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  #51  
Old 08-12-2019, 10:40 PM
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Footnote from Good Omens (recently made into a TV mini-series), by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman:

"NOTE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND AMERICANS: One shilling = Five Pee. It helps to understand the antique finances of the Witchfinder Army if you know the original British monetary system:

Two farthings = One Ha'penny. Two ha'pennies = One Penny. Three pennies = A Thrupenny Bit. Two Thrupences = A Sixpence. Two Sixpences = One Shilling, or Bob. Two Bob = A Florin. One Florin and one Sixpence = Half a Crown. Four Half Crowns = Ten Bob Note. Two Ten Bob Notes = One Pound (or 240 pennies). One Pound and One Shilling = One Guinea.

The British resisted decimalized currency for a long time because they thought it was too complicated."
  #52  
Old 08-12-2019, 11:21 PM
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I appreciate your liking for that book, but we had already said all of that before you came in with amazing new knowledge from fiction.
  #53  
Old 08-13-2019, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Treppenwitz View Post
I better be careful here - this may be a regional thing*. But back when there was any use for a single penny, you would here people use the plural when they were talking about one penny; as in "Have you got one pence? You're one pence short."
It wasn't a regional thing, it was a post-decimalisation thing, where the new prices tended for the first few years to be spelt out to emphasise "X pounds and Y pence", where before everyone knew what, say, "two and nine" meant. Before, you only ever heard "pence" as a half-swallowed part of a compound like "tuppence" and "threepence": now you distinctly heard "three + pence". Somehow the idea stuck that "pence" meant even one decimal penny.

Last edited by PatrickLondon; 08-13-2019 at 01:06 AM.
  #54  
Old 08-13-2019, 01:21 AM
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It wasn't a regional thing, it was a post-decimalisation thing, where the new prices tended for the first few years to be spelt out to emphasise "X pounds and Y pence", where before everyone knew what, say, "two and nine" meant. Before, you only ever heard "pence" as a half-swallowed part of a compound like "tuppence" and "threepence": now you distinctly heard "three + pence". Somehow the idea stuck that "pence" meant even one decimal penny.
The explanation make sense, but isn't inconsistent with the idea that the usage was regional. My memory (in Ireland) is that the new pennies were called "pee" (from the appreviation, 'p') to distinguish them from the old pennies (abbreviated 'd'). Thus "one pee, five pee" referred to one new penny, five new pence. I never heard "one pence", that I recall.
  #55  
Old 08-13-2019, 02:16 AM
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Indeed, I'm going by London experience: both those forms were around.

But it won't be long before 1p and 2p coins start to disappear, I suspect, what with inflation and electronification. There's a pause in minting new ones this year already.
  #56  
Old 08-13-2019, 03:31 AM
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The threepenny bit (before the introduction of the multi-sided copper coin in the 1930s) was known as a "joey" or (because it still had some silver in it) a "silver joey" (my mother still had a couple to put in the Christmas pudding in the 1950s).
I've read that many American servicemen in Britain in World War II, found British currency mildly insane-driving because non-decimal, and definitely on the complicated side -- some never completely got the hang of it. Many of them conceived a special hatred of threepenny coins; possibly contributed to by their being in that era, of -- as per your post -- two very different kinds, both common: old tiny silver-coloured one, and new larger twelve-sided one (as glee says, "yellow with funny straight sides").

The Americans called threepenny bits, "bastard coins": with the celebrated thing of their being much better-paid than British troops -- occasioning much envy -- there are tales of the Yanks on payday, extracting the "bastard coins" from their pay packets and throwing them scornfully on the ground, providing quite a harvest for the local kids. One of those stories which one feels ought to be true, even if they aren't...

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And then there are all the slang terms for different quantities of pounds, like "monkey", "pony" and so on (though might that be a purely London thing).
I have read -- can't give any cite at this point -- that the "monkey" and "pony" names came from British India, of all things, by way of guys who had been out there when in the Army: various-denominations-of rupees-notes in India -- the x-rupee one featured a picture of a monkey, and the y-rupee ditto, a picture of a man on a horse.

