Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tester n.1

also teaster
[Fr. teston, a silver coin struck at Milan by Duke Galeazzo Sforza (1468–76). It had his own head on it, as did similar testons coined by Louis XII (r.1498–1515) and his successor François I (r.1515–47) of France and by Henry VIII (r.1509–47) of England ]

1. (also teaster, teston, testone, texter) sixpence.

Holinshed Description of England (1807) 366: [Elizabeth] restored sundrie coines of fine siluer, as peeces of halfepenie farding, of a penie, of three halfe pence, peeces of two pence, of three pence, of foure pence (called the groat) of sixpence, vsuallie named the testone.
[UK]Maroccus Extaticus C3: With this stock of wenches will this Trustie Roger and his Bettrice set up forsooth with their pamphlet pots, and stewed prunes, nine for a tester, in a sinfull saucer.
[UK]Jonson Every Man In his Humour III iv: You cannot give him less than a shilling in conscience, for the book he had it out cost him a teston in the least.
[UK]Dekker Gul’s Horne-Booke 26: After dinner, euery man as his busines leades him [...] some to lende testers in Powles.
[UK]Middleton Chaste Maid in Cheapside I i: Go, thou art an old fox, there’s a tester for thee.
[UK]T. Heywood Eng. Traveller IV i: In the next Tauerne, there’s the Cash that’s left, Goe, health it freely [...] Nay Drowne it all, let not a Teaster scape To be consum’d in rot-gut.
[UK]H. Mill Nights Search I 49: Where thou doth get a tester, I get five.
J. Taylor St Hillarie’s Teares 3: The surly Tipstaves [...] for the teaster you gave him, kisses his hand and scrapes you a leg.
[UK]Urquhart (trans.) Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) I Bk II 311: Because of that make bold to clip the shillings and testers.
[UK]Fuller Worthies (1840) III 7: A coin worth sixpence, corruptly called tester.
[UK]J. Ray Proverbs (2nd edn) 58: He that looseth his wife and sixpence, hath lost a tester.
[Ire]‘Mac O Bonniclabbero of Drogheda’ Bog Witticisms XXX 34: The Gentleman, to be rid of him, threw him a Tester.
[UK]Motteux (trans.) Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) II Bk V 540: A common mumper, to whom we had given half a teston.
[UK]Farquhar Love and a Bottle I i: Who throws away a Tester and a Mistress loses six-pence.
[UK]T. Brown Amusements Serious and Comical in Works (1744) III 27: Squeezing his brains into an amorous cit’s pockets, in hopes of a tester to buy himself a dinner.
[UK]S. Centlivre Gamester Act IV: You owe me a Teaster.
[UK]Cibber Rival Fools I i: Not a single Tester.
[UK] in J. Malcolm Anecdotes of Manners and Customs (1808) 89: The particular saucy impudent behaviour of the coachman in demanding the other twelver or tester above their fare, has been the occasion of innumerable quarrels, fighting, and abuses.
[UK]Swift Polite Conversation 46: Yes, Madam, for they say, he that has lost his Wife and Sixpence, has lost a Tester.
[UK]Smollett Roderick Random (1979) 11: While I have a shilling, thou shan’t want a tester.
[UK]Foote The Commissary 5: I hope you’ll tip me the tester to drink.
[UK] ‘A New Song’ in Holloway & Black I (1975) 198: I’ll lay any Scotchman a tester.
[UK]Hants Chron. 7 Oct. 4/1: You gave me nine-pence and a silver tester.
[UK]M.P. Andrews Better Late than Never 47: Thomas pay the coachman sixpence, councillor Coazem pays the other tester.
[UK]M. Edgeworth Castle Rackrent (1832) 91: I’ll lay you a hundred golden guineas to a tester you don’t.
[UK] ‘The Humours of Rag Fair’ in Holloway & Black I (1975) 118: You may have them for a tester.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London II 38: Detailing, to his great annoyance, a story of an hour long about a tester (sixpence).
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 170: Teaster — a sixpence.
[Aus]Australian (Sydney) 12 May 3/5: The wife of his bosom, he said, was most affectionately addicted to tippling [...] whenever she could muster a tester she indulged her ‘itch’.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]J.B. Buckstone Green Bushes I i: For a tester, you are sure to win an iligant pair of garters.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]G.A. Sala Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous 280: No one shall say that Billy Blokes ever robbed a Messmate of even a twopenny tester of his Rights.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK] ‘The Connaught College’ Laughing Songster 132: I hould you a testher he doesn’t know him from Adam.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 2 Dec. 6/6: ‘How much is it?’ ‘Tray beong say saltee’ [...] ‘Three and a texter.’ ‘Three and sixpemnce if you please’.
[Aus]Morn. Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld) 18 July 2/6: For our next coin in value [i.e. sixpence] twenty names are found [...] ‘Fyebuck,’ ‘half-hog,’ ‘kick,’ ‘lord of the manor,’ ‘pig,’ ‘pot,’ ‘say saltee,' ’sprat,’ ‘snid,’ ‘simon,’ ‘sow's baby,’ ’tanner,’ tester,’ and ‘tizzy’.
[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 4 Feb. 5/6: A sixpence [...] has been a ‘tester‘ [...] a ‘lord-of-the-manor,’ a ‘bender’ and a ‘cripple’’.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 380: If he had but gotten into him a mess of broken victuals or a platter of tripes with a bare tester in his purse he could always bring himself off with his tongue.
[Ire]Share Slanguage.

2. (Aus.) 25 strokes of the lash [reflects the association of numbers of lashes with denominations of coins].

[Aus]J. Lang Botany Bay 40: By the way, there were slang terms applied to these doses of the lash: twenty-five was called a ‘tester’; fifty, a ‘bob’; seventy-five, a ‘bull’; and a hundred a ‘canary.’.
[Aus](con. early 19C) Cobargo Chron. (NSW) 2 Nov. 4/2: There were slang terms applied to these doses of the lash; twenty-five was called a ‘tester;’ fifty ‘a bob;’ seventy five ‘a bull’ and a hundred a ‘canary’.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 44: Nor, though they are formed on English slang terms for coins, are [recorded] tester, a flogging of twenty-five lashes (also known as a Botany Bay dozen).