Author Topic: Coin nicknames  (Read 15523 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2008, 12:34:54 PM »
A shilling was a bob in Britain. You wonder which Robert was responsible.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2008, 01:03:23 PM »
I searched for the etymology of this word duit:-

"a small coin < 'piece cut or tossed off' from Germanic *thwit-)"
Actually we have the same word in German, "Deut", pronounced like "doyt" and thus a little differently from the Dutch word. And while "Deut" refers to the coin (in the 17-18c it was used around here, modeled after the Dutch example), the word is not used literally any more. If something is "keinen Deut wert", it's almost worthless ...

As for the English predecimal system, that was introduced by Charlemagne here. 1 libra = 12 solidi = 240 denarii. LSD, sounds familiar? :) In Germany we even had the symbol "d" for Pfennig, see

(Note: Here we have the "d" in Unicode.)

« Last Edit: October 11, 2008, 01:05:08 PM by chrisild »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2008, 05:33:44 PM »
Are there any money-related names in the Netherlands, Peter? Here, Shilling is a surname, Penny a female forename. And then there's Mrs Moneypenny. Whether that names exists in reality, I don't know.

Once, one of my colleagues was a Brit called Halfpenny (I presume he'd have difficulties striking up a friendship with girls called Penny.) I have always wondered what his ancestors were doing around 1790 ...

There is a book listing and explaining Dutch family names (Huizinga's complete lijst van namen). A chapter is devoted to names having to do with money and the economy. Huizinga lists 143 family names in this category. One of the best known is Schimmelpenninck (it seems to occur in Britain also; I wonder how many British tongues broke trying to pronounce it). This name refers to a small coin (penning) that his been saved for so long, that it is covered with mould (schimmel) :o The name was meant as a compliment :)

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Offline a3v1

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2008, 08:12:10 PM »
And then there was this man wanting to register the birth of his third son.
When asked what the boy's name would be, he answered "Euro".
When he was told that "Euro" was not an accepted first name, he got quite angry. "What a nonsense", he said. "My first son's name is Mark, and my second son's name is Frank, and both names have been accepted with no problems at all".
Over half a century of experience as a coin collector.
Money is like body fat: If there's too much of it, it always is in the wrong places.


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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2008, 08:23:59 PM »
Which reminds me that Farthing is actually a surname.

The Secretary of the BNS is/was a Mr Charles Farthing - wonderful choice of name, and I wonder whether it influenced his collecting interests.


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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2008, 08:25:51 PM »
In English, older people would say, "It's not worth a brass farthing!" Whether said coin ever existed, I think not.

I believe that reference dates to the Richmond and Harington farthings of James/Charles I, which were privately produced and grossly underweight and not particularly popular, some of which were in a brass alloy rather than copper (assuming I have the story right so many years after reading it!)


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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2008, 10:33:45 PM »
The French-Canadian "30 sous" for a quarter dollar fits this pattern, too (and is in the same mathematical 6:5 proportion) - I'd be interested to know if the expression is still current, or if it's fallen into disuse now.

For its origin, bear in mind that the halfpenny was known as a "sou" in the 19th century (cf. the 1837 "bouquet sous" and other Canadian tokens at the time), and that the dollar was tariffed at 5 shillings (or four dollars to the pound) for the purposes of the calculation, at least, so:

$1 = 5 shillings
= 60 pence
= 120 halfpence
= 120 sous

Therefore a quarter dollar = 30 sous!

Offline redwine

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2014, 03:38:30 PM »
Thanks to my learned friend Mr Bagerap I was able to put together this list of English coins from the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by  Francis Grose 1811

Farthing:  Fadge, Grig, Jack, Rag, Scrope

Half Penny:  Bawbee, Magg, Make

Penny:  Souse, Win, Winne, Wyn

Two Pence:  Dace, Deux Wins, Dews Wins, Duce

Three Pence:  Threps, Thrums, Treswins

Four pence:  Croker, Groat

Six Pence:  Cripple, Crook, Crook back, Half a Hog, Half Borde, Kick, Pig, Sice, Simon, Sow's baby, Syebuck, Tanner, Tester, Tilbury, Tizzy

Shilling:  Bob, Borde, Button (a bad shilling), Hog, She Lion, Thirteener (Irish), Twelver

Half Crown:  Fore coach wheel, Half Bull, Slat

Crown:  Bull, Bull's Eye, Decus (under Melt), Rear coach wheel

Seven Shillings:  Spangle

Half guinea:   Half Bean, Smelt

Pound:   Strike

Guinea:   Bean, Canary Bird, Goldfinch, Huskylour, Job, Megg, Quid, Ridge, Stranger, Yellow boy, Yellow George

