E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Cross and Pile.
Money; pitch and toss. Hilaire le Gai tells us that some of the ancient French coins had a cross, and others a column, on the reverse; the column was called a pile, from which comes our word pillar, and the phrase pile-driving. Scaliger says that some of the old French coins had a ship on the reverse, the arms of Paris, and that pile means a ship, whence our word pilot.
A man may now justifiably throw up cross and pile for his opinions.Locke: Human Understanding.
Cross or pile. Heads or tails. The French say pile ou face. The face or
cross was the obverse of the coin, the pile was the reverse; but at a later period the cross was transferred to the reverse, as in our florins, and the obverse bore a head or poll.
Marriage is worse than cross I win, pile you lose.
Shadwell: Epsom Wells.
Cross nor pile. I have neither cross nor pile. Not a penny in the world. The French phrase is, Navoir ni croix ni pile (to have neither one sort of coin nor another).