From c. 1124 until 1709 the coinage of Scotland was unique, and minted locally. A wide variety of coins, such as the plack, bodle, bawbee, dollar and ryal were produced over that time. For trading purposes coins of Northumbria and various other places had been used before that time; and since 1709 those of the Kingdom of Great Britain, and then of the UK.
The earliest coins in Scotland were introduced by the Roman provinces of Britain that were obtained from trade with the westernmost outpost of the Roman Empire. Far from being isolated, the Celts of Caledonia, north of Hadrian's Wall, developed trade to the general benefit of the population, to the north of the Wall. 69–79 date to the reign of Emperor Vespasian. Other sites include coins from North Uist dating to the 4th century until recently was thought to be beyond the sphere of known trade routes. Other native sites include the Fairy Knowe broch Buchlyvie, and the broch and dun at Gargunnock in Stirlingshire. Some sites include substantial silver treasure hoards most likely buried or abandoned in either Roman or native pots. Indicating the Roman governor of Britain paid large sums of money to the inhabitants of southern Scotland and possibly bribing the northern Caledonians to maintain peaceful relations with Romans and the British. Payments to chieftains are recorded in four areas; Edinburgh, Fife, Aberdeen and the Moray Firth. This may indicate such discoveries (e.g. the Birnie hoard of between 200–400 silver coins) were deposited as votive offerings. Examples including coinage of Constantine II (337–342) with over 20 such hoards found throughout Scotland. Rare examples include a base silver (potin) coin of Ptolemy XIII of Egypt, 80–51 BC In 410, trade ceased as the Roman Empire withdrew from the island of Albion.Roman coins appear over a wide range across the country, especially sites near the Antonine Wall. Hadrian's Wall was also regarded as a means to regulate social traffic and trade north, rather than a military defence against the free northern tribes of the Caledoni. Civil settlements arose along south of the wall with shops and taverns that facilitated trade between the Empire and free north. It is possible to recognise groupings of coins from certain periods, during the Flavian and Antonine occupations; such as Cardean Fort Angus where Roman dupondius coins AD
As the Roman Empire retreated from Britain, various kingdoms sprouted up to the south of Scotland.One of these, Northumbria, soon expanded into the north as far as the Kingdom of Strathclyde. Thus, it controlled the southern parts of what is now Scotland, and the bronze sceat coins of the Northumbrian Kings circulated freely in what is now Scotland. This coin was issued from 837–854. Anglo-Saxon coins were minted in Northumberland; however, due to the extensive trade routes of the Vikings, sceat coins were also minted in Frisia and Jutland during Anglo-Saxon times and coins of this period indicate the extent of Scottish trade not only with Northumberland but also with continental Europe. Norsemen also introduced some form of coinage, and coins from as far away as Byzantium and the Arabic countries have been found in sites in Scandinavia, including Norway which had strong links with Scotland in the early Middle Ages.
|David II (r. 1329–1371): penny|
|+DAVID DEI GRACIA, crowned head left; sceptre before||[REX] SCT TOR VM+, long cross; mullets in quarters.|
|18 mm; 1.31 g; c. 1351–1357.|
The first king of Scots to produce his own coinage was David I (r. 1124–1153). In 1136 he captured Carlisle, including its English mint and nearby silver mines from Stephen, King of England. He struck silver pennies, which were similar to those Stephen struck for England, at Carlisle, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Roxburgh and Berwick. For the next two centuries, the continued use of a profile, as opposed to the facing portrait, was about all that distinguished Scottish coins from their English counterparts. In particular, the reverse types of Scottish coins followed the English Tealby, short cross, and long cross designs. Moreover, Scottish coins followed English weight standards, allowing the two coinages to circulate alongside one another.
|Robert III (r. 1390–1406): gold lion|
|Royal Arms||Saint Andrew|
David II of Scotland ended the parity between Scottish and English coins, resulting in an English proclamation banning the lower quality Scottish coins from their country in 1356. Robert III of Scotland continued to devalue Scottish coins, making them worth one-half of their English counterparts by 1392. He also replaced the profile bust on the obverse of Scottish coins with a facing head, which made his coins much easier to confuse with the more valuable English issues.David II's attempt to introduce gold coins to Scotland by copying the English noble was a failure but Robert III successfully introduced the gold lion, which showed St. Andrew crucified on his saltire-shaped cross.
Under James III of Scotland English influence of Scottish coinage gave way to Burgundian models, with both his gold rider and silver plack. He is best remembered, however, for the realistic portraits on his silver groat.James III also introduced the gold unicorn. This was one of a long series of coin types which characterized continuing changes in standard and revaluations of Scottish coinage. Ordinances required Scots to turn in their old coins in exchange for new issues struck to a lower standard, thereby providing a profit to the king. James VI alone had eight issues of coins before he unified the thrones, and to a large extent the coinages, of Scotland and England.
