Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lucky Lumps

I had occasion today to poke around in a box of badges I had hoarded over the years. I was intrigued to find two english thrupenny bits. I had nearly forgotten about this most unusual coin which I had handled as a matter of course for over a quarter of a century.

My main memory was of "Lucky Lumps". These were sweets, about 2" wide and resembling a mini rugby ball. They were made of a substance that would remind you of holiday rock and they had a sugary red coating on the outside. The lucky bit was that they cost a penny and if you were lucky you got a thrupenny bit inside.

The interesting thing about them was that the only thrupence in them was the briefly minted twelve sided brass-nickel coin illustrated above and below.

And it was directly spendable. Irish and British coins circulated together in Ireland up to 1971 when the coinage was decimalised both in Ireland and the UK.

The face of the coin evokes a distant age. The following inscriptions occur on my 1942 coin:

Georgivs VI: George 6th, father of the present Queen
DG: By the Grace of God (Thank God)
BR OMN REX: King of all the Britons
FD: Defender of the Faith
IND EMP: Emperor of India

Some mouthful for its day!

And on the obverse: the thrift plant and the date, in this case 1942, the year of my parents marriage.

I don't hold out any hope for the re-introduction of lucky lumps. No doubt the Health and Safety Authority would see this product as a threat to young innocents. If it didn't choke them they would probably die from the thrupenny germs.

No wonder today's kids have fewer immunities than their parents.


nuid said...

Kids would have had a hard time getting it into their throats, to be honest. We were more likely to break a tooth, and I don't remember anyone doing that. Isn't that odd? No way would it be tolerated today!

nuid said...

By the way, I was a lot luckier with those than I ever was with Prize Bonds or the Lotto.

Anonymous said...

King George's head looks like someone had a bite or two!

An Gradach

Póló said...


Definitely not mint condition.

Mouldy Monarch :-)

Bal said...

I do not remember Lucky Lumps but "Nancy Balls" (aniseed balls) were very popular in Tralee even if the colouring sometimes ran onto one's face or hands!
The daily telegraph (not my normal paper)says "Aniseed balls have been named the nation's favourite childhood sweets in a poll of confectionary fans." Hm!

Póló said...

We had them in Dublin too. No wonder they were favourites at 12 a penny and each one lasted an infinity.

Elizabeth Burden said...

Hi, Thanks for the description- I read about these in a memoir called 'Before the Bandits' by S.White. Who describes several childhood sweets and a lovely personal history of his time growing up in South Armagh- well worth a read, short but very sweet book.