Once carried around in the pockets of Londoners, the 400 quirky objects were amassed about a century ago by an Edwardian banker and amateur folklorist, who collected curious objects from sailors, costermongers (fruit sellers), and "mudlarks", children who once scavenged along the muddy banks of the River Thames.
"The objects themselves look ordinary but are actually extraordinary when you look at them carefully. They are a slice of life and there is something wonderful about them," head of public programmes at the Wellcome Collection, Ken Arnold, said.
I wish I could make it there myself, as I would enjoy having an opportunity to check and see how much magick is still present in the various objects after so many years. I've often wondered how much difference various materials make in terms of how long such a charm will last, and a collection like this provides a decent sample set.
In addition to four-leaf clovers and horseshoes for luck, the collection includes some more peculiar charms, inspired by folklore, ancient belief systems and a fear of witchcraft.
Mole feet would prevent cramps, a shrunken sheep's heart pierced with nails would protect cattle from witchcraft, and delicately carved hands from coral and shell were believed to avert the gaze of the evil eye.
The other question, of course, is the degree to which these objects work as advertised. Living traditions generally do a fairly good job of passing on effective lore, but at the same time a little scientific investigation couldn't hurt.