Also mentioned in the book:
A bit was apparently the smallest coin in Jamaica roughly 6d
Cob is a Spanish dollar
Dam is a small Indian coin (half farthing)
Flymsey is a banknote, as is a Rag, as is Screen
King's pictures is a coin
Loonslate is Thirteen pence halfpenny
Old Mister Gory is a piece of gold
Plumb is a hundred thousand pounds
Rouleau is a number of guineas wrapped in paper in 20's, 50's or more for the gaming table
Swimmer is a counterfeit old coin

And there are a lot of words for money, not surpringly!
Here's the reference work online
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 02:46:15 PM by redwine »
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Offline redwine

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2014, 01:58:21 PM »
Here's another list, this time gleaned from 'A dictionary of slang and colloquial English' (1905) Farmer & Henley

Half Farthing:  Q

Brass Farthing:  Farde, Harrington, Smulkin

Farthing:  Covent Garden, Fadge, Farden, Fiddler, Gennitraf, Gig, Gigg, Gigge, Grig, Jack, Jig, Q/u, Quartereen, Rag, Scrope, Token

Half Penny:  Baubee, Bawbee, Brown, Camden town, Flatch, Flatch-yennep, Galley, Madza-saltee, Mag, Magg, Maggie Rab (fake), Maggie Robb (fake), Magpie, Make, Mec, Posh, Scurrick, Stamp, Tonic
Penny:  Debblish, Brown Geordie, Brown George, George, Harper, Onee, Pegennepy, Pollard, Robin, Saltee, Saulty, Starling, Tolsery, Win, Wyn, Wing, Yennep

Two pence:  Dace, Deuce, Duce, Tuppence, Tuppeny

Three Pence:  Currants-and-plums, Pen, Threps, Threeswins, Thrums

Fourpence:  Bit, Castle-rag, Flag, Flagg, Flagge, Groat, Joe, Joey, Roaf-yanneps

Sixpence:  Bandy, Bender, Buck (compound usage), Crincle, Cripple, Croaker, Crook, Crook-back, Deaner, Downer, Exis yanneps, Fiddle, Fiddler, Fyebuck, Goddess Diana, Griff-metoll, Grose, Grunter, Half-borde, Half-hog, Hog, Kick (compound usage),  Kye, Lord-of-the-Manor, Pig, Pot, Shack-stoner, Sice, Simon, Snid, Snide, Snob's-boot, Sow's-baby, Sprat, Syebuck, Tanner, Tester (Liz I), Teston (Liz I), Tilbury,  Tizzy
Tenpence:  Dacha-saltee, Jumper

Shilling:  Abraham's Willing, Beong, Blow, Bob, Bobber, Bobstick, Bord, Borde, Boorde, Breaky-leg, Button, Deaner, Deener, Gen, Generalize, Grunter, Hog, Jogue, Levy, Lillywhite Groat, Manchester Sovereign, Mejoge, One-er, Oner, Peg, Rogue, Shig, Stag, Tester (Henry VIII), Teston (Henry VIII), Teviss, Touch-me, Touch-my-nob, Twelver
Florin:  Half-dollar, Owt-gens

Half Crown:  Alderman, Coach-wheel, Five-pot piece, Flatch, Flatch-yenork, Fore-coach-wheel, Geordie, George, Half a case (fake), Half an ounce, Half-dollar, Half Oxford, Half-yenork, Madza-caroon, Slat, Slate, Trooper

Four Shillings:  roaf-gen

Crown: Bull, Bull's-eye, Caroon, Cartwheel, Case (fake), Caser (fake), Coachwheel, Decus, Dollar, Evif gen, Hind-cartwheel, Hind-coachwheel, Ounce, Oxford, Thick 'un, Tusheroon, Wheel

Noble: Geordie, George, Yellow George

Seven Shillings: Spangle
Ten Shillings:  Gen-net, Half-a-rainbow, Half-bean, Half-couter, Half-Jack, Half-James, Half-Jane, Half-ned, Neddy, Net-gen, Smelt, Young illegitimate

Twenty Shillings:  Bean, Bien, Bleeder, Canary, Canary-bird, Chip, Couter,  Cooter, Dragon, Dunop, Foont, George, Gingleboy, Glistener, Goblin, Goldfinch, Harlequin, Heartsease, Horse-sovereign, Illegitimate, Jack, James, Jane, Jemmy-o'-Goblin, Job, Jobe, Meg, Monarch, Mousetrap, Ned, Neddy, New-hat, Nob, Old Mr. Gory, Ponte, Poona, Quid, Rainbow,  Red-'un, Redge, Remedy, Ridge, Shiner, Skin, Skiv, Sovereign, Stranger, Thick-'un, Yellow boy, Yellow-George, Yellow hammer

