phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

See a pin/penny

Posted by R. Berg on February 04, 2003

In Reply to: See a pin/penny posted by TheFallen on February 04, 2003

: : there is fifty quid on this!!!!
: : See a pin and pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck!
: : OR See a penny pick it up......

: The following results from

: See a pin and pick it up - 102 hits
: See a pin, pick it up - 13 hits

: See a penny and pick it up - 52 hits
: See a penny, pick it up - 199 hits

: However, although to win the princely sum of fifty quid you'd need a definite reference (which I don't have), it seems that the original saying was "See a pin and pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck. See a pin and let it lie, you'll want a pin before you die."

: I took a look at some of the websites returned by googlefight in the searches mentioned above. From what I could tell, where people are using the saying for their own ends - usually as part of some charity drive or something - they're using the apparently incorrect "penny" version. However when the saying is referred to on sites dealing with adages and/or superstitions, it's far more likely to be the "pin" version.

: This may well be one of those cases where the original saying has been modified - almost by accident - into something that makes more sense to whoever's using it. Both versions are meant to encourage thrift clearly, but the "pin" version has far more superstitious and ominous implications.

: Phrases and sayings sometimes change for well-meaning but misguided reasons. I'm reminded of a previous discussion here over "Well if you think that, then you've got another think/thing coming", where the "thing" version is apparently by now more widely-used, at least in the US, in an unnecessary attempt to be more grammatically correct - much to my continued amazement.

: Someone else here will probably provide you with a documented reference, deciding the fate of the fifty quid once and for all.

It was originally "See a pin and pick it up," the first line of a poem in "The Real Mother Goose," the book with which I learned to read. alpha.html

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