Greetin’ for a wee bawbee…

Everyone and their granny knows the famous Scottish song about a kid ‘Sitting on their mammies’ knee, greetin’ for a wee bawbee, tae buy some Coulters candy’.

This jingle reportedly dates back to the mid 1800s and references a child crying on their mum’s knee for money to buy some sweeties. Originally an advertising jingle for the aforementioned sweets, the most interesting part of the song is that it mentions a ‘bawbee’ which is a Scottish sixpence. Introduced in 1538 by James V, they remained as part of Scottish coinage until the reign of William II.

The bawbee features in many Scottish poems and songs and is occasionally still used as a term for money today. Lot 10 in The Coins & Banknotes Auction to be held on 18 March features an interesting example of a bawbee.

This particular bawbee dates back to the first period reign of the infamous Mary Queen of Scots. This dates the coin to between 1542 and 1558. Although these coins are no longer in circulation, they are of modest value however they make up for it with their history and the thought of whose palms they have crossed in previous life’s; who knows, it could have been Mary Queen of Scots herself!

This bawbee is estimated at £20 - £40 and is a mighty coin to include in your collection.



View The March Coins & Banknotes Auction catalogue here >>

Amy Cameron


Entries are currently invited for the next auction taking place on 29 April. For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation, contact a specialist on 0141 810 2880 or

What's it worth?

Find out what your items are worth by completing our short valuation form - it's free!

Get started

Get the McTear's News!

Sign up for our free newsletters - we'll never pass your details on to third parties. 

Get in touch

Upload images if relevant to your enquiry Add file
Select fileChange Remove