The Arundelian Marbles. Some thirty-seven statues and 128
busts with inscriptions, collected by W. Petty, in the reign of James
I., in the island of Paros, and purchased of him by Lord Arundel, who
gave them to the University of Oxford in 1627.
The Elgin marbles.
A collection of basso-relievos and fragments of statuary from the
Parthenon of Athens (built by Phidias), collected by Thomas, Lord
Elgin, during his mission to the Ottoman Porte in 1802. They were
purchased from him by the British Government, in 1816, for 35,000, and
are now in the British Museum. (The gin of “Elgin” is like the
-gin of “begin.”)
Money and marbles.
Cash and furniture.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894