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Learn about the history of your souvenir coin!

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British money before 1971

In 1971, British currency changed into the ‘decimalised’ system that we use today, with 100 pennies to each pound.  However, before this the currency system had been the same for many years from long before the Victorian period and right through the Second World War until it was changed, and was actually made up of not 100 but 240 pennies to each pound.  

 

It was also written slightly differently too.  Money was divided into pounds (£) shillings (s. or /-) and pennies (d. from the latin word ‘denarius’, which was the name for an old Roman coin). Thus, 4 pounds, eight shillings and fourpence would be written as £4/8/4d. or £4-8-4d.  

 

As well as pounds, shillings and pence, there were also many other types of coins.  This chart shows the types of coins that existed in the Victorian times and right up until 1971:

one penny shilling farthing threepenny bit

COIN NAME                           WHAT IT WAS WORTH AT THE TIME

Shilling (or ‘bob’)                    12 pence (there were 20 shillings to a pound)

Farthing                                 ¼ of a penny

Threepenny bit                      3 pennies

Halfpenny                              Half of a penny

Sixpence (or ‘tanner’)            6 pennies

Crown                                      5 shillings (60 pence)

One guinea                             21 shillings (1 more shilling than a pound)

Florin                                      2 shillings (24 pennies)

Half crown                              2 shillings and 6 pence