Appropriately enough, for a term originally used to denote a Scottish halfpenny first introduced in the 16th century, bawbee (sometimes baw bee) has offered rich pickings for traditional Scots literature.
It has alternatively been used to describe a fortune (Sir Alexander Boswell’s Jennie’s Bawbee), and as a selling point for someone of modest means (‘bawbee baps’ are cheap rolls in Aberdeen).
Coulter’s Candy, an old Scottish folk song, refers to a bawbee in its more ordinary form:
“Ally bally, ally bally bee,
“Sittin’ on yer mammy’s knee,
“Greetin’ for a wee bawbee,
“Tae buy mair Coulter’s candy”
It also makes a titular appearance on Kenneth McKellar & Morag MacKay’s traditional ballad, The Crookit Bawbee.
The bawbee, introduced by James V in 1538, also came in smaller denominations - the half bawbee and the quarter bawbee.