Where did the old saying, "It'll cost a pretty penny," originate?

Question:I don't understand this because it means that something will be expensive. But, It's a PENNY! ???

It's an ironic phrasing - the meaning is the opposite of the apparent meaning. Saying "That's wonderful news" when you hear that your car has been destroyed would be irony (and sarcasm, which is a type of irony).
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