In pre-decimal days the UK money was :
On February 15th, 1971 (nicknamed at the time D-Day)
Great Britain changed to a decimal system of currency.
Until that moment ( and prepare to be confused)...........
4 farthings to the penny.
2 halfpennies to the penny.
12 pennies to the shilling.
20 shillings to the pound.
240 pennies to the pound.
A half guinea was ten shillings and sixpence
A guinea was a pound and a shilling.
expanation of the pound sign
Hence three shillings could be written
3s or 3/-
and 3 pence or pennies would be written
Quite often in Victorian newspapers two pounds sterling is written in the
archaic fashion thus 2l. (i.e. a number two followed by a lower case letter
letter 'ell' followed by a full stop) This can be confusing with some
computer system fonts and we feel could be confused with the number 21
(twenty one). To make it more clearer we capitalise the letter and change it
to 1L.; 2L.; 3L. etc. We do not do the same with shillings and pence thus
five pounds and five shillings and sixpence will be written 5L. 5s. 6d.
Pennies can be called pence. Two pence was commonly called tuppence
pronounced tup(to rhyme with cup)pence. Three pennies can be written
thrupence and is pronounced thrup(to rhyme with pup)pence. The coin is
called a thrupenny piece or a thrupenny bit. A half penny can be written
ha'pence and is pronounced haypence. The coin is called a ha'penny bit. The
most common coins were farthing, halfpenny, penny, threepence, sixpence
(also known as a 'tanner'), shilling , two shillings (also known as a
florin), half a crown (two shillings and sixpence). There were also
sovereigns (a gold coin worth one pound while Britain was tied to the gold
standard), silver threepences and crowns (five shillings)
In today's British currency
10 (old) shillings equals 50pence
1 shilling equals 5 pence
Work the rest out for yourself
Note: In the expression LSD - "D" is from the Latin denarius, (a Roman
silver coin); "S" is for solidus (says the Shorter OED which means a total)
or for sestertius. (says the Concise Oxford Dictionary which was another
Roman coin); and "L" is for libra (pounds).
The Shorter OED says there is no known derivation for the word 'Tanner' but
Brewer claims they were named after John Sigismund Tanner (died 1775), an
engraver at the mint.
Two links that may help you if you are still confused.
Sent: 29 November 2003 06:52
Subject: Re: [WarOf1812] British money
Thanks for the explanation. What is the value of a farthing?
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