Guardian angel coins, started by Augustine Dupre, originated in 1792 as a protective symbol of France during the reign of King Louis XVI. These coins have changed over the centuries and are carried as coins of protection by those who believe that guardian angels watch over them throughout their daily lives.
The original guardian angel coins were commissioned by King Louis XVI of France in 1792 as a symbol of French protection. After Dupre reputedly escaped execution by using one as a bribe, they quickly became a symbol of luck for the country. These coins were adopted over later centuries by followers of the Christian faith as a way to have a symbol of their guardian angel with them at all times. They are now sold as both coins and as charms for pendants and bracelets. They are also used as centerpieces for rosary and prayer beads.
The coins were also carried by pilots during World Wars I and II, including the German Luftwaffe, and the tradition continued through later wars. There is evidence of ship captains carrying the coins in their pockets and keeping them on their bridge dashboards for luck during harsh weather and protection against death on the waters.