British Money

I’m confused. No surprise there.

Whilst watching Gordon Ramsey I notice that he uses several terms for cash.

Pence, Quid and Pounds.

Can someone please tell me how these translate to US dollars? I understand that a Pound is about 1.33 - 1.5 times an American dollar, but I don’t understand the smaller currency names.


Pence is plural of penny (1/100 of a pound)

Quid is a slang term for a pound

Pence are what Americans would call “cents.” The pound is now divided into 100 pence. There are one pence, two pence, five pence, ten pence, and twenty pence coins.
Although that’s only the last 25 or 30 years; the system before that, like if you were referrring to Dickens, say, was incomprehensible to anyone not born to it.

Quid is a slang term for pound. Think of it in the same way as, for the US, you could say a buck to mean a dollar. The Brits also have managed to adopt a one-pound coin, something that eludes the ability of Americans to comprehend.


pence=1/100 pound

Cite (see section “Decimal” and under “Nickname” in the side bar)

ETA: I think it is obvious that I’d have been first if I hadn’t bothered to cite.

To elaborate - it’s specifically the value plural.

Pennies is the object plural - a jar of pennies. If there are thirty pennies in the jar, the value is thirty pence.

It’s the one penny coin, of course, not “one pence”. Penny/pence is usually abbreviated to “p”, e.g. a “50p piece” (coin).

Meanwhile, the plural of quid is just “quid”, not “quids”, and “pound” is often used as a plural too.

Conversationally as well as in writing. It’s not at all uncommon to hear people say “fifty pee”

And it is high time that the lot was shovelled into the sea and replaced with € !

You might also hear “coppers”, which can mean (copper coloured) 1p and 2p coins. If it helps here’s a rough guide to both pre-decimal and modern currency:

Before the 70s there were 12 pence in a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound. Pennies could also divided into smaller units (a farthing was one 1/4 of a penny. Also 21 shillings made a guinea, but that was just a unit of account.

Not altogether. My mother used to save guinea coins, had stacks of them.
I do agree that they ceased to be legal tender in the seventies though. Broke her heart to turn them into figures in a bank book.

Are you sure? There haven’t been guinea coins since 1816.

When, exactly, did your mother pick up guinea coins? They went obsolete in 1816. They were gold.

She may have continued to use the term, but she didn’t have guinea coins, unless I’m missing something.

Sorry, WotNot. Posted without previewing.

Sure it wasn’t crowns or half crowns?

When the guinea was first issued, in Restoration times, it was made of gold captured from the Spanish off the Guinea Coast of West Africa, hence the name. It was originally intended to be valued at one pound sterling, but rapidly moved to a market value of 30 shillings (1.5 pounds). During the 1700s it was fixed at 21 shillings, i.e., 1.05 pounds.

This is a bit like saying that inches, feet and miles are incomprehensible to someone not born to them. The truth is that LSD was quaint, but easily comprehensible to a willing mind.

Easy. There’s fifty nicker to a pony, and a couple of ponies to a ton. 500 tons would amount to fifty grand, or as you would say, fifty large.

Bull! We had Eisenhower silver dollar coins long before that.

You remember Eisenhower – American General, came over there along with lots of other American soldier, to save your limey asses for the Germans.

Never heard “limey” being used as slang for a guy who lives in Chicago before, but you learn a new thing every day…


A pony is £25, making four ponies in a ton. Additionally, £500 is known as a monkey.

On the subject of guineas, the terminology is still used over here when buying and selling bloodstock. For example, at this month’s Tattersalls Yearling Sales the highest price paid was 700,000 guineas (for a son of Oasis Dream). Obviously, the buyer doesn’t hand over the actual guineas because they no longer exist. He shells out £700,000 plus one twentieth of that sum (£35,000) making a total of £735,000.

The horse racing industry is often slow to embrace change. :slight_smile: