E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Nimble as ninepence. Silver ninepences were common till the year 1696, when all unmilled coin was called in. These ninepences were very pliable or nimble, and, being bent, were given as love tokens, the usual formula of presentation being To my love, from my love. (See NICE AS NINEPENCE.)