Mystery Solved

13 June 2009


Larry and Teresa Roberts

found this description of the game of
'Hustle Cap',

- and -

they found a Dutch Master painting.


The game was a form of pitch-and-toss, in which coins were 'hustled' or shaken together in a cap before being tossed.

   . . .  The name comes from the Dutch "husseln" (abt. 1685), meaning "to shake".

"The Hustle Cap" (17th cent.)
by David Teniers the Younger

The game was also known as "pitch and hustle".  Here is a historical description.

PITCH AND HUSTLE.  --  This is a game commonly played in the fields by the lowest classes of the people. It requires two or more antagonists, who pitch or cast an equal number of halfpence at a mark set up at a short distance; and the owner of the nearest halfpenny claims the privilege to hustle first; the next nearest halfpenny entitles the owner to a second claim; and so on to as many as play. When they hustle, all the halfpence pitched at the mark are thrown into a hat held by the player who claims the first chance; after shaking them together, he turns the hat down upon the ground; and as many of them as lie with the impression of the head upwards belong to him; the remainder are then put into the hat a second time, and the second claimant performs the same kind of operation; and so it passes in succession to all the players, or until all the halfpence appear with the heads upwards. Sometimes they are put into the hands of the player, instead of a hat, who shakes them, and casts them up into the air; but in both instances the heads become his property: but if it should so happen, that, after all of them have hustled, there remain some of the half-pence that have not come with the heads uppermost, the first player then hustles again, and the others in succession, until they do come so.