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Super nit-picky correction, but farthing wasn't really "slang"; that was the official name for the denomination and the word "FARTHING" was actually spelled out on the coins--note that it didn't actually say anything like "1/4 of a penny" (or "1/960 of a pound") anywhere on the farthing coin.
"Farthing" is an old word meaning a fourth part / quarter of something -- in this case, of a penny. In Tolkien's writings, the hobbits' Shire is divided into four administrative regions, in so far as hobbits "do" administration: the North, South, East, and West Farthings. This is reckoned to be a "nod" by Tolkien to the large English county of Yorkshire, which for many centuries until reorganisation in 1974 was divided into three "Ridings" -- old word for a third part of something -- North, East, and West.
  #57  
Old 08-13-2019, 03:46 AM
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I have read -- can't give any cite at this point -- that the "monkey" and "pony" names came from British India, of all things, by way of guys who had been out there when in the Army: various-denominations-of rupees-notes in India -- the x-rupee one featured a picture of a monkey, and the y-rupee ditto, a picture of a man on a horse.
Don't think attempts by me at direct linking, would work; but if one Googles "British money slang monkey pony", various items come up to suggest that it's largely a Cockney thing, and is indeed reckoned to be derived from Indian banknotes and their artwork, when we ruled there: "pony" = 25 pounds / rupees, "monkey" = 500 pounds / rupees. (The "hits" thus made by Googling, imply that this falls under Cockney rhyming slang; but the monkey and the pony are nothing to do with words rhyming.)
  #58  
Old 08-13-2019, 03:53 AM
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This is reckoned to be a "nod" by Tolkien to the large English county of Yorkshire, which for many centuries until reorganisation in 1974 was divided into three "Ridings" -- old word for a third part of something -- North, East, and West.
Amplifying: "Riding" here, a variation on old word "thriding"= a third part.
  #59  
Old 08-13-2019, 04:44 AM
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I was at school when we had 12 pence to a shilling and 20 shillings making a pound (i.e. 240 pence to the pound.)
I discovered that:

- 6 shillings and 8 pence was precisely one third of a pound
- 8 shillings and 4 pence was 100 pence

Neither of these were much use.

Last edited by glee; 08-13-2019 at 04:45 AM. Reason: spelling
  #60  
Old 08-13-2019, 04:52 AM
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"One pence"seems to me to have come about since decimalisation. It really grates.
Re: "Quid" - quite often corrupted to squid as in "Lend us a few squid"
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  #61  
Old 08-13-2019, 04:54 AM
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I was at school when we had 12 pence to a shilling and 20 shillings making a pound (i.e. 240 pence to the pound.)
I discovered that:

- 6 shillings and 8 pence was precisely one third of a pound
- 8 shillings and 4 pence was 100 pence

Neither of these were much use.
And of course before decimalisation complicated everything it was a piece of cake to work out stuff like how much nine yards of material cost at 2s 3d per foot
  #62  
Old 08-13-2019, 06:54 AM
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"One pence"seems to me to have come about since decimalisation. It really grates.
Re: "Quid" - quite often corrupted to squid as in "Lend us a few squid"
Probably comes from jokes like this:

A shark was swimming around looking for food...
... and he catches a squid.

The squid says: "don't eat me, I'm really sick!"

So the shark says: "fine, I won't eat you. But I know just what to do with you..."

The shark takes the squid to his friend and says: "here's the sick squid I owe you."
  #63  
Old 08-13-2019, 08:38 AM
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I appreciate your liking for that book, but we had already said all of that before you came in with amazing new knowledge from fiction.
Sure. I was going for the last line about the British thinking decimalized currency was too complicated, which I found humorous, and for context, included the entire footnote.
  #64  
Old 08-13-2019, 09:20 AM
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Heavy money


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One of the cute things about decimalization was that, as you'll note, a shilling being a twentieth of a pound meant that it was exactly equal to five "new pence", and two shillings was the same as ten. So nobody bothered to recall those coins, and up to a couple of decades later you would still regularly see one-shilling and two-shilling coins in your change, which were understood to be exactly equal to 5p and 10p. This lasted until a currency redesign in the early nineties, when everything shrank (presumably to match the 20p coin which was introduced some time in the 80s, and always seemed bizarrely titchy next to an older 5p)
British cash always managed to be unduly heavy and not well scaled. I am just old enough to remember farthings and halfpennies, which were relatively big copper coins despite being worth very little. The old penny was huge, about the size of the two shilling coin as was. The threepenny bit was heavy because it was very thick, but easily recognizable as it was brassy-looking and twelve sided.

