The Scotch Bawbee

June 16, 2016

bawbeeIn Scotland the halfpenny is called a “bawbee,” but how it came to receive that name is not a matter of common knowledge. It appears that the first attempt at the portraiture of the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots was made in her earliest infancy, and her “wee” face was engraved upon the Scottish halfpennies at the time of her coronation in 1543, when she was but nine months old.

Portrait of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, at the age of 12 or 13. Painting by François Clouet

Portrait of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, at the age of 12 or 13. Painting by François Clouet

A number of these small coins are still preserved, and it will be easily understood that the name “bawbee” or baby, was originally given to the coin bearing the baby’s effigy. — Chicago Daily News, 1901

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 529

 

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