List of British banknotes and coins

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List of British banknotes and coins, with commonly used terms.

Contents

Coins

Pre-decimal

Prior to decimalisation in 1971, there were 12 pence (written as 12d) in a shilling (written as 1s or 1/-) and 20 shillings in a pound, written as £1 (occasionally "L" was used instead of the pound sign, £). There were therefore 240 pence in a pound. For example, 2 pounds 14 shillings and 5 pence could have been written as £2 14s 5d or £2/14/5.

The value of some coins fluctuated, particularly in the reigns of James I and Charles I. The value of a guinea fluctuated between 20 and 30 shillings before being fixed at 21 shillings in December 1717. These are denominations of British, or earlier English, coins Scottish coins had different values.

CoinPre-decimalisation valuePost-decimalisation valueDates of useNotes
Mite124d£0.000173615th centuryThe Flemish groat approximately matched the English penny c 1420-1480 and was divided into 24 mites. The latter was thus extended to mean 124 penny or 16 farthing even if not minted in Tudor England. [1] [2]
Quarter farthing 116d£0.000261839–1868. [coins 1]
Third farthing 112d£0.00034721827–1913. [coins 1]
Half farthing 18d£0.000520831828–1868. [coins 1]
Farthing 14d£0.00104167c. 1200–1960.The word "farthing" means "fourth part" (of a penny).
Halfpenny 12d£0.00211272–1969.Often called a "ha'penny" (pronounced /ˈhpni/ HAYP-nee), plural halfpennies ("ha'pennies") for the coins, halfpence ("ha'pence") for the monetary amount.
Three farthings 34d£0.00311561–1582.
One penny 1d£0.0042757–1970 (and thereafter only for Maundy).Commonly called a "copper"; plural "pennies" for the coins, "pence" for the monetary amount
Three halfpence 1+12d£0.00631561–1582, 1834–1870.Pronounced as "three-ha'pence". [coins 1]
Half groat2d£0.00831351–1662.
Twopence 2d£0.0083silver 1668–current (for Maundy); copper 1797–1798.Pronounced "tuppence".
Threepence 3d£0.0125silver 1547–1945 (and thereafter only for Maundy), nickel-brass 1937–1970.Sometimes called "thripp'nce", "thrupp'nce", "threpp'nce" or "thripp'ny bit", "thrupp'ny bit". Referred to as a "joey" after the groat was no longer in circulation, as featured in George Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying .
Groat 4d£0.0167silver 1279–1662, 1836–1862 (and thereafter only for Maundy).Referred to as a "joey" after Joseph Hume, the economist and Member of Parliament until it stopped being issued in 1885. [3]
Sixpence 6d£0.0251547–1970; circulated from 1971 to 1980 with a value of two and a half decimal pence.Also called "tanner", sometimes "tilbury", [4] or "joey" after the groat was no longer in circulation.[ citation needed ]
Shilling 1/-£0.051502–1970, circulated from 1971 to 1990 with a value of five decimal pence.Also called a "bob", in singular or plural.
Quarter florin or helm 1/6£0.0751344Gold coin demonetized within one year. [coins 2]
Gold penny 1/8 to 2/-£0.0833 to £0.11257–1265.Gold. Undervalued for its metal content and extremely rare.
Quarter noble1/8£0.08331344–1470.
Quarter angel2/-£0.11547–1600.Gold.
Florin or two shillings 2/-£0.11848–1970, circulated from 1971 to 1993 with a value of ten decimal pence.Not to be confused with the gold medieval florin. [coins 2]
Half crown 2/6£0.1251526–1969.Sometimes known as "half a dollar" (see Crown below).
Half florin or leopard 3/-£0.151344Gold; extremely rare. [coins 2]
Half noble3/4 to 4/2£0.1667 to £0.2083minted 1346–1438.increased in value in 1464
Half angel3/4, later 5/6£0.1667, later £0.2751470–1619.
Double florin 4/-£0.21887–1890.Silver. [coins 2]
Crown of the rose 4/6£0.2251526–1551.
Crown 5/-£0.251526–1965.Sometimes known as "a dollar" – from the 1940s when the exchange rate was four USD to the GBP.
Quarter guinea 5/3£0.26251718, 1762.
Florin or double leopard 6/-£0.31344.Gold; demonetized within one year. [coins 2]
Noble 6/8, later 8/4£0.3333, later £0.41671344–1464.Increased in value in 1464.
Angel 6/8£0.33331461–1643.
Half mark6/8£0.333[medieval period]A unit of account, not a coin. Convenient as it was exactly one-third of a pound.
Third guinea 7/-£0.351797–1813.
Rose noble or ryal10/-, later 15/-£0.5, later £0.751464–1470, 1487, 1553–1603.Increased in value from 1553.
Half sovereign 10/-£0.51544–1553; 1603–1604; 1817–1937A bullion coin since 1980.
Half pound10/-£0.51559–1602; 1642–1644
Double crown10/-£0.51604–1619; 1625–1662.
Half laurel 10/-£0.51619–1625.
Half unite10/-£0.51642–1643.
Half guinea 10/6£0.5251669–1813.
Mark 13/4£0.667[medieval period]A unit of account not a coin, but widely used.
Spur ryal 15/-£0.751604–1625.
Sovereign 20/-£11489–1604; 1817–1937A bullion coin since 1957.
Unite 20/-£11604–1619; 1649–1662.
Laurel 20/-£11619–1644?
Carolus 20/-, later 23/-£1, later £1.15reign of Charles I.
Broad 20/-£11656.
Guinea 21/-£1.051663–1799, 1813.
Rose Ryal 30/-£1.501604–1625.
Two pounds 40/-£21823–1937.Gold; "double sovereign".
Two guineas or double guinea originally 40/-, later 42/-originally £2, later £2.101664–1753.Originally known as a "forty-shilling piece"; value changed to forty-two shillings after the Proclamation of 1717 finally settled the value of a guinea.
Fifty shillings 50/-£2.501656.
Triple unite 60/-£31642–1644.
Five pounds 100/-£51826–1990.Gold.
Five guineas originally 100/-, later 105/-originally £5, later £5.251668–1753.Originally known and valued as five pounds, but became five guineas when the guinea was standardised at one pound and one shilling in 1717.
Visualisation of some British currency terms before decimalisation British predecimal currency.svg
Visualisation of some British currency terms before decimalisation

