Friday, 21 March 2008

Old English Money (for no apparent reason)

More lovely days! In fact, so lovely I've been out and about rather than stuck infront of the computer!

Did you know that horses are still sold in guineas?!

This got me thinking. Like what on earth is a guinea worth? And what is the deal with old English coinage?

To the first question, it turns out a guinea is worth £1.05 so the auctioneer take the extra 5ps as commission! Also, you paid tradesmen in pounds, but artists in guineas, in times gone by.

The answer to the second question took about three hours with my dad going, "Now well I think that was it... no hang on a minute..." and me going, "I am soooo confused! How did you ever do maths at school?!"

And then on Wednesday, whilst out for lunch with the girls and shopping, the man in the rock shop gave us a printed out list that made it all very clear.

So here goes:

The symbols:

Pounds (£) Shillings (s) and Pence (d)

The coins before 1972 in England:

4 farthings (or four things) = 1 penny (1d)
2 ha'pennies (half pennies) = 1 penny
thruppence (a thruppeny bit) = 3 pennies
sixpence (six penny bit OR tanner) = 6 pennies
shilling = 12 pennies
two shilling piece (two bob or florin) = 24 pennies
half-crown = 2 shillings and sixpence (2s 6d) = 30 pennies
crown (five shilling piece) = 5 shillings (5s) = 60 pennies
one pound coin (sovereign) = 240 pennies

And in Note form:
one pound (quid) = 20 shillings = 240 pennies

There's lots more interesting facts here


Lane said...

I loved the thru'penny bit and I'm old enough to remember it. I can also remember the ten bob note!
Once I lost half a crown on the way to school (I think it may have been dinner money) and was distraught.


I've been to the racehorse sales in Newmarket. It's fascinating watching those beauties being sold for hundreds of thousands guineas.


There's a pub in London which still has an old till and asks you for the price in old money. Very confusing:-)

hesitant scribe said...

lane - I think we have a thruppeny bit in the house somewhere. Half a crown is loads to lose!!!

hundreds of thousands of guineas - you see now why I can't afford a horse (well not a race horse anyway!)

Rob Spence said...

I can just about remember farthings. To answer your question, we coped with the system because that was the system. And it's a lot more flexible than decimal- you can divide a pound by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10- try that now.
I still translate into pre-decimal. Can't get over paying 36 bob for a Sunday paper.
My first weekly "spends" as a ten year old was two shillings.

hesitant scribe said...

Rob - 36 bob for a paper sounds really expensive nowadays, eh!

And as for the old system - it's why you lot are so good at mental maths, and us lot, aren't! :)