouch and tie it into your bridal bouquet. Jewelry artisans can create special necklaces or anklets so that you can wear the sixpence during your wedding (see photos below). We found several such artisans on Etsy - Just K Jewellery offers a beautiful sixpence necklace and Sixpence for Your Shoe makes stunning anklets - both are actually from the UK! Penny's Coin Creations encases the sixpence coin in clear resin in order to preserve and enhance its shine and this also gives a slightly magnifying effect.
From top left clockwise: Sixpence necklaces from Penny's Coin Creations and Just K Jewellery. Anklet from Sixpence for Your Shoe and CoinSquare (coming soon) from The CoinArt Company.
What to do after the wedding?
First off, be sure to give your sixpence coin to a trusted friend or bridesmaid for safe keeping. After the honeymoon, you may decide to display your lucky coin with several framing options:
DIY CoinArt Kit
The CoinArt Company creates Wedding DIY Kits that you can easily mount your coin with either a personalized print or with a beautiful wedding day photograph. The kit comes with everything you need including frame, mat board, acrylic face, protective coin capsule, mounting tape and step-by-step instructions. A best seller is the Farmhouse Wreath which is personalized with monogram, last name and wedding date (shown below). You can customize the print with the frame and mat color that matches your personal style.
With CoinSquares, you have the option to encase your coin in an acrylic capsule for protection or mount it directly onto the mat. Each square measure 6” x 6” and makes the perfect accent on your desk, wedding gallery wall or other nooks in your home.
No matter how you decide to wear the lucky sixpence coin or how you wish to preserve and display it, may this time honored tradition from across the pond bring you health, happiness and prosperity!
Special thanks to the talented Yasmin Leonard Photography from Highpoint, NC for the beautiful bridal photo above and to Meghan and Ross Hartman for allowing us to highlight and share their special day. For information regarding any of the products shown in this blog post, we invite you to click the link to each artisan's Etsy shop or visit the website of The CoinArt Company.
Join us to learn more about Coins + Art, be the first to see sneak peeks of our new product lines and best of all receive 15% off your frame order!* CLICK HERE.