After decimalization two of the silver coins were still used, the shilling (5 p) and the two shilling coin (florin, now 10 p).A large and heavy seven-sided 50 p coin was introduced to replace the ten shilling note. The pound note went through a couple of mutations before a coin was introduced, at the time Margaret Thatcher, and it unkindly named the Thatcher, because it was "thick, brassy and not really worth much." A somewhat massive two pound coin followed. The smaller coins have changed, the 5 p and 10 p are - thankfully - much smaller.

When the Euro was introduced, I hoped that the weights would be properly scaled and the coins would be easy to distinguish. One out of two isn't bad. The small copper coins are not easy to distinguish, nor the brass-like ones for 10 and 20 cents. Perhaps they should have done what the Japanese did with two of their coins; the brass 5 yen and the silver 50 yen have a hole in the middle. I have to peer closely at the smaller coins to be sure what I am giving. And the same for the smaller British and Polish coins. And to make sure that i have not mixed them up. Especially between Polish zloty and the Euro, some coins are a very close match in size and appearance (but not in value). Curiously, both the zloty and the Euro have bimetallic coins; 2 and 5 zloty, and the 1, 2 and 5 Euro; silver / bronze, but reversed between the two currencies. They are close enough that I can use a 1 or 2 zloty coin in a shopping cart that takes a one Euro coin; I have never tried this in a ticket machine, which would check moire than the diameter.

I don't use English coins all that often, so I have to look hard at them when in the UK. The 20 p is now a multi-sided silver coin. At least a pocketful of change is much lighter now.

I have no interest in collecting coins or banknotes, but odds and ends of change accumulate after traveling. In some cases the currency no longer exists or what I have is no longer valid. For example, I have a few coins from Hong Kong, pre-1997, and a small number of German coins from the Deutschmark era.
  #65  
Old 08-13-2019, 10:50 AM
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I read somewhere (sorry, no cite) that the money system was deliberately kept complicated so that the lower classes, presumably uneducated in mathematics, wouldn't be able to figure it out and would be kept poor. Is that true?
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:30 PM
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I read somewhere (sorry, no cite) that the money system was deliberately kept complicated so that the lower classes, presumably uneducated in mathematics, wouldn't be able to figure it out and would be kept poor. Is that true?
In my experience, the "lower classes" were always very well aware of the value of money. This is surely a universal truth, that those of us with very little tend to be a lot more careful than those with plenty.

I would venture that any reasonably intelligent 10yo could add, subtract and multiply money in their heads in the pre-decimal system.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:53 PM
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......My region is the South-East, so odds are good the terms are a bit different to your area.......
Hey Sam, I'm further south than you are, these days. And about as east.

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  #68  
Old 08-14-2019, 01:04 AM
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I read somewhere (sorry, no cite) that the money system was deliberately kept complicated so that the lower classes, presumably uneducated in mathematics, wouldn't be able to figure it out and would be kept poor. Is that true?
Poorer people worked almost exclusively in shillings and pence, and the subdivisions and multiples thereof (i.e., the complicated bits) Pounds (and guineas) were something for the better off, and in any case they employed people to look after all that for them.

So no, it isn't true. The system would have arisen from a whole series of successive habits and decisions over centuries, as convenient to the bulk of the people using them.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:32 AM
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I read somewhere (sorry, no cite) that the money system was deliberately kept complicated so that the lower classes, presumably uneducated in mathematics, wouldn't be able to figure it out and would be kept poor. Is that true?
I guess my family qualified as working class (Dad was a clerk and Mum stayed at home to bring up the kids.)
We never had much money (we never owned a car , our first TV was bought when I was 7 years old), but we knew how to count within the system of 12 pence = 1 shilling; 20 shillings make a pound.) When you handle the coins daily, it soon works out.