Notes:

  1. 1 2 3 4 Denomination issued for use in the colonies, usually in Ceylon, Malta, and the West Indies, but normally counted as part of the British coinage.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 The medieval florin, half florin, and quarter florin were gold coins intended to circulate in Europe as well as in England and were valued at much more than the Victorian and later florin and double florin. The medieval florins were withdrawn within a year because they contained insufficient gold for their face value and thus were unacceptable to merchants.

Decimal

Since decimalisation on "Decimal Day", 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 pence. Originally the term "new pence" was used; the word "new" was dropped from the coinage in 1983. The old shilling equated to five (new) pence, and, for example, £2 10s 6d became £2.52+12. The symbol for the (old) penny, "d", was replaced by "p" (or initially sometimes "np", for new pence). Thus 72 pence can be written as £0.72 or 72p; both were commonly read as "seventy-two pee".

Post-decimalisation British coins.
NameValueNotes
Half penny 12pSometimes written "ha'penny" (pronounced /ˈhpni/ HAYP-nee), but normally called a "half-pee"; demonetised and withdrawn from circulation in December 1984.
One penny 1p
Two pence 2p
Five pence 5pA direct replacement for the shilling. The coin was reduced in size in 1990.
Six pence 6pMinted uniquely in 2016 as a commemorative coin. [5]
Ten pence 10pA replacement for the florin (two shillings). The coin was reduced in size in 1992.
Twenty pence 20pIntroduced in 1982.
Twenty-five pence 25pA commemorative coin issued between 1972 and 1981 as a post-decimal continuation of the old crown. From 1990 it was replaced in the commemorative role by the £5 coin.
Fifty pence 50pIntroduced in 1969, just prior to decimalisation, to replace the ten shilling note ("ten bob note"). It was initially sometimes called a "ten bob bit". The coin was reduced in size in 1997.
One pound £1Introduced in 1983 to replace the one pound note.
Sovereign £1Gold bullion coins, available in four other sizes too: quarter sovereign (25p), half sovereign12), double sovereign (£2) and quintuple sovereign (£5).
Two pounds £2Issued as a commemorative coin from 1986 and in general circulation from 1998 (dated from 1997).
Britannia various valuesGold and silver bullion coins, either one — or multiples, or fractions of — troy ounces.
Five pounds £5Introduced in 1990 as a commemorative coin, as a continuation of the old crown, replacing the commemorative role of the twenty-five pence coin.
The Valiant £10Bullion / collectors' coins issued in 2018 and 2019; 10 troy ounces of silver. [6]
Twenty pounds £20Introduced in 2013 as a commemorative coin. [7]
Fifty pounds £50Introduced in 2015 as a commemorative coin. [8]
One hundred pounds £100Introduced in 2015 as a commemorative coin. [9]

Banknotes

Main articles: Banknotes of the pound sterling and Bank of England note issues.

