English money before decimalization

Can someone give me a comprehensive list of the terms – both official and slang – for pre-decimal English money.

Pence, half-crown, crown, pound, bob, quid, guinea, shilling – what else? What are they in relation to each other?

1 pound=20 shillings
1 guinea=21 shillings(slang)
1 crown=5 shillings
1 shilling=12 pence
1 bob=1 shilling(slang)
1 quid=1 pound(slang)

Bob is slang for shilling
Quid is slang for pound.

1 penny= 4 farthings/2 ha’pennies
12 pennies=1 shilling
20 shillings=1 pound
a crown is 5 shillings (Take a guess how much a half crown is).
A guinea is 21 shillings or 1L 1S

Values are generally in pounds(L), Shillings(S) and pence(D)

TV Tropes has quite a nice “Useful notes” page on the matter. Including some history, details about their modern counterparts and a list of slang terms.

Nitpick - guinea was variable, but usually just over a pound.It was struck from gold, hence the variability.

Now it means 21 shillings, or 1 pound 5 p., and there is no coin for it. The concept is used mostly at betting places, or occasionally other places to include a surcharge (to receive X pounds of something, you pay X guineas).

I wouldn’t say that it’s slang. It was the name of a gold coin whose value fluctuated against paper coinage with the value of gold, until it was eventually fixed at 21 shillings. The name came from the fact that the main source of gold was Guinea in Africa. The last issue of guineas was during the Peninsular War. The term continued to be used as an accounting term, for prices for high-class institutions, such as bespoke tailors and solicitor’s fees. Gone with decimalisation, of course.

See the wiki article: Guinea (British Coin)

tanner = silver six pence (6D)
Thrupenybit = three penny coin (bit)

going further back a Farthing = quarter penny also know and a wren or jenny wren (it had the bird on its revers)

From the above.


And pence is simply the plural of penny

Yes - “pence” was the odd item out on the OP’s list.

A “florin” in recent English use was two shillings, later specimens were just two-shilling coins. They and the half-crown existed concurrently (the crown itself was seldom seen, primarily a commemorative coin).

I visited the UK the summer after the shift to decimal. I had to help some of the older shop keeper figure out change. Can’t imagine how hard it was to change your currency after using it your whole life.

Some people still say Bob,usually ten bob (which used to be a note) in an ironic sort of way. Of course some also have a whole language of cash thats very mystifying,bung us a monkey and i will explain all…

^ I’m pretty sure a bob was a shilling (I’ve only ever heard it used in the phrase “a few bob” to mean an indeterminate amount of money).

On a side note: I don’t have a cite, but I clearly remember a news story regarding a British suicide about the time the UK switched to decimal. It was an English lady whose suicide note said she was distraught over the new system. Really.

Some people in the US say “two bits” to mean 25 cents or a quarter even though Spanish reales haven’t been legal tender here for over a hundred years. Eight reales were considered equal to a USD.

And 2 pennies is tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag. I had that burned into my brain at a very impressionable age.

and tuppence is married to tommy.

I hope she "kept her hand on her tuppence before marriage and has great thrupenybits…

We had public information TV in the run-up to the change-over. It wasn’t that hard as the old and new were equivalents at increments of 6d/2.5p (a 1/2 p coin was in circulation until the early 1980s). So if you wanted to buy something priced at 6 1/2 p and only had old money, you’d hand over 1 s 6d (decimal equivalent 7 1/2 p) and receive 1p in change. It seemed simple to me as a ten-year-old.

Of course, 1p, 2p, etc., is short for 1 pence, 2 pence. In the olde days, it would cost 2 pence to use a public bathroom, so you would show up and show them the money and say, “I have 2p”. That was forgotten over time, and now we just say we have to pee.
The paragraph above is not meant to be factual, but it does sound like something you’d see debunked on Snopes, like “pluck yew”, doesn’t it? Seemed like the original question was sufficiently answered to insert a “joke” here in GQ.