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Bent or Bad Penny

Posted by Wally Robertson on November 15, 2003

I came across a refgerence to a bad penny in a book (The Bone Pedlar, Sylvian Hamilton). The context is a discussion between a father visiting his daughter in her convent in 1210:
"I prayed for you all the time. I told Our Lady all about you. I bent a penny to her for you. .... It didn't work. You caught a cold. ..... Do you think it might have been a bad penny?"
I've heard the term, "Queer as a bent penny", and never known its derivation.
Can anyone give me some informed background on this?
Thanks in advance. Wal