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Fun on Friday: What’s the Deal With Friday the 13th?

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It’s Friday the 13th!

You know what? It already seems lucky to me. Heck, it’s Friday. That’s a pretty good start!

I’ve never been one to get all torqued up about the number 13 anyway. In fact, I kind of like it. My preferred hockey number is 33 in honor of Patrick Roy and just because it has nice symmetry. But if it’s not available, I’ll go with 13. Why not mock the number gods, right?

Truth is I’ve never been particularly superstitious to begin with. Some people are though. I’ve known people who go through every Friday the 13th with a sense of abject dread. Not me. I figure a day is what you make of it. I’m not going to ruin a Friday worried about the number attached to it.

Also, if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a bit of a contrarian. I’m the kind of person who will walk under a ladder just for the reaction. I went out of my way to adopt a black cat. And if I break a mirror? Well, so what? The bad luck already happened. I broke the mirror, right? I’m not going to let that affect the rest of the day.

That ladder thing though  – you do have to be kind of careful. If there is somebody up there painting…well, you get the picture.

But if you think I’m nuts poo-pooing the notion of unlucky 13, you’re obviously not alone. I mean, fear of the number 13 (it even has its own phobia name — triskaidekaphobia — which is a wonderful word) actually dictates significant things in the world around us.

For instance, a lot of buildings skip the 13th floor. I always found that a little strange. You do know the 13th floor still exists, right? It’s not like there’s a giant gap in the building. You can paint a 14 on the wall and renumber the elevator buttons if you want, it’s still the 13th floor. Pretending it isn’t there is just kinda kooky. But then again, we’re dealing with people who are afraid of a number – so there’s that.

And get this: If you want to buy a property, finding one with 13 as the address will save you a little money. According to the Independent, on average, property number 13 on any street in England is 3% cheaper than their equivalent properties with “less sensitive” numbers.

So, what’s the deal with 13? Why is it considered unlucky?

As it turns out, it’s not just because Friday the 13th happens to be the day Jason runs loose and butchers people.

Some people trace it all the way back to 1780 BC. As the myth goes, we find the first reference to unlucky 13 in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi. The 13th article was supposedly left out. But as it turns out, the articles weren’t numbered in the original, so that couldn’t have been a thing. It’s like the 13th floor of every building. It’s there no matter how you number it. Anyway, as it turns out, a translation by L.W. King (1910), edited by Richard Hooker, omitted one article, which is apparently the source of the myth. By the way, the missing article was, “If the seller has gone to (his) fate, the purchaser shall recover damages in said case fivefold from the estate of the seller.”

There is also a biblical explanation for the unpopularity of the number 13. There were 13 people at the table during the Last Supper. The 13th person – Judas – betrayed Jesus. You might wonder what made Judas the 13th person and not Jesus or John or Peter. Well, according to tradition, Judas was the 13th man to sit down.

And Friday the 13th was, in fact, a bad day from some people. On Friday, 13 October 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the Knights Templar arrested. Most of them were tortured and killed, which admittedly ranks pretty high on the bad day meter. Seventy-nine years ago today, Buckingham Palace was hit by five German bombs. And on this very date in 1996 – a Friday – Tupac died after being shot in a drive-by a few days earlier.

But whether you take the Friday the 13th thing seriously or not, here’s a tip. You might save a little money if you buy gold today, according to the Independent.

The price of gold in particular – that most emotive of metals – seems to be hit hard by the ‘Friday 13th effect.’ Precious metals platform reported back in 2015 that gold transactions fall by an average of 39% on a Friday 13th, so if you’re planning to buy a few ounces today may be your day to snap up a relative bargain.”

So, there you go! Friday the 13th could be your lucky day. Just call one of our SchiffGold precious metals specialists at 1-888-GOLD-160 and they’ll hook you up with some lucky Friday the 13th gold. Just don’t be the 13th caller. That could be bad luck. But don’t worry. If you happen to be caller 13, they guys will just call you the 14th caller. Problem solved!

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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About The Author

Michael Maharrey is the managing editor of the SchiffGold blog, and the host of the Friday Gold Wrap Podcast and It's Your Dime interview series.
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