Howdy, folks! I must say, this might be the most excited I have been for a Friday blog, so far. As I’ve said before, I’m a total fan girl of coins. But, perhaps my favorite thing to exist in the world is…football. College football, to be exact.
Technically the season began yesterday, but tomorrow I get to see my boys play- the Aggies. If you’re not a fan, don’t stop reading! This blog is not about Texas A&M (whoop). Combining my two loves, football and coins, is simple. Before every game begins, possession and field advantage is determined by a coin toss. The outcome of this could have significant ramifications on the game. Some teams need that initial scoring drive down the field to get momentum going. Some teams need a fast scoring second half start to rally and make a comeback. Sure, the 60 minutes on the field are most important, but winning the coin toss might give you the edge to get that “W.”
To give you a little history on the tradition of “flipping a coin,” we go back to the Ancient Romans. They began a practice called “navia aut caput,” meaning “ship or head.” Coins at that time bore a ship on one side and the portrait of the emperor on the other. Individuals settled bets and disputes with the flip of a coin. At this time, however, players did not call out their prediction of the winning side. The practice dictated that a player was assigned “heads,” and if the coin flipped landed on heads, they won. Because the emperor was the “head” on the coin, it was thought the emperor agreed with his stance if the coin landed heads up. Tails always indicated a loss.
Later, the practice traveled to England, where it was known as “cross or pile.” The British coins at the time displayed a cross on the obverse of a coin and a “pile” (i.e. pier, beam, column) on the reverse. Englishmen played games, using this method to determine winners in event of a tie.
Throughout history, the practice of determining one’s fate underwent many name changes, based on the currency being used. The first instance of the coin flip being referred to as “heads or tails,” was in 1684 by playwright, Thomas Otway in his work, “The Atheist;” he wrote, “…as boys do with their farthings…go heads or tails for ’em.”
Since then, the flip of a coin has been used to determine a multitude of decisions- some trivial and some of significant importance. Did you know the owner of Secretariat, the Triple Crown winning racehorse, was decided by a coin toss? Or that Portland, Oregon was a losing coin flip away from being named Boston? Even the Wright Brothers determined who made the first attempt at flight with a coin toss.
Today, we still use the practice of flipping a coin to determine a myriad of things- my favorite being used in football. Do you still flip a coin to decide winners? Have you ever won or lost something significant because of a coin toss? Do you have a lucky coin for the occasion? Can you find me a two-headed coin to cheat with? Let me know in the comments!
I think the 90% Silver Kennedy Half Dollars look like the perfect coin to use in my next coin toss battle. And, they are on sale!