from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A small silver coin used in America and the West Indies during the 18th century.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A Spanish silver coin worth two reals, used as common currency in the Americas in the 18th century.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An old Spanish silver coin of the value of about twenty cents.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In the West Indies, the peseta.
A pistareen was a Spanish coin worth about seventeen cents.
Mr. Emerson becomes equally flippant and irreverent when he speaks of a "pistareen Providence."
So, if I may not believe in a "pistareen Providence," I must make
A pistareen, you know, was 18 3/4 cents -- that is a sevenpence and a thrip.
A man could afflict another with a pistareen letter that wasent worth five cents.
Many were so worn that a pistareen would bring only a Yankee shilling, sixteen and two-thirds cents; the half-pistareen, only eight cents; the real, ten; the half-real, five.
The high Germans above us, like that Herkimer you saw here Tuesday, do you think they care a pistareen for the King?
And, now and then, an amiable parson, like Jung Stilling, or Robert Huntington, believes in a pistareen-Providence, which, whenever the good man wants a dinner, makes that somebody shall knock at his door, and leave a half-dollar.
But every time I ask him to change a pistareen, or give me two fo'pencehappennies for a ninepence, or help me to make out two and thrippence (mark the old Master's archaisms about the currency), what does the fellow do but put his hand in his pocket and pull out an old Roman coin; I have no change, says he, but this assarion of Diocletian.
Whenever I see one of this class, trying with all his might to pass for a saint, with his face as long as a yard-stick, or, perhaps, all lighted up with kindly smiles, I can't help thinking of the pistareen.