Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cole n.

also coal
[SE coal, the staple, as a heat-provider, of everyday life, as is money. Cole had faded by 19C but post the cole lasted, increasingly in metaphorical use, until late 19C. Also ? link to SE cole, brassica, an earlier play on cabbage n.2 (3a); however note Fr. 15C Provencal coler, to follow an occuption, ult. Latin colere, to cultivate]

1. (UK Und.) money.

[UK]Greene Second Part of Conny-Catching in Grosart (1881–3) X 110: It fortuned that a Nip and his staul drinking at the three Tuns in Newgate market, sitting in one of the roomes next to the streete, they might perceiue wher a meale man stood selling of meale, and had a large bag by his side, where by coniecture there was some store of mony: the old Coole, the old cut-purse I mean, spying this, was delighted with the shew of so glorious an object.
[UK]New Brawle 11: Go, go ye Bulking Roague you, go to your fellow Pick-pockets sirrah, go Pinch the Rum Culle again of the Coale.
‘Peter Aretine’ Strange Newes 3: Wand. Wh—. For when the Cole is gone, the simple Elf / Is not the owner of it, but my self.
[UK]‘L.B.’ New Academy of Complements 205: The thirteenth a Fambler, false rings for to sell, / When a Mob he has bit, his Cole he will tell.
[UK]A Newgate ex-prisoner A Warning for House-Keepers 5: We bite the Culley of his cole / But we are rubbed unto the Whitt.
[UK]T. Shadwell Squire of Alsatia I i: Coal is, in the language of the witty, money; the ready, the rhino. Thou shalt be rhinocerical, my lad, thou shalt.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Moveables, Rings, Watches, Swords, and such Toies of value. As we bit all the Cull’s Cole and Moveables, we Won all the Man’s Money, Rings, Watches, &c.
Song of the 17C quoted in Nares Gloss. (1859) 114: The twelfth a trapan, if a cull he doth meet, He naps all his cole, and turns him i’ the street.
[UK]T. Brown Amusements Serious and Comical in Works (1744) III 18: But as it [i.e. St Paul’s Cathedral] fell before, by fire, / Which they destroy’d it whole, / So now to heav’n its heights affirm, / And rise again by coal.
Life and Glorious Actions of [...] Jonathan Wilde 31: He must of necessity [...] convey him thereunto [i.e to Newgate] provided he doth not come down the Civil Coal (viz. Civility Money).
[UK]J. Dalton Narrative of Street-Robberies 8: They us’d him only as a Baggage Man; that is, to loop off with the Cole when they had made a Prey.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 74: I was forced to come down some more Cole.
[UK] in H. Walpole ballad Letters I (1891) 86: This our Captain no sooner had finger’d the cole, But he hies him abroad with his good Madam Vole.
[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans IV 102: He gave her the cole.
[UK]Nancy Dawson’s Jests 33: They will handsomely down with the cole.
[UK]D. Gunston (ed.) Jemmy Twitcher’s Jests 15: Conundrums [...] Why is a large fire like a spendthrift? Answer. Because it consumes the cole.
[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Song Smith 47: While our belles, in new bonnets to set off their hair, / First spend all their cole, then the skuttle they wear.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 611: Here comes the gay fellows, here they come upon the trot, all eager and anxious to mark the first blow, start the odds, and curry the coal.* [* Curry the coal — Make sure of the money].
[UK]London Standard 19 Jan. 3/4: Bee! Ba! Black sheep, have you any cole* [*Cole — the stuff, the stumpy, money].
[UK] ‘Let Shame Crown the Strumpet’ Flash Casket 56: Spoonies may squander their cole.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 27/2: If I could only raise as much ‘coal’ as would take me to Brighton, I would go right there and ‘do’ that jeweller’s crib. [Ibid.] 31/2: After I ‘piched’ the ‘cole’ I ‘slung’ the ‘dummy’ to Bob Coombs.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 14 Sept. n.p.: She called on Rooney, the ‘rum bluffer’ of the ‘lush drum’ [...] to ‘part the cole,’ which he did.
[UK] ‘The Fashionable Coaley’ Laughing Songster 101: For when the coal is given you, / Give all old pals the sack, sirs.
[UK]Northern Whig 12 Sept. 8/6: My blowen kidded a bloke into a panel crib and shook him of his thimble to put up the coal, but it wouldn’t fadge and I got three stretches.

2. a penny.

[UK]J.W. Horsley Memoirs of a ‘Sky Pilot’ 254: Other [words] were new to me, such as [...] coal for a penny.
[UK] ‘English Und. Sl.’ in Variety 8 Apr. n.p.: Cole — Penny.
[UK]P. Allingham Cheapjack 39: They ’aven’t got it, son. They ’aven’t got a coal.
[UK]L. Ortzen Down Donkey Row 12: Cole – A penny.
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 4 Sept. 5: The costers have their own money-slang [...] A penny is called a ‘cole’.

In phrases

hard cole (n.)

(US Und.) cash (silver or gold), as opposed to banknotes.

[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890) 17: Hard cole. Silver or gold money.
post the cole (v.)

to pay down money.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Cole, money. Post the cole: pay down the money.
[US] ‘Scene in a London Flash-Panny’ Matsell Vocabulum 98: ‘Make it two,’ said a woman, [...] ‘and if Jim don’t post the cole, I will.’.
[UK]Vanity Fair (N.Y.) 9 Nov. 216: At WILLARD’S afterwards we’ll call the roll, / Order up booze and never post the cole.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 103: ‘post the coal,’ put down the money.
[UK]G.A. Sala in Illus. London News 10 Nov. 451, col. 3: The lamented [...] once entreated the guests present to post the cole, i.e. to be prompt with their subscriptions and donations [F&H].
smuggle the cole (v.)

to pretend that one has no money when it is time to pay a bill at an inn or tavern.

in Miège Great French Dict.
tip (up) the cole (v.)

to pay (a bill).

[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 52: Tip the Cole to Adam Tyler, Give what money you pocket-pickt to the next party, presently.
[UK] ‘Of the Budge’ Head Canting Academy (1674) 12: For when that he hath nubbed us, / And our friends tips him no cole, / He takes his Chive and cuts us down / And tips us into the hole.
[UK]J. Shirley Triumph of Wit 32: For when that he hath nubbed us, / And our friends tip him no cole / He takes his chive and cuts us down, / And tips us into a hole.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 210: Tip the Cole to Adam Tyler, that’s, give what Money you have pick’d up out of the Man’s Pocket, to the next Party.
[UK] ‘Frisky Moll’s Song’ in J. Thurmond Harlequin Sheppard 22: I Frisky Moll, with my rum coll, / Wou’d Grub in a bowzing ken; / But ere for the scran he had tipt the cole, / The Harman he came in.
[UK]‘A Pembrochian’ Gradus ad Cantabrigiam Dedication: Such language as the following. — ‘Luckily I cramm’d him so well, that honest Jollux tipt me the coal’.
[UK](con. 1703) W.H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard (1840) 34: If he don’t tip up the cole without more ado, give him a taste of the pump, that’s all.