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British Currency before 1971

This page is taken from A Web of English History

In these days of decimalisation of currency, it is difficult to understand the currency used in Britain before that country 'went decimal' in 1971. The following chart may help to explain it. Another chart deals with British weights and measures

Money was divided into pounds (£ or l in some documents) shillings (s. or /-) and pennies (d.). Thus, 4 pounds, eight shillings and fourpence would be written as £4/8/4d. or £4-8-4d.

There were
20 shillings in £1 — a shilling was often called 'bob', so 'ten bob' was 10/-
12 pennies in 1 shilling
240 pennies in £1
Pennies were broken down into other coins:
a farthing (a fourth-thing) was ¼ of a penny
a halfpenny (pronounced 'hay-p'ny') was ½ of a penny
three farthings was ¾ of a penny (i.e. three fourth-things). There was no coin of this denomination, however
Other coins of a value less than 1/- were
a half-groat (2d) 6 x 2d = 1/-
a threepenny bit (3d) made of silver 4 x 3d. = 1/-
a groat (4d) 3 x 4d = 1/-
sixpence (silver) — often called a 'tanner' 2 x 6d = 1/-
Coins of more than 1/- but less than £1 in value were
a two shilling piece (called a florin, or "two bob") 10 x 2/- = £1
a half-crown ( 2/6d, known as "half a crown") 8 x 2/6d = £1
a crown (5/-) 4 x 5/- = £1
ten shillings (a half-sovereign) 2 x 10/- = £1
a half-guinea (10/6d) 2 x 10/6d = £1/1/-
A £1 coin was called a Sovereign and was made of gold. A paper pound often was called a 'quid'.
Coins of more than £1 were
a guinea (£1/1/-)
a £5 coin

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