My pocket money was 5 pence a week. That may not sound much, but there was candy you could buy for a farthing (i.e. 1/4 of a penny.) Also I don't remember the exact prices, but I could afford to go to the cinema once a week (because the matinee performance was cheaper.)

My parents got me a free library card and I walked everywhere local (we couldn't afford a bicycle.)

Our holidays were either at the sea-side or countryside walking and of course we went by train.

My parents kept a budget and I learnt the importance of interest early on (so as an adult I saved up for a house and never paid credit card interest.)
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:36 AM
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I was at school when we had 12 pence to a shilling and 20 shillings making a pound (i.e. 240 pence to the pound.)
I discovered that:

- 6 shillings and 8 pence was precisely one third of a pound
- 8 shillings and 4 pence was 100 pence

Neither of these were much use.
On the contrary, an amount called a 'Mark' (cf. 'Deutschmark') was used for centuries in England, well into the 17th century.

A mark was two-thirds of a pound = 13s 4d.

So when you see historic amounts of money that look strange, it's often because the real concept was marks.

e.g.
£6 13s 4d = 10 marks
£1 6s 8d = 2 marks

A guinea was also of practical use. It was evenly divisible by 7, 14, 21, and 28 - very useful if you were calculating weekly and daily wages.

In Scotland, a bawbee was 6d, a plack was 4d, and bodle was 2d. Up to 1707 there were 12 Scottish pounds to an English pound.
  #71  
Old 08-14-2019, 05:04 AM
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5 tonnes in a monkey.
  #72  
Old 08-14-2019, 05:08 AM
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5 tonnes in a monkey.
Sorry, but that makes no sense at all.
  #73  
Old 08-14-2019, 08:00 AM
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A 'Crown' or five-shilling coin was far too large to be in general use, and I have never heard it being used as a named coin. Five bob or even two half-crowns, yes, but not a 'Crown'.
I remember reading as a kid a story where a young child was digging for pirate treasure in the garden with a trowel. His grandfather came upon him an on finding out what he was up to, managed to drop a crown and scuff enough dirt over it so the tyke could find it. It was a very big thrill to him but I have no idea any more what the period of the story was nor what class they might have been. I presume upper as they had a garden you could wander around in.

At the time I knew the basics of pounds, shillings, and pence and hapenny and thruppence were obvious, but the 'bastard coins' like quineas, florins, and farthings were a bit vague and I'd never heard of a crown before. I remember trying to look it up but it must have been a small dictionary because the entry for crown talked mostly about a king's headgear and did not mention coinage at all. Very frustrating.

Last edited by DesertDog; 08-14-2019 at 08:01 AM.
  #74  
Old 08-14-2019, 09:16 AM
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You would be wrong to assume upper class "as they had a garden you could wander around in". Poor people in cities may not have had gardens, but in the country, every cottage had one and they were used for growing vegetables as well as flowers; all suburban houses had/have gardens as well.

'Crowns' are by no means rare. The Royal Mint frequently coins them as commemorative pieces and sells them to gullible people who fondly imagine they are an investment. I have half-a-dozen around the house somewhere and they can be picked up on eBay for not much more than face value. I see a 1981 Crown coin minted for Charles and Diana's wedding for £1.00 - less than it cost after inflation.

Your confusion over our "bastard" coins is similar to ours over dimes, pennies and quarters.

Last edited by bob++; 08-14-2019 at 09:19 AM.
  #75  
Old 08-14-2019, 09:22 AM
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Sorry, but that makes no sense at all.
Well, a ton is a hundred squid, so... (Perhaps someone can fill in a good animal joke)
  #76  
Old 08-14-2019, 09:44 AM
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Your confusion over our "bastard" coins is similar to ours over dimes, pennies and quarters.
That's basically all of our coins (other than the nickel and the pretty much unused half dollar and dollar coins)

Perhaps the confusion is that the actual denominations don't appear on the face of the dime and the quarter. The penny says "one cent" and the nickel says "five cents" (but not "penny" and "nickel").

The dime says "one dime," which is the weird one, because "dime" is not a denomination of currency. It's just the name for the coin.

The quarter says "quarter dollar," which should be clear enough, if you know that a dollar is 100 cents. Similarly, the half dollar says "half dollar."

