It's better to possess something tangible now than to hold out for something potentially better in the future.
In English, variations on this proverb have been traced back to the mid 15th century. The first known use being in The Life of St Katherine by J Capgrave. But earlier usage can be found in Latin dating back to at least the 13th century: Plus valet in manibus avis unica quam dupla silvis ('a bird in the hands is worth more than two in the woods').
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