Old money. Clear as mud.


A reminder of the ultra simple money system we used to use in the UK.
The old coins used in the UK until the decimal system in ’71 were:

The farthing,
half penny,
threpenny bit,
two bob bit,
half crown
and the crown, plus
the ten bob note,
pound note
and five pound note.

1 farthing = a quarter of a penny

2 farthings = 1 halfpenny
2 halfpence = 1 penny (1d)
3 pence = 1 thruppence (3d)
6 pence = 1 sixpence (a ‘tanner’) (6d)
12 pence = 1 shilling (a bob) (1s)
2 shillings = 1 florin ( a ‘two bob bit’) (2s)
2 shillings and 6 pence = 1 half crown (2s 6d)
5 shillings = 1 Crown (5s)
£1 (pound) = 20 shillings
and there was, of course, 240 pennies in 1 pound.
The half-farthing was withdrawn in the late 19th century because of public dislike toward the tiny, pointless coin.
There were, for a time, also:
A groat (4 pennies) or half groat (2 pennies),
a florin (a two shillings or 2 bob or 2 bob bit),
a half-crown ( 2/6d) (2 shillings and 6 pence),
a crown (5/-) (five shillings or 5 bob),
a half-sovereign (ten shillings or 10 bob),
and a half-guinea (10/6d) (10 shillings and 6 pence)
2/6 means two shillings and six pence and is refered to as “half a bob” or “a half crown”. A crown was a five shilling piece or “one bob”. So 2/6 + 2/6 = 5.
The halfpenny piece was pronounced ‘hay-p’ny’.
Two pence was ‘tuppence’.
Three pence was ‘threpence’.
But six pence was ‘a tanner’. (Of course.)
The smallest paper currency was the 10 shilling note.
A guinea was a gold coin worth 21 shillings (or, randomly, slightly more than one pound).
Pennies are abreviated as p but some times you will see them refered to by the abreviation d, for example on old stamps. The d stands for denarius from the latin for penny. So P = D!
As a note of interest pennies (in medieval times) were minted from silver and 240 pennies weighed one pound (1lb) hence the name pound and the expression pound stirling (stirling silver) for the British currency.
The move to decimicialtion was officially in 1971 athough there was a transitional period where both old and new currency systems were used.
Imagine learning that as a kid. How did we ever buy anything?

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