For centuries, people have carried coins or medals known as “touch pieces” in the belief that the small amulet, if touched or worn close to the body, was imbued with the power to cure disease and bring about good luck. As far back as Ancient Rome, Emperor Vespasian distributed coins to the sick during a ceremony known as “the touching”. During the Stuart Monarchy in Scotland, the sovereigns were thought to be able to cure the sick simply by touching them and this power could be transferred into a coin. The amulets were given by the monarchs to sufferers of scrofula, a form of tuberculosis, and when the unfortunate was cured it was thought to be proof of the sovereign's divine right to rule (conveniently scrofula was rarely fatal and tended to run its course and clear up unaided). Even Theodore Roosevelt was never without his pocket piece – an ancient coin known as the Athenian Owl Tetradrachm. The coin depicts Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, a heroic Olympian associated with courage, strategy, and discipline. The back is her animal symbol, the owl, an animal also associated with knowledge and good judgement who according to legend sat on Athena's blind side so that she could see the whole truth.
By the middle of the 20th century, lucky coins had become popular in the US as advertising tokens and tourist souvenirs emblazoned with a lucky symbol or two and a company or city name. Some coins however, were still decorated with nothing more than symbols of luck and prosperity and were kept on ones person as an amulet of protection and serendipity.
The Sentinel is inspired by a coin designed for a despondent population during The Great Depression. The solid sterling silver charm features centuries-old icons of fortune – the lucky seven, the protected and secure closed heart lock and key, a four leafed clover, the wise elephant, a horseshoe, a rabbit's foot, lucky 11, and the all-seeing eye in the horizon line with the inscription "The All Seeing Eye Guards You From Evil." Another safeguard, the mano cornuto, or sign of the horns, has been added to ward off bad luck and the malocchio or evil eye.