Not worth a hill/row of beans
Chaucer in Troilus and Criseyde c. 1380 wrote, “Such arguments … nat worth a bene.” Therefore, beans have been viewed as worthless for centuries. Fast-forwarding to America in the mid-19th century, beans were still thought to be of little value in the expression that something or other was not worth a row or a hill of beans. At first glance, there appears to be an enormous difference between a row of beans and whole hill of them. This is because beans in America could be planted either in rows or in little clumps called hills. Thus, a hill of beans is a tiny clump of beans and, supposedly, just as worthless as a row. The origin of the expression not worth a row or a hill of beans is assuredly American and is first cited from c. 1860.