spotted 'bran new' in the examples listed for 'biffin'. Looked up 'bran new' and it goes back to a 1675 dictionary "A copius English and Netherdutch dictionary..." http://books.google.ca/books?id=835FAAAAcAAJ under the definition of 'Spick Spelder Nieuw' Spick Spelder reminds me of Spic and Span.
in other dictionaries around this time 'Brand new' is listed as well.
I noticed recently that Dickens habitually wrote "bran new." I assumed on his authority that this must be more authentic but when I looked it up I found that the accepted origin is as in "fresh from the fire," like a flaming brand. It probably has its origin in iron working. For a time in the 19th and early 20th centuries the "bran" spelling was fashionable but it distorts the word's lineage.
Cupid laid by his brand a fell a sleepe, A maide of Dyans this aduantage found, And his loue-kindling fire did quickle steepe In a could vallie-fountaine of that ground : Which borrowd from this holie fire of loue, a deteless liuely heat still to indure, And grew a seething bath which yet men proue, Against strang malladies a foueraigne cure: But as my mistres eie loues brand new fired, The boy for triall needes would touch my brest, I sick withall the helpe of bath desired, And thether hied a sad distemperd guest. But found no cure, the bath for my helpe lies, Where Cupid got new fire; my mistres eye.