We've published a number of articles over the years about the old tradition of placing coins under a ship's mast for good luck in a ceremony called "the stepping of the mast". Here's the latest such story, from The Day of Connecticut.
With more than 100 people looking on in the Mystic Seaport shipyard Thursday morning, another milestone was reached in the restoration of the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan as workers reinstalled the first of the ships three masts.
The 68-foot-long, 4-ton foremast dangled from a cable as a massive crane lifted it over the hull and then down between the decks, where it was notched and wedged into place.
Before that occurred, though, 9-year-old Dylan Conforti of Charlestown, Mass., whose grandfather is a former chairman of the museum's trustees, placed a 1941 U.S. Walking Liberty silver half dollar on the spot where the mast would sit. It was in 1941 that the now 172-year-old ship arrived at Mystic Seaport.
Museum President Steve White explained to the crowd that there is a long maritime tradition of placing coins under the base of the mast to bring the ship good luck.
A 1841 U.S. Liberty seated silver dollar representing the year the Morgan was first launched and a 2013 U.S. silver dollar symbolizing the current restoration will be placed under the main mast and mizzen mast when they are installed Oct. 31.
White said the mast installation represents another important milestone in the restoration of the world's last surviving wooden whaling ship and in the preparation of its 28th voyage next summer, when it will sail to historic New England ports.
I wonder what condition the 1841 dollar is in (probably not an MS-67). It's more appropriate anyway that the coin show some wear, just like the historic ship itself. I wonder if there's another (remote) numismatic connection - Col .E.H.R. Green's grandfather (Hetty Green's father) was in the whaling business. Was this one of the Green family's ships?
To read the complete article, see:
Whaling ship Charles W. Morgan restores mast with silver half dollar under base for luck
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster