British currency

Whats the currency like in the UK? From watching some british comedy, I thought a P(?) was just some sort of slang for a pound, but I just saw a show that seemed to indicate that its not. And whtat the heck is a quid?

A P is a penny or pence (100 P = 1 Pound)

I believe a quid is a Pound. A single pound is a coin just like a single P (or pence)

How old was the show? If it was 1971 or earlier, the references would be to the pre-decimalised pound sterling, which was composed of 240 pennies, and you had coins ranging from a farthing (1/4 of a penny), a half-penny (prounounced “haypenny”), a penny, two pence (pronounced “tuppence”), a sixpence, a shilling (12 pennies), a half-crown (which I think was worth 30 pence), crown (60 pence), then a pound note. To confuse matters (further), a Guinea was a gold coin worth 21 shillings (one shilling over a pound).

No wonder they went to 100 pennies = 1 pound!

Because many of these coin types had been in use for hundreds of years, slang terms for them abound, and some are still in use, especially among older folks. About 10 years ago, I was buying an old cap-badge in a London market, and the seller said the price was “10 bob”. A “bob” is slang for a shilling, and converts to 5 ‘new’ pence, so the real price of the badge was 50p.

Some slang I can recall:

‘tizzie’ for sixpence;
‘quid’, ‘ackers’, ‘readies’, ‘beer vouchers’ (army slang) for pound note;
‘bob’ for shilling;
‘pony’ for a five-pound note

Undoubtedly many others…

Quid a sovereign; Half a Quid, half a sovereign; Quids, cash or money
generally. A suggested derivation may be mentioned. Quo = anything, and
Quid pro quo means an equivalent generally. If now a person is offered
anything on sale he might say, I have not a quid for your quo, an
equivalent in cash.

buck:dollar:: quid:pound sterling
They gone decimal now. The old way didn’t seem to have any more rhyme or reason than their system of measures
4 farthings = 1 penny
12 pence = 1 shilling
2 shillings = 1 florin
5 shillings = 1 crown
20 shillings = 1 pound
21 shillings = 1 guinea
It is written £/s/d and £/s/- for even shillings.
P is slang for pence, d is the official abbreviation (we still use that for nails ) Penny:1(per)cent(US)::P:pence and(copper:penny) and there is ha-penny for half penny pronounced HAY penny , at least by cockneys, And I am Unanimous in that.
Now the got the Euro dollar too.

Ya beat me rodd, I was adding citations.

I forgot about the word “florin”, mr. john. I also just remembered a very colourful cockney antique dealer I used to know (this was about 1976, and he really was like the TV character Arthur Daley) used the word “dollar” to refer to (I think) a crown.

Can anyone confirm the use of the term “dollar” in this manner?

yeh rodd dollar is was used for a lot of similar coins. gimme time i’ll look it up dollar is from thaller from empress Theresa of Austria ??
That’s from the small particle of brain lodged in my skull.

Dollar Marked thus $, either scutum or 8, a dollar being a “piece of
eight” [reals]. The two lines indicate a contraction, as in lb.
   The word is a variant of thaler (Low German, dahler; Danish, daler,
and means “a valley,” our dale. The counts of Schlick, at the close of
the fifteenth century, extracted from the mines at Joachim’s thal
(Joachim’s valley) silver which they coined into ounce-pieces. These
pieces, called Joachim’s-thalers, gained such high repute that they
became a standard coin. Other coins being made like them were called
thalers only. The American dollar equals 100 cents, in English money a
little more than four shillings.
op cit

The dollar seems to have been originally a German coin, and in different parts of Germany, the name is given to coins of different values.

Well, whudda ya know! Whats that Empress Theresa thing? Stupid brain! "Both mother annn’ daughter,a workin’ for da Yankee dollar"three guesses what that songs about. The Andrews sisters should be ashamed.

Not that anyone’s asked, but the reason the UK had one item of currency worth 20 shillings and another one worth 21 shillings was because one was originally based on the silver standard and the other was based on gold.

AH HA ,My King, that explains pound sterling.

Having spent 3 years in England courtesy of the Air Force, I remember that 5-pound notes barely fit your wallet (due to width) and got progressively worse with the 10, 20 and 50 pound note which by then were roughly equal in area to small boat flags. Breaking any of these notes resulted in carrying around lots of clanking 1-pound coins since the Brits did away with the pound note around 1986. The pound coins were real dense and heavy. The cool part was, for awhile, you could use US nickels and fool the British Telecom phones into thinking they were 20-pence coins since they were roughly the same weight and feel, but at approx. $1.65 = L1, well, you do the math. You could even use them in parking meters. Towards the end of my tour, the Brits got smart and started gearing their machines to detect that horrible American nickel. I’m sure it was all in a day’s work putting up with the Yanks.

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon

I know a guy who makes 75,000 pounds and I changed that to US dollars, got about $122,000. That seems like a lot of money for just working with computers for an airline there [british airways]. hmm?

Mr John: Thanks for an outstanding description of the money used in the United Kingdom.

I do have one minor quibble, however, with your posting. The new currency in use in Europe is not the Euro Dollar; it’s the Euro. Euro is the whole name of the thing.


One other minor quibble. Britain doesn’t now have the Euro.

Bíonn caora dhubh ar an tréad is gile (there is a black sheep even in the whitest flock).–Irish Proverb

Having lived in Britain the last 7 years, I feel that this is a question I can answer with some authority. ‘P’ is short for pence, the British equivalent to pennies, of which there are 100 to a pound. ‘Quid’ is slang for a pound. Quid is NEVER pluralized, so you would have 100 quid (if you’re lucky). They never pluralize ‘pound’ either,for some reason.
Another interesting note (no pun intended) is that the banks here in Scotland print their own bills. So, you end up with three completely different £5 notes issued by the Bank of Scotland, the Clydesdale Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Foreign countries look upon Scottish notes with with suspicion and so, if we travel abroad, we have to go into a bank and get English notes so that Spanish currency exchanges don’t look at us as though we were giving them Monopoly money. English people (especially taxi drivers) used to be reluctant about taking Scottish money, but that has drastically improved in the last 5 years.

I’m Scottish and when I’m in England (rarely) I try to use Scottish notes as little as possible, it’s better now than it used to be, true, but occasionally you do have a problem and it just sets me steaming so I avoid it if I can. The Scottish £1 notes by the way are not accepted in England–at all. And Northern Ireland issues its own notes as well, which are generally accepted in Scotland, but not in England.

More than you wanted to know probably.

Bíonn caora dhubh ar an tréad is gile (there is a black sheep even in the whitest flock).

If Scotland and Northern Ireland issue their own currency, shouldn’t Wales do so as well? What about the Isle of Man, the Channel Island, and Gibraltar? How many different kinds of pound notes are circulating around the UK?

Note – d was the official symbol for the old Penny – 1/240 of a pound. {i]p* is the official symbol for the New Penny – 1/100 of a pound. For a long time, people said “one Pee” and so forth, because it was easier than saying “one New Penny” and could not be confused with the old Penny, but it’s been nearly 30 years now, and most people nowadays say “penny” and “pence”, meaning, of course, the New Penny.

The Guinea was an accident. A new (several hundred years ago) series of gold one-pound coins was issued with gold from Guinea, and people decided that the gold in them was exceptionally pure, making them worth more than one pound – 21 shillings (1.05 pounds) was settled on. Eventually, the coins were fixed (Sherlock Holmes’ “Sovereign” and “Half-sovereign” were one-pound and one-half-pound gold coins), but the tradition stuck of using Guineas instead of Pounds to quote prices for luxury goods for centuries after the actual Guinea coin disappeared – it was the British equivalent of the strings of 9’s at the end of American prices.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

Scottish £1 notes are fairly uncommon, though, in my experience. In the time that I’ve been living here I can recall having possessed only one. But gradually becoming more common are the fancy new £2 coins. They would help make carrying change a bit less cumbersome, except that they’re still unusual enough to warrant saving in a jar! If I manage to fill up my Bowmore whisky tin, I’ll have a fortune…

Why isn’t a pound sterling worth the same amount as a pound of sterling silver? Was it ever?