Appalachia Rhymes

See A Pin

See a pin pick it up

Last week it was a penny we were picking up-this week it’s a pin.


See a pin and pick it up
All the day you’ll have good luck
See a pin and let it lay
Bad luck you’ll have one day

This is an old, old nursery rhyme. It is in one of my Nursery Rhyme books. In the olden (medieval) ages pinners and needle manufacture were very important…and expensive! I also read that this was where the sayin’ Pin Money came from?!? For years when I was a little girl I would save every safety pin or straight pin I found in a jar on my dresser. Back then people used safety pins for everything. Especially those big silver ones for pinning diapers! Tiny gold ones for pinning scarves in place, and flowers etc.

(contributed by B.Ruth)


See a pin, pick it up,
And all day you’ll have good luck.
See a pin let it lay,
And your luck will pass away


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 the day you die

(contributed by Wanda)


See a pin pick it up,
And you’ll have good luck
See a pin and let it lie
You’ll want that pin before you die


Are you familiar with any of the pin rhymes above? The last one is the one I’ve heard Granny say.


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  • Reply
    September 12, 2020 at 6:44 am

    I remeber the pin rhymes and also remember when the word “pin” was substituted with “penny”.

    Growing up, my Grandmother always had a large safety pin pinned to her shirt for when she needed it.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    March 1, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Once there was a girl who had a new suitor and she wanted to make a good impression. She knew they would be taking a walk so she decided to stick a pin in a fence post and when she would pretend to see it he would be greatly impressed by her keen eyesight. Sure enough as they were walking she said “oh my someone has left a pin on that post. I must get it”. All wod have been well as she ran over to get it if she hadn’t tripped over a cow!!!!
    I know super Corny!!!

  • Reply
    March 1, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I hadn’t heard the pin rhymes but everyone in the family (both sides) had/have pin jars which contain both safety and straight pins. My straight pins make their way back to the pin cushion but the safety pins continue to collect in the “jar” which is currently a box.
    The phrase “pin money” has a different meaning for me. It was/is a small amount of money that could be pinned inside a small cloth pocket or (if paper money) directly to an undergarment such as a bra, slip, or, for the men, an undershirt.
    Grandma also had her egg money which she used to maintain her chicken flock and hen house and if she had extra, it was applied to special purchases – usually for her flower gardens, the house, or maybe an especially nice piece of fabric.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I grew up hearing those rhymes. My
    first daughter was raised on the cloth
    diapers and we pinned many of those
    big silver latch pins.
    I wanted so much to go to the Martin’s
    Creek benefit and to support Chitter
    and Chatter, but got things to do.
    Hope you all have fun…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 1, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Back when schoolboys used to really work, callouses would get pretty thick on my palms. I would pick up a pin or needle and with a pained expression on my face, push it through the callous then show it to the girls. Most of them would be “grossed out” by the sight. Some would just roll their eyes. Their hands would probably fit a hoe handle too.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 1, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Yep, I have heard most versions you listed….
    Just don’t let the pin lie, or lay for it reminds me of the rhyme that also is a good lesson!
    For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
    For want of a shoe the horse was lost
    For want of…..etc. ect. etc…
    the Kingdom was lost.
    I often wondered if my Mother was read that poem/rhyme for she saved every nail, pin, penny etc. she found. It could have been the depression livin’ that caused it…and/or the waste not, want not theory! At any rate a good lesson for youth today.
    My, my how much we throw away!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Some “throw and waste aways” make good mixed media collages…so there is hope in the artists eye!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    March 1, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Tipper: These ‘pin’ poems are new to me! It would be great to attend the
    BENEFIT this afternoon. I hope the weather is great as well as the event. I know the girls will bring great style to the program!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    March 1, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I don’t remember that nursery rhyme, but I am a saver – all types of pins are placed in a container, especially straight pins. They were used for various types of sewing, heming, etc. Maybe I will win the lottery for the good luck they bring, that is, if I played the lottery. Good luck to the girls today! Wish I could be there to listen.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 1, 2014 at 7:41 am

    I don’t recall ever hearing any of these pen rhymes. Like B Ruth, I do remember when pins were very important things to have. We made repairs with pins, we made alterations with pins. We had the great big pins saved for diapers, you could use a small pin to replace a missing button, if it was a flat face button. You could even pin up a dress hem that came loose with the little pins.
    We always had a bowl just for pins of all sizes. Tipper you have that little green dresser bowl of my mothers. It was the safety pin container we used all my growing up life.
    I have safety pins now but rarely use them. I keep them out of habit, a very old habit. I rarely do anything with them but I don’t know what I’d do without them!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 1, 2014 at 7:38 am

    I don’t remember ever hearing this one. Wish we were there for the girls. I enjoy hearing and seeing them.

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