E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Curse or Cuss.
Not worth a curse. I dont care a curse (or cuss). Here curse is a corruption of cerse or kerse. Similarly, the Latin nihil [nihilum] is ne hilum, not [worth] the black eye of a bean. Other phrases are not a straw, not a pin, not a rap, not a dam, not a bit, not a jot, not a pins point, not a button. (Anglo-Saxon, cerse, cress; German, kirsche, a cherry.)