Guinea:  Bean, Bien, Canary, Canary-bird, Couter, Dragon, Foont, Geordie, George, Gingleboy, Goblin, Goldfinch, Husky-lour, James (from Jacobus), Job, Jobe, Monarch, Meg, Ned, New-hat, Poona, Portrait, Quid, Redge, Ridge, Shiner, Skin, Skiv, Stranger, Thick 'un, Yellow boy, Yellow George, Yellow hammer

£5: Abraham Newland, finnup, fiver, flimsy, lil ,lill, Marshall, pinnif

£10: double-finnup, long-tailed finnup, tenner

Other mentions of coinage / notes:
£1,000,000: marigold
£100,000:  plum
£1,000:  cow
£500:  monkey
£100: century
£25:  pony
Black Dog: c. 1702-30, a counterfeit shilling
Hog: In America, a ten-cent piece
Kid's-eye. A fippenny piece
Kidney: A fractional part of a shilling
Levy. Elevenpence in the State of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, the Spanish real, or eighth part of a dollar, or twelve and a half cents : sometimes called an elevenpenny bit (Bartlett)
Neddy: half a guinea or 5 dollar piece
North-easter: A New England sixpence or shilling
Pollard was a counterfeit coin worth about a halfpenny
Rap was a counterfeit Irish coin nominally worth a halfpenny, but intrinsically less than half a farthing.
Smelt: half a guinea
Thirteen (or Thirteener) was an Irish shilling, 13d.
Unicorn was a gold coin, value 23 shillings Scotch

I may well have missed a few , I did [edited]

Here's the reference work online
Most, but not all of the above are listed under Rhino.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 10:52:13 AM by redwine »
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Offline malj1

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2014, 03:15:03 PM »
In Australia apart from also using the quid, we had: two bob 2/-, a deener 1/-, a zack 6d, and a trey 3d.
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Offline davidrj

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2014, 03:53:09 PM »
Ones I remember growing up in Liverpool

Meg  & Apeney - halfpenny

Joey - Threepence (small silver type)

Thrupenny bit - Threepence (12 sided type)

Tanner - sixpence

Bob - shilling

Half Dollar - halfcrown

I think the poor florin was just Two Bob


Offline <k>

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2014, 05:18:55 PM »
Half Dollar - halfcrown

"A half a dollar", we used to say, but it is indeed a memory of those far-off days when you did still get four US dollars to the pound sterling.
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2015, 06:07:05 PM »
On a visit to the Netherlands I heard two Turks* refer to "kurus". When I asked (the kurus had long disappeared in Turkey), they said they used it as an alternative for eurocent, but only when speaking Turkish.


* A local minority, mostly economic fugitives.
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Offline Pabitra

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2015, 06:59:10 PM »
No Peter, disappearance of Kurus is an old story.

In 2005, Turkey demonetised and issued new Lira  = 100,000 Lira and 1 new Kurus and higher denomination coins made their appearance.
In 2009, they introduced a bimetallic 1 Lira coin and since then have 1 Kurus and above as denominations.
As a matter of fact, once a farmer tried to pass off 1 Lira coin as 2 Euro coin in Sunday farmer's market in Antwerp.

Offline Gagarin_Andrey

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Re: Coin nicknames
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2015, 12:33:07 PM »
In Ukraine is also very interesting system of nick names.
Now we use Gryvna, but some older people use to say Rouble meaning Gryvna as a habit from USSR.

A banknote and coin in 50 gryvna of 50 kopeck and any currency with denomination of 50 even now is used to say Poltinnik as the soviet coins of 1920-th and earlier in Empire.

The 10 gryvna banknote can be sayed Desyatka that mean like in GB Tenner and also can be Cherwonets like in USSR.

Young people can say as a local speach the first name of the painted person on the note, for example "Lesya" for 200 grywna because of the portrait of the famous poetess Lesya Ukrainka (real surmane was Larysa Kosach-Kvitka). The same way once I have heart according to 50 gryvna a nick name Grusha because of the portrait of the first president of Ukrainian People Republic of 1918, like the shorted variant of the Mikhail Grushevsky name, and it is also sounds funny, because Grusha means a peach. :)

For the dollars it can be used word Zelen' which mean green or Bucks.

For easy counting and short saying for the amount of 1000 of any currency can be sayed Shtuka ot Kusok, which means wordly "1piece".
Also for a million can ba sayed Limon as the same name of a fruit. People use to say also Half Limon (Pol Limona) and Quarter (Chvert Limona) and etc. But it seems to be these two last items come from the prisoners langauge environment.
These opinions can be effectively combined, for example a 1000 dollars can be sayed Shtuka Zeleni, see before )))

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