Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Thirteens.

 Thirteen Unlucky.Thirteenpence-halfpenny. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Throwing the thirteens about. A thirteen is an Irish shilling, which, prior to 1825, was worth 13 pence, and many years after that date, although reduced to the English standard, went by the name of “thirteens.” When Members of Parliament were chaired after their election, it was by no means unusual to carry a bag or two of “thirteens,” and scatter the money amongst the crowd.   1

 Thirteen Unlucky.Thirteenpence-halfpenny. 


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