I suppose it might be odd to Europeans that our coins don't use figures ("1" "5" "10" "25" "50") to indicate denominations. Except the current dollar coin, which says "$1."
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:58 AM
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At least "di(s)me" obviously(?) means 1/10, analogously to "cent" being 1/100 of a dollar, so it's no more or less bastard than a coin labelled "FARTHING", for instance. I suppose on real bastard coins the value is not indicated at all, also head scratchers like "half crown".

Last edited by DPRK; 08-14-2019 at 10:01 AM.
  #78  
Old 08-14-2019, 10:09 AM
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Well, a ton is a hundred squid, so... (Perhaps someone can fill in a good animal joke)
my own favoured crap joke is when in a restaurant

"let's have the calamari because it's only a couple of squid"
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:18 AM
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The dime says "one dime," which is the weird one, because "dime" is not a denomination of currency. It's just the name for the coin.
Officially, it kind of is a denomination of currency:
Quote:
31 U.S.C. § 5101:

United States money is expressed in dollars, dimes or tenths, cents or hundreths [sic], and mills or thousandths. A dime is a tenth of a dollar, a cent is a hundredth of a dollar, and a mill is a thousandth of a dollar.
So, the dollar is the base unit, and other units are expressed in terms of their relation to the dollar, but there are officially four units--not just dollars and cents but also dimes and mills (the last of which only even theoretically comes up with the odd custom of pricing gasoline using numbers like "$2.569 per gallon").

I would bet dollars to dimes that that language originally dates back to the 18th century (and was just carried forward through various reorganizations and renumberings of the U.S. Code, most recently in 1982). I suspect the original 18th century intent was to set up a decimalized version of the very old "£sd" system (which as already mentioned was used not only in Britain but had its roots in monetary systems going at least as far back as Charlemagne). If so, the notion never actually caught on; $1.42 is of course read as "one dollar and forty-two cents" (or "a buck forty-two"). No American would ever read it as "one dollar, four dimes, and two cents", notwithstanding how Congress originally defined things.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:19 PM
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there are officially four units--not just dollars and cents but also dimes and mills
mm

There’s also the eagle (official designstion, $10) and union (unofficial, but used by the US Mint, $100).

Last edited by elmwood; 08-14-2019 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
I've read that many American servicemen in Britain in World War II, found British currency mildly insane-driving...

The Americans called threepenny bits, "bastard coins": with the celebrated thing of their being much better-paid than British troops -- occasioning much envy....
A joke of the time was that the Brits thought the problem with Yanks was that they were "overpaid, oversexed and over here." The Americans replied that the British troops were just sore because they were "underpaid, undersexed and under Eisenhower."

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...not just dollars and cents but also dimes and mills (the last of which only even theoretically comes up with the odd custom of pricing gasoline using numbers like "$2.569 per gallon")....
Mills are used in tax policy, too.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:24 PM
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"Guineas" were used to denote supposedly luxury/high quality goods and services, so, professional fees (lawyers, doctors, architects and so on), posh(or would-be posh) clothes, cars, radio sets and gramophones, etc.
AFAIK this went on until decimalization. I once read an early interview with Paul McCartney in which he said his violin-shaped bass guitar cost sixty guineas, going on to say he could afford a better one, but he was a skinflint.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:27 PM
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Well, a ton is a hundred squid, so... (Perhaps someone can fill in a good animal joke)
No, I think a ton is 2000 squid.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:37 PM
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Britain, remember?

2,240 squid to the tonne.
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:11 PM
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So I’m watching Peaky Blinders, and I have no idea how British money works. How much is a 1921 pound worth in modern dollars? Also, how many pounds in a Guinea. or a Sovereign?
UK to USA money is easy!

1 Guinea is 21 shillings, thus worth quite a bit more than 1 pound, which was 20 shillings.
Each shilling consisting of 12 pence, of course.
One pence consisting of 4 farthing naturally.

