English Money – Old Style

(L)1797 penny (R) 1967 penny (from Wikipedia)

Quick! What’s the value of a florin? A groat?

I can’t ever remember either, even though I’ve read a ton of English books (both fiction and non-fiction) over the years. Their old money system – pre-decimilization – stumps me. When an author mentions a crown or a bob, I have to hunt up a reference chart. So, for quick reference and borrowed from the author Daniel Pool, is the following list:

Note: Terms in italics are slang.

1/8 pence: half farthing
1/4 pence: farthing
1/2 pence: half penny ha’pence
1 pence: penny, copper
2 pence: twopence, tuppence
3 pence: threepence, thruppence
4 pence: groat
6 pence: sixpence tanner or bender
12 pence: shilling, bob or hog

2 shillings: florin
2 1/2 shillings: half crown, half a crown note
5 shillings: crown, bull
10 shillings: half sovereign, 1/2 pound note
20 shillings: sovereign, 1-pound note, quid
21 shillings: guinea

5 pounds: 5-pound note, fiver
10 pounds: 10-pound note, tenner
20 pounds: 20-pound note
50 pounds: 50-pound note
100 pounds: 100-pound note
200 pounds: 200-pound note
500 pounds: 500-pound note
1,000 pounds: 1,000-pound note

“Sovereigns and half sovereigns were gold; crowns, half crowns, florins, shillings, sixpences, and threepences were silver; pence, ha’pence, and farthings were copper until 1860, after which they were bronze.”

“To abbreviate their money, Britons used £ for pound, s. for shilling, and d. for pence, although five pounds, ten shillings, sixpence could be written L5.10.6. ‘Five and six’ meant five shillings and sixpence, and it would have been written ‘5/6’.”

(From “What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew” by Daniel Pool, 1993.)

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2 Comments

Filed under 1800s, Books, England

2 responses to “English Money – Old Style

  1. I have lead a really dull life when it comes to how things are done in other countries. I remember being really bad at knowing what money to use just the few times we’ve been to Canada!

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