phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Joey - threepence coin

Posted by Masakim on March 19, 2003

In Reply to: Joey - threepence coin posted by masakim on March 19, 2003

: : : : Apparently there used to be a British coin worth three pence, nicknamed a "Joey". I came across this word in George Orwell's Keep the Aspidastra Flying. Apparently the coin was very unpopular, either because of its unusual value or size? Does anyone know where the nickname Joey came from? Thanks...

: : : There were two types of threepenny pieces prior to decimalisation in 1972 - an small (8mm) older version, originally silver and a later, different, larger(13mm) and more common type of coin - 8 sided and made of some yellow metal. The former was known as a 'Joey', but not the latter. Sadly, I don't know where 'Joey' came from. If I find out I'll post an answer.

: : Picky point of order. The later threepenny bit, maybe now best remembered for the expression "she's got a fine pair of thrupennies", had 12 sides.

: *joey* means a fourpenny-piece: _joey_ equals _Joey_, diminutive of _Joe_, itself familiar for _Joseph_, the reference being to _Joseph_ Hume (1777-1855), English politician and an authority upon finance. The American _joey_ for a circus-clown comes from _Joseph_ Grimaldi (1779-1837), the most famous of all English circus-clowns. The Austrian _joey_ for a young kangaroo is a 'Hobson-Jobson' for the Aboriginal _joe_.
: From _Name into Word: Proper Names that Have Become Common Property_ by Eric Partridge
: ----------
: In 1836 it was resolved to issue groats for general circulation. The legend, four pence.... These pieces are said to have owed their existence to the pressing instance of Mr. Hume, from whence they for some time bore the nick-name of Joeys. (E. Hawkins, _Silver Coins of England_, 1876)

Sorry for my typo.
"The Austrian _joey_" reads "The Australian _joey_."