In US money, this was about 2/3rds of a $5 half-eagle, thus $3
(not to be confused with an indian head, which was $3.. except when it was $2.50)

Of course today a 1921 one-pound note is worth about $54, unless you have the actual note, in which case it is worth about $200, depending on condition.

see, easy!
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post

Mills are used in tax policy, too.
What's really annoying about this is that a mill is an actual unit of currency, as well as an amount of a annual property tax levy per dollar of taxable value. There's no reason to think when someone says that the new millage proposal is 2.9 mills that it would inherently mean 2.9 mills per dollar of taxable value paid annually; that's just how it's come to be used. My example there also shows that they definitely don't keep to even mill numbers, which means that the entire point of using mills, and not cents or simply dollars, is kinda irrelevant. But kept on almost certainly because of the people who think that .02 cents is the same as $.02, and so they keep talking about things in mills because that's what people understand. If they instead talking about it in terms of $2.90 per thousand dollars of taxable value, people would probably be up in arms despite it being the same thing.

Also to note is that the rate is per taxable value dollar, not per dollar the land is actually worth. At least in Michigan, the taxable value can only go up so much per year, although it otherwise would be equal to the State Equalized Value, which according to my mother the retired commercial real estate professional is one-half of the actual value of your home. Personally, I take this whole "one half" thing to mean that if you had your house sold at a sheriff's sale for lack of payment, they'd probably only get one-half of what you'd get if you had some time to find a reasonable buyer. And since that's what the state would get if they had to seize your home over unpaid taxes, that's what they use in assessing the taxes. At least, again, in Michigan.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
Fiver - five pounds (a large white note, rarely seen by ordinary workers)
I understand this was once about the size of a sheet of letter paper. Was a five-pound note still that big in 1921? I'm just curious.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by MEBuckner View Post

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The dime says "one dime," which is the weird one, because "dime" is not a denomination of currency. It's just the name for the coin.
Officially, it kind of is a denomination of currency
Not that people use checks much anymore, but I wonder if you could write a check for a thousand dimes instead of a hundred dollars, and the bank would honor it?
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by MEBuckner View Post
So, the dollar is the base unit, and other units are expressed in terms of their relation to the dollar, but there are officially four units--not just dollars and cents but also dimes and mills (the last of which only even theoretically comes up with the odd custom of pricing gasoline using numbers like "$2.569 per gallon").
Don't forget "mill levies" which are a property tax expressed in mills: A mill in that context is $1 tax for every $1,000 of assessed value.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:07 PM
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Not that people use checks much anymore, but I wonder if you could write a check for a thousand dimes instead of a hundred dollars, and the bank would honor it?
As is customary in these things: Maybe.

There's an old urban legend (maybe true, maybe not) about someone painting a check on the side of a living cow and a bank honoring it. That may or may not have happened, but the fact is that a check is just a simple financial instrument which only needs basic information to be valid. The pre-printed forms banks issue are merely a convenience for both you and them; they have a number of cunning features to aid automatic processing, such as magnetic ink in an odd typeface to allow non-OCR scanning of the routing and account numbers, so a bank would be unhappy if you came in with dozens of checks on scraps of paper, but that's between you and your bank or other financial institution. Similarly, a store doesn't have to take a valid but irregular check, but a store also doesn't have to take a fifty dollar bill, or a fistful of pennies.

According to the UCC, which isn't law but has been widely used as the model for state laws, a check is a draft (other than a documentary draft) payable on demand and drawn on a bank, or a cashier's check, which, since those are issued by banks, are going to be of a standard form because that's how banks are; a documentary draft is "a draft to be presented for acceptance or payment if specified documents, certificated securities or instructions for uncertificated securities, or other certificates, statements, or the like are to be received by the drawee or other payor before acceptance or payment of the draft." I'm sure someone, somewhere, actually uses those things. I further note that the definition of a check doesn't mention that a payee must be specified; this seems to indicate that if none is named, it's a bearer instrument, payable to whoever has it.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
I understand this was once about the size of a sheet of letter paper. Was a five-pound note still that big in 1921? I'm just curious.
They were never that big:

The first £5 notes were introduced in 1793 as a reaction to the war against France and the shortage of gold. The notes were 195 x 120mm (about 7½ x 4¾") in size and were produced in black ink on white paper, later becoming known as the “White Fiver”. These notes were left relatively unchanged (with the exception of some size fluctuations) until 1945 when a metal thread security feature was introduced for the first time.