Note: The description of banknotes given here relates to notes issued by the Bank of England. Three banks in Scotland and four banks in Northern Ireland also issue notes, in some or all of the denominations: £1, £5, £10, £20, £50, £100.

British bank notes:
Pre-decimalisation British Notes:
NameValueCirculationNotes
Five shilling note5/-(£0.25)Red x.svg non-circulatingOriginally issued by the treasury in 1914-1928. Not replaced by Bank of England notes.
Ten shilling note10/-(£0.5)Red x.svg non-circulatingOriginally issued by the treasury in 1914. Replaced by Bank of England notes from 1928. Commonly known as "ten bob note" or "half a quid". 1914–1970.

Post-decimalisation British Notes:

NameValueCirculationNotes
£1 note£1Red x.svg non-circulatingWithdrawn in 1988, it is still issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Ireland and still used in some of the Channel Islands.[ citation needed ]
£5 note£5Green check.svg in circulationThe original "large white fiver" five pound note was known as "five jacks" and replaced in 1957 by the blue £5 note. Now also known as a "fiver".
£10 note£10Green check.svg in circulationAlso known as a "tenner".
£20 note£20Green check.svg in circulationAlso known as a "score".
£50 note£50Green check.svg in circulationAlso known as a "bullseye".
£100 note£100Red x.svg not in circulationIssued by Scottish and Northern-Irish banks only.
£1,000,000 note£1,000,000Red x.svg non-circulatingAlso known as a "Giant". Used as backing for banknotes issued by Scottish and Northern Irish banks when exceeding the value of their 1845 reserves. The amount to be covered is over a billion pounds. [10] Also issued in 1948 as a temporary measure during the postwar reconstruction in the Marshall Plan. [11]
£10,000,000 note£10,000,000Red x.svg non-circulatingUsed as backing for banknotes issued by Scottish and Northern Irish banks when exceeding the value of their 1845 reserves. The amount to be covered is over a billion pounds.
£100,000,000 note£100,000,000Red x.svg non-circulatingAlso known as a "Titan". Used as backing for banknotes issued by Scottish and Northern Irish banks when exceeding the value of their 1845 reserves. The amount to be covered is over a billion pounds. [10]

Bank of England notes are periodically redesigned and reissued, with the old notes being withdrawn from circulation and destroyed. Each redesign is allocated a "series". Currently the £50 note is "series F" issue whilst the £5, £10 and £20 notes are "series G" issue. Series G is the latest round of redesign, which commenced in September 2016 with the polymer £5 note, September 2017 with the polymer £10 note, and February 2020 with the polymer £20 note. [12]

Related Research Articles

Coins of the pound sterling British current and historic coinage

The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom, British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories is denominated in pennies and pounds sterling, and ranges in value from one penny sterling to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 (new) pence. Before decimalisation, twelve pence made a shilling, and twenty shillings made a pound. British coins are minted by the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales. The Royal Mint also commissions the coins' designs.

Shilling Name for a coin or unit of currency

The shilling is a historical coin, and the name of a unit of modern currencies formerly used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and other British Commonwealth countries.

The Australian dollar is the currency of Australia, including its external territories: Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Norfolk Island. It is officially used as currency by three independent Pacific Island states: Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu. It is legal tender in Australia. Within Australia, it is almost always abbreviated with the dollar sign ($), with A$ or AU$ sometimes used to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. The $ symbol precedes the amount. It is subdivided into 100 cents.

Pound sterling Official currency of the United Kingdom and other territories

Sterling is the official currency of the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory, and Tristan da Cunha. Sterling is the world's oldest currency that is still in use and that has been in continuous use since its inception.

Irish pound Currency of Ireland before 2002

The Irish pound was the currency of Ireland until 2002. Its ISO 4217 code was IEP, and the usual notation was the prefix £. The Irish pound was replaced by the euro on 1 January 1999. Euro currency did not begin circulation until the beginning of 2002.

Decimal Day 15 February 1971, when the UK and Ireland adopted decimal currency

Decimal Day in the United Kingdom and in Ireland was Monday 15 February 1971, the day on which each country decimalised its respective £sd currency of pounds, shillings, and pence.

Carolingian monetary system Pre-decimal currencies

The Carolingian monetary system or Carolingian coinage system, often just called a Carolingian system was first created at the end of the 8th century by Emperor Charlemagne to give direction for the minting of coins, influencing coinage in Europe for several centuries and being adopted by many countries worldwide. It is characterised by having three denominations in the ratio 1:20:240, for example, 1 pound consisting of 20 shillings and 240 pence.

Australian pound Former currency of Australia

The Australian pound was the currency of Australia from 1910 until 14 February 1966, when it was replaced by the Australian dollar. As with other £sd currencies, it was subdivided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence.

