I was reading a fascinating account earlier of 14th-century haberdashers, hatters, mercers and other tradesmen and guilds (it was actually in a book about Chaucer – Chaucer’s pilgrims: an historical guide to the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales by Laura C Lambdin) and the author mentioned the origin of the term pin money.
Pins were expensive items in those days and only used by the wealthy; the hoi-polloi used sharpened thorns to hold their hats in place and keep their garments together. There are various allusions in literature, including in The Canterbury Tales, to monks and friars making pins. A guild of pinmakers was first mentioned in 1376, and the livery company, the Company of Pinmakers, was incorporated in 1636.
Because of their expense, pins were regarded as the ideal gift to the ladies in one’s life, and many merchants received financial bonuses with the caveat that the money was to be used ‘for her pyns’.