Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cony-catching n.

also coney-catching, conny-catching, cony-catch
[conycatch v. (1)]

any form of confidence tricking, spec. card-sharping.

[UK]H. Chettle Kind-Harts Dreame E3: They open our crosse-biting, our conny-catching [...] our snares, our subtilties: for no sooner haue we a tricke of deceipt, but they make it common, singing Jigs, and making ieasts of vs.
[UK]G. Harvey Trimming of Thomas Nashe in Hindley Old Bk Collector’s Misc. (1871) 20: He [...] went coney-catching about for victuals.
[UK]Marston Malcontent V iv: That kind of cony-catching is as stale as Sir Oliver Anchovy’s perfumed jerkin.
[UK]Rowlands Diogenes Lanthorne 19: Innumerable such I could repeat That use the craft of Coney-catch and cheate.
[UK]R. Brathwait Barnabees Journal III N5: Thence to Hodsdon, where stood watching / Cheats who liv’d by conicatching.
[UK]J. Taylor Crabtree Lectures 43: Hast thou outfac’t him [a buyer] that he [a horse] had no other fault but that he took him when his feet were asleepe: and what was this better than Conicatching?
[UK]N. Ward London Spy XI 264: Being almost Drunk, their Brains ran on Cony-Catching.
[UK]Leeds Times 12 Dec. 6/2: For the most part [...] ’tis not art or skill, but subtlety, cunny-catching, knavery, chance, and fortune carries all away.
[UK]Daily News 5 Jan. 5/2: Coney-catching, or its modern equivalent, the confidence trick [F&H].
[UK]A. Griffiths Chronicles of Newgate 77: The term coney-catching had long been in use to define a species of fraud akin to our modern ‘confidence trick’.