In 1604, the year after the Union of the Crowns, the Council ordered Scotland to use the same coinage standards as England. A new gold coin, called a Unit in Scotland or Unite in England, was valued at £12 Scots or £1 sterling. Gold and fine silver coins now had the same sizes and compositions in Scotland and England, but Scotland did maintain its own copper coinage. The Scottish and English coinages both used the same royal title, king of Great Britain, France and Ireland, and when they specified a denomination it was a Roman numeral which could be interpreted as Scottish shillings or English pence. The designs in the two kingdoms had only minor differences. In the North, coins used the Crown of Scotland, decorated by a fleur-de-lis in the center between two crosses, as opposed the English crown, where the placements of the lis and crosses were reversed. Beginning in 1610, Scottish coins also used the Royal coat of arms of Scotland, which placed the Scottish lion in the more prominent positions than the English version.
|Charles I (r. 1625–1649) silver 60 shillings|
|Charles I with title MAGN BRITANN FRANC ET HIBERN REX||Royal arms of Scotland and Scottish Crown|
|Briot’s 1637 milled coinage|
In 1636, Charles I made Nicholas Briot master of the Scottish Mint at Edinburgh. With his Scottish son-in-law, Sir John Falconer, Briot replaced Scotland's gold and silver hammered coinage with machine made milled coinage. The English Civil war ended this coinage in 1642. During the war, Scotland struck a few copper coins but after the war the Edinburgh mint closed and Scotland used the regular coins of the Commonwealth of England.
Although the Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II King on 5 February 1649, he did not strike coins in Scotland until 1664. His silver denominations were multiples of the merk. At this time, the Scottish one merk coin was similar to an English shilling, but it was valued at 13s 4d Scots. In 1677, Charles II introduced a copper bawbee, valued at 6 pence Scots, with a crowned thistle on the reverse in place of the figure of Britannia on the copper coins he struck in England. James VII of Scotland reverted to silver coins with denominations in shillings, now with the weights adjusted to reflect an exchange rate of 13 shillings Scots to 1 shilling sterling.
Following the 1707 union between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England, the Scottish silver (but not gold nor copper) coinage was replaced with new silver coins, with the aim of creating a common currency for the new Kingdom of Great Britain as required by the Treaty of Union.The exercise was conducted under the guidance of Sir Isaac Newton, who had previously directed the recoinage in England some years earlier in his role as Warden of the Mint (and subsequently as Master of the Mint).
Despite fluctuations in the exchange rate since 1603, and a 1697 proclamation setting the ratio at 13:1, a 12:1 ratio (one shilling Scots to one penny sterling) was applied to the recoinage, although compensation was paid. The new coinage was made using Troy weights (12 Troy ounces to the pound), rather than the traditional Scots weights (16 Troy ounces to the pound). Coins were minted in both London and Edinburgh, the latter inscribed with the letter 'E' under the bust of the monarch to permit them to be distinguished. 12s, equivalent to US$20.5 million (£17.1 million) at 2017 average silver prices and exchange rates.Under the supervision of moneyers from the Tower Mint in London, a weight of 103,346 Troy pounds in crowns, half-crowns, shillings, and sixpences were minted at the Edinburgh Mint with a value of £320,372
This 12:1 ratio is reflected in the fact that sgillinn, which originally meant shilling, became the Scottish Gaelic word for a penny sterling,and bonn-a-sia which literally means "coin of six" became the word for a halfpenny. Following decimalisation in 1971, sgillinn became and remains the Scottish Gaelic word for a new penny.
As a result of the recoinage, foreign coins, which were frequently used alongside the local currency, stopped being legal tender on 6 October 1707. Pre-Union 40-, 20- and 10-shilling coins ceased to be legal tender on 10 February 1708, but were temporarily put back into circulation before finally ceasing to be legal tender on June 1, along with coins of 1⁄2, 1, 2, and 4 merks, 5 shillings, and the 3s 6d coin.
The last batch of new coins, consisting of silver shillings and half-crowns were delivered on 5 October 1709, and were to be the last coins to be minted in Scotland.
Article 16 of the Treaty of Union stipulated that Scotland was to keep its own mint.
"That, from and after the Union, the coin shall be of the same standard and value throughout the United Kingdom as now in England, and a Mint shell be continued in Scotland under the same rules as the Mint in England ; and the present officers of the Mint continued subject to such regulations and alterations as Her Majestie, her heirs or successors, or the Parliament of Great Britain shall think fit."— Article XVI of the Acts of Union
Although the Edinburgh Mint retained its permanent officials (though not other staff) for a further hundred years, until 1814, minting ceased a mere two years after Union, despite several subsequent proposals to restart production. The mint itself was finally abolished in 1817 and sold in 1830.Abolition caused a low level of protest, mentioned by Sir Walter Scott, and continued to be protested against by Nationalist pamphlets into the 1950s and beyond. The title of 'Governor of the Mint of Scotland', which passed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer under the Coinage Act 1870, was finally abolished with the passing of the Coinage Act 1971.