The pound is the currency of Guernsey. Since 1921, Guernsey has been in currency union with the United Kingdom and the Guernsey pound is not a separate currency but is a local issue of banknotes and coins denominated in pound sterling, in a similar way to the banknotes issued in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. It can be exchanged at par with other sterling coinage and notes.

The Bermudian dollar is the official currency of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The Bermudian dollar is not normally traded outside Bermuda, and is pegged to the United States dollar at a one-to-one ratio. Both currencies circulate in Bermuda on an equal basis.

Trinidad and Tobago dollar Currency of Trinidad and Tobago

The Trinidad and Tobago dollar is the currency of Trinidad and Tobago. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively TT$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is subdivided into 100 cents. Cents are abbreviated with the cent sign ¢, or TT¢ to distinguish from other currencies that use cents. Its predecessor currencies are the Trinidadian dollar and the Tobagonian dollar.

Barbadian dollar Currency of Barbados

The dollar has been the currency of Barbados since 1935. The present dollar has the ISO 4217 code BBD, but the International vehicle registration code code BDS is also commonly used. The Barbadian dollar is divided into 100 cents.

Jersey pound Currency of Jersey

The pound is the currency of Jersey. Jersey is in currency union with the United Kingdom, and the Jersey pound is not a separate currency but is an issue of banknotes and coins by the States of Jersey denominated in pound sterling, in a similar way to the banknotes issued in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It can be exchanged at par with other sterling coinage and notes.

The Manx pound is the currency of the Isle of Man, in parity with the pound sterling. The Manx pound is divided into 100 pence. Notes and coins, denominated in pounds and pence, are issued by the Isle of Man Government.

The guilder or fl. was the currency of the Netherlands from the 15th century until 2002, when it was replaced by the euro.

New Zealand pound Currency of New Zealand from 1840 until 1967

The pound was the currency of New Zealand from 1840 until 1967, when it was replaced by the New Zealand dollar. Like the sterling, it was subdivided into 20 shillings each of 12 pence.

South African pound

The pound was the currency of the Union of South Africa from the formation of the country as a British Dominion in 1910. It was replaced by the rand in 1961 when South Africa became a republic.

Jamaican pound Official currency of Jamaica from 1840 to 1969

The Jamaican pound was the official currency of Jamaica between 1840 and 1969. It circulated as a mixture of British currency and local issues and was always equal to the British pound. The Jamaican pound was also used by the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Sixpence (Australian) Australian coin

The Australian sixpence circulated from 1910 up until the decimalisation of Australian Currency in 1966. The coins were initially minted in England; however, Australia began to mint their own from the year of 1916 at branches of the Royal Mint in Sydney and Melbourne. The coins which made up Australia's pre-decimal currency were identical to British currency in the characteristics of weight and size. The Coinage Act of 1909–1947, authorised the issue of Australian coins in the select denominations, including the sixpence. By 1916 all silver denominations, including the sixpence, could be minted at the Royal Mint branch in Melbourne. Unique Australian currency was created with decimalisation in 1966.

Shilling (British coin) British pre-decimalisation coin

The shilling was a coin worth one twentieth of a pound sterling, or twelve pence. It was first minted in the reign of Henry VII as the testoon, and became known as the shilling, from the Old English scilling, sometime in the mid-16th century. It circulated until 1990. The word bob was sometimes used for a monetary value of several shillings, e.g. "ten-bob note". Following decimalisation on 15 February 1971 the coin had a value of five new pence, and a new coin of the same value but labelled as "five new pence" or "five pence" was minted with the same size as the shilling until 1990, after which the shilling no longer remained legal tender. It was made from silver from its introduction in or around 1503 until 1946, and thereafter in cupronickel.

References

  1. Money and coinage in late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Pages 26-27: groat 0.8-0.9g in 1420s, penny 0.9g in 1411. https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/munro5/MONEYLEC.pdf
  2. Lara E. Eakins. "Coinage". tudorhistory.org. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  3. "Slang Terms for Money".
  4. "Money Slang".
  5. "Our Coins | the Royal Mint".
  6. The Valiant
  7. "£20 Coins". The Royal Mint.
  8. "£50 Coins". The Royal Mint. Archived from the original on 3 December 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  9. "Buckingham Palace 2015 UK £100 Fine Silver Coin". Royal Mint. Archived from the original on 4 October 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  10. 1 2 "Scottish and Northern Ireland Banknotes - The Role of Backing Assets". Bank of England. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  11. "One in a Million". Time. 5 August 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  12. http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/current/index.htm Current banknotes of the Bank of England