E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
means simply what is visible. As things are distinguished by their visible forms, it has come to mean kind or class. As drugs and condiments at one time formed the most important articles of merchandise, they were called speciesstill retained in the French épices, and English spices. Again, as bank-notes represent money, money itself is called specie, the thing represented.