A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 11, 2015
“Buy sheep, sell deer”

"Buy cheap, sell dear” is a popular proverb from the 16h century. Through jocular malapropism, this saying becomes “buy sheep, sell deer.” The following joke was cited in print in 1850 and appeared in many newspapers for many years:

“A FRENCHMAN was recently seen bargaining for a dozen sheep. ‘What are you about?’ said a friend. ‘I have heard say,’ replied Mounseer, ‘that if you want to make money, you must buy sheep and sell deer. I shall buy de sheep and sell de venison!’”


The Contrary Opinion—Buttons
Buy Sheep Sell Deer
A corruption of “Buy cheap, sell dear,” and more fun to illustrate, too. The deer looks English to me. More common today is, “Buy low, sell high.”

20 May 1850, The Magnet (London), “Varieties,” pg. 6, col. 4:
A FRENCHMAN was recently seen bargaining for a dozen sheep. “What are you about?” said a friend. “I have heard say,” replied Mounseer, “that if you want to make money, you must buy sheep and sell deer. I shall buy de sheep and sell de venison!”

Chronicling America
4 March 1862, The Daily Green Mountain Freeman (Montpelier, VT), pg. 2, col. 1:
A Frenchman was recently seen bargaining for a dozen sheep. “What are you about?” said a friend. “I have heard say,” replied monsieur, “that if you want to make money you must buy sheep and sell deer. I shall buy de sheep and sell de venison!”

9 May 1862, The California Farmer, pg. 55, col. 4:
A Frenchman was recently seen bargaining for a dozen sheep. “What are you about?” said a friend. “I have heard say,” replied Monsieur, “that if you want to make money, you must buy sheep, and sell deer. I shall buy de sheep, and sell de venison!”

Google Books
1870, Bow Bells, pg. 287:
“I have heard say,” replied monsieur, “that if you want to make money, you must buy sheep and sell deer. I shall buy de sheep and sell de venison.”

Google Groups: alt.quotations
J. P. Morgan
BinneBrook
7/9/98
Ben Trovato wrote: >>Buy dear, sell cheap.<<

I think you've got it wrong, Bambi: it was Walt Disney who said "Buy sheep, sell deer."

OCLC WorldCat record
Buy sheep sell deer : a Glaswegian in the Highlands
Author: Michael Meighan
Publisher: Edinburgh : Booklist Publications, 2009.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

USA Today
If you can pull it off, a house is a smart investment
By John Waggoner, USA TODAY Updated 8/10/2012 10:44 AM
Investment opinions are like, um, noses: Everyone has one. Buy stocks, sell bonds? Go long steel and short copper? Buy sheep, sell deer?

Twitter
Michael Silverstein
‏@GSSelig
Today’s market tip: Buy sheep, sell deer.
2:40 PM - 6 May 2015

Twitter
Hugh Alford
‏@fruits_hugh
“Buy Sheep, Sell Deer” old saying from Jinping Dynasty #ChinaMeltdown #GreatFallOfChina #Markets
7:28 AM - 24 Aug 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Friday, December 11, 2015 • Permalink