E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The superlative of superlatives in Eastern estimation. It is by nines that Eastern presents are given when the donor wishes to extend his bounty to the highest pitch of munificence.
He [Dakianos] caused himself to be preceded by nine superb camels. The first was loaded with 9 suits of gold adorned with jewels, the second bore 9 sabres, the hilts and scabbards of which were adorned with diamonds; upon the third camel were 9 suits of armour; the fourth had 9 suits of horse furniture; the fifth had 9 cases full of sapphires; the sixth had 9 cases full of rubies, the seventh, 9 cases full of emeralds; the eighth had 9 cases full of amethysts; and the ninth had 9 cases full of diamonds.Comte de Caylus Oriental Tales; Dakianos and the Seven Sleepers.