Hoping to bring good luck to their favorite bills, California legislators, staff, and lobbyists toss a penny off the second floor of the capitol rotunda, trying to land it in the hat of a statue of Queen Isabella sitting next to her pageboy and Christopher Columbus. Unfortunately, the pitched coins have damaged the statue several times, tearing fingers off of the queen and her young servant.
The historic sculpture, according to Fox 40, is valued at $1 million and has sat in the rotunda since 1883. The statue depicts Columbus kneeling by the queen’s side, imploring her to help him fund a special trip that he is planning. The tradition is that if you can land a tossed penny in the Queen’s hat, the bill you want passed will be signed by the governor.
Although the lawmakers are good at passing bills, they are not very good shots, as demonstrated by the missing fingers. The errant coins have hit the statue many times and knocked some of the fingers off the pageboy and her majesty.
Ashely Espinoza, an elementary school sightseer at the Capitol, was distressed when she discovered that a finger was missing. Espinoza said that if she had less than five, it would make her sad.
Sightseer Jasmina Garcia was surprised when she was told that the pointer on the pageboy’s hand had to be reattached after someone had knocked it off with a wild toss. “Oh no,” she said. “I didn’t know they allowed that.”
Actually, according to California law, they don’t allow it. Fox 40 confirmed that damaging a historic state treasure is a felony.
Which leads one to the question, “is this tradition or is this felony vandalism?”