The White Fiver, which had shrunk somewhat by then, was removed from circulation in March 1961
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:21 PM
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Just because I remember this, the story of Patrick Combs:
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Originally Posted by Financial Times
It was a cheque, made out in my name, for $95,093.35 and it came in a junk-mail letter from a get-rich-quick company. It was worthless, meant only as a financial tease, a lip-licking come-on. “This is how much money you could soon be making.” What it was never meant for was deposit. But that’s exactly what made the thought of depositing it so irresistibly funny. What could possibly be funnier than depositing a perfectly ridiculous, obviously false, fake cheque? (Did I mention it had “non-negotiable” clearly written on it?) So, as a joke, I deposited the fake cheque into my bank’s ATM. I felt like a million bucks doing so. I’d never had so much fun at my bank. Come to think of it, I’d never had any fun at my bank until the moment I endorsed the back of this “cheque” with a smiley face and slipped the Monopoly-like money into the mouth of the hungry ATM. For the first time ever, I walked away from my bank laughing.

[snip]

I learned that what I thought was a fake cheque was legally a real cheque. A little-known change in the 1990 Uniform Commercial Code made it so that the words “non-negotiable” printed on a cheque do not invalidate it. It may have been just a small footnote change but what I deposited was, marvellously, an accidentally real $95,093.35 cheque.
He gave back the money and is now a motivational speaker.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
Don't forget "mill levies" which are a property tax expressed in mills: A mill in that context is $1 tax for every $1,000 of assessed value.
See post 81.
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Old 08-16-2019, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I'm confused; what does this mean? Doesn't the £ indicate British pounds? It sounds like you're saying a pound was worth 2.4 pounds.
I think what the writer meant was there were 240 pennies in a pound.
12 pennies (p) in a shilling (s) and 20 shillings in a pound (£).

To get even more difficult there were:
4 farthings = 1 penny
3 pennies = threepence (obviously, but there was a coin)
6 pennies = sixpence " " "
4 pennies = 1 groat (last used in the 16th century)
3 groats = 1 shilling (12 pence)
2 1/2 shillings = 1 half-a-crown
2 half-a-crowns = 1 crown
4 crowns = 1 pound
1 pound + 1 shilling = 1 guinea.

Britain adopted the decimal system almost fifty years ago but myself and folks my age (71) can still instantly add, divide, and multiply in the old currency
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Old 08-16-2019, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Sleath View Post
Britain adopted the decimal system almost fifty years ago but myself and folks my age (71) can still instantly add, divide, and multiply in the old currency
I'm 71 and British; but I can't -- never could. Can't instantly do all that stuff "in decimal" either: I'm self-confessedly hopeless at arithmetic.
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:49 AM
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Once upon a time, schoolchildren were made to memorize their multiplication tables up to at least 12 x 12, which was obviously handy when dealing with duodecimal currency.
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:56 AM
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At my school, we went up to the 16 times table - for ounces in a pound.
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:58 AM
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And some of us had the old-style exercise books with all the measures listed on the back - rods, poles and perches included. But that's really going off topic.
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Old 08-16-2019, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Sleath View Post
4 pennies = 1 groat (last used in the 16th century)
According to Wikipedia, the groat was issued in Britain as late as the middle of the 19th century. And in British Guiana (now Guyana), until they decimalized in the middle of the 20th century.
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Old 08-17-2019, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop View Post
So I’m watching Peaky Blinders, and I have no idea how British money works. How much is a 1921 pound worth in modern dollars? Also, how many pounds in a Guinea. or a Sovereign?
My bolding above -- now going really wildly off topic: I live in Birmingham, England -- setting for the gangland epic concerned. A local firm which makes various pork-based "nibbles" (a favourite snack here in England's West Midlands), has cashed in on the popular television series, by launching a line which it calls "Porky Blinders".

I've tried to do a link; but can only suggest Googling "porky blinders pork scratchings": among the first "hits" therefrom, is a headline "Images for porky blinders pork scratchings". The furthest-left of the pictures shown immediately below said headline, depicts the matching cartoon. I just find the drawing, showing a pig in menacing pose and 1921 gangster garb, marvellously silly...
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