AW is a 19 year old college student. She is an undergraduate computer science major and is from Los Angeles County. She is Chinese American and has lived in LA all of her life.
Context: AW is a good friend of mine, so we sat down after dinner to discuss folklore she picked up across her life. She picked this practice up from her parents.
Collector: You have a thing with coins right?
AW: Ah yes!
Collector: Tell me about it.
AW: Coins, not just pennies, can bring good luck. But only if it is turned on heads. So if I am walking down the street and spot, let’s say, a dime or something. I will only pick it up if it’s on heads. Then it is good luck.
Also if I drop a coin in you guys’ apartment then I leave it there for good luck haha.
Collector: I picked up on that. Whenever we see a coin on the ground we just leave it.
AW: Yes for good fortune!
Thoughts/Analysis: This is a great twist on the typical finding a penny for good luck belief. I had never heard of leaving coins for good luck, only picking them up. I think this shows that both taking and giving money is necessary for good fortune. It might even mean that you cannot take and take without giving. Coins in general being used in this belief rather than just pennies might make someone believe they have more good luck because other coins are more valuable and you are likely to see them more.
For a variation of the lucky coin, see:
Brianna, and Brianna. “Find a Penny, Pick It Up and All Day You’Ll Have Good Luck.” USC Digital Folklore Archives, May 15, 2021. http://folklore.usc.edu/find-a-penny-pick-it-up-and-all-day-youll-have-good-luck/.