The transition from Scottish coinage to English did not occur overnight. Scottish coinage was still in circulation in the later 18th century, but the changeover was made a little easier due to common currency in the nomenclature. Pound Sterling is still translated as Punnd Sasannach (English pound) in Scottish GaelicCertain old coin names, such as bawbee, continued in colloquial usage into the 20th century. Others, such as mark and dollar, would be more associated with various foreign currencies by contemporary Scots.
Some British coins later had explicitly Scottish reverses: for example the shilling appeared with either English or Scottish royal arms as reverses from 1937 to 1970, while its replacement the 5p coin had a crowned thistle from 1971 to 2008.
Currently, three Scottish banks produce their own banknotes (Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank), but no coinage. Scotland is the only part of the UK where one pound notes are still in usage (although they can be found in the Isle of Man and Channel Islands).
|Mary I (r. 1542–1567) and Francis (r. 1558–1560): testoon|
|FR•AN • ET • MA • D • G • R • R • SCOTORVM • D • D • VIE[N], crowned arms of Francis and Mary over cross potent||• FECIT • VTRAQVE • VNVM • 1558 •, crowned FM; Lorraine cross to either side.|
As with Scottish weights and measures, many of the Scottish denominations bore the same names as those in England, but were of slightly different values. The dates, and first kings to issue them are included:
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.
The shilling is a historical coin, and the name of a unit of modern currencies formerly used in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, other British Commonwealth countries and Ireland.
A penny is a coin or a unit of currency in various countries. Borrowed from the Carolingian denarius, it is usually the smallest denomination within a currency system. Presently, it is the formal name of the British penny (abbr. p) and the de facto name of the American one-cent coin (abbr. ¢) as well as the informal Irish designation of the 1 cent euro coin (abbr. c). It is the informal name of the cent unit of account in Canada, although one-cent coins are no longer minted there. The name is used in reference to various historical currencies also derived from the Carolingian system, such as the French denier and the German pfennig. It may also be informally used to refer to any similar smallest-denomination coin, such as the euro cent or Chinese fen.
The history of the English penny from 1603 to 1707 covers the period of the House of Stuart, up to the Acts of Union of 1707 which brought about the Union of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland.
The guinea was a coin, minted in Great Britain between 1663 and 1814, that contained approximately one-quarter of an ounce of gold. The name came from the Guinea region in West Africa, from where much of the gold used to make the coins was sourced. It was the first English machine-struck gold coin, originally representing a value of 20 shillings in sterling specie, equal to one pound, but rises in the price of gold relative to silver caused the value of the guinea to increase, at times to as high as thirty shillings. From 1717 to 1816, its value was officially fixed at twenty-one shillings.
The British crown was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1/4 of one pound, or 5 shillings, or 60 pence. The crown was first issued during the reign of Edward VI, as part of the coinage of the Kingdom of England.
Sterling is the official currency of the United Kingdom and its associated territories. The pound is the main unit of sterling, and may be referred to by the compound noun pound sterling or the term British pound, although neither of these are official names of the currency itself. One pound is subdivided into 100 pence.
The groat is the traditional name of a defunct English and Irish silver coin worth four pence, and also a Scottish coin which was originally worth fourpence, with later issues being valued at eightpence and one shilling.
£sd is the popular name for the pre-decimal currencies once common throughout Europe, especially in the British Isles and hence in several countries of the British Empire and subsequently the Commonwealth. The abbreviation originates from the Latin currency denominations librae, solidi, and denarii. In the United Kingdom, these were referred to as pounds, shillings, and pence.
The pound was the currency of Scotland prior to the 1707 Treaty of Union between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. It was introduced by David I, in the 12th century, on the Carolingian monetary system of a pound divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. The Scottish currency was later devalued relative to sterling by debasement of its coinage. By the time of James III, one pound Scots was valued at five shillings sterling.
The pound is the currency of the Isle of Man, at parity with 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.
Irish coins have been issued by a variety of local and national authorities, the ancient provincial Kings and High Kings of Ireland, the Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1801), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1922), the Irish Free State (1922–1937), and the present Republic of Ireland. Some modern British coins have Northern Ireland symbols but these are circulated throughout the UK.
The pound was the official currency of Jamaica between 1840 and 1969. It circulated as a mixture of sterling coinage and locally issued coins and banknotes and was always equal to the pound sterling. The Jamaican pound was also used in the Cayman and Turks and Caicos Islands.
A bawbee was a Scottish sixpence. The word means a debased copper coin, valued at six pence Scots, issued from the reign of James V of Scotland to the reign of William II of Scotland. They were hammered until 1677, when they were produced upon screw presses.
A plack was an ancient Scottish coin of the value of four Scots pence or, by 1707, one-third of an English penny.
The British shilling, abbreviated "1/-", was a unit of currency and a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1/20 of one pound, 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.
The British pre-decimal penny was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1/240 of one pound or 1/12 of one shilling. Its symbol was d, from the Roman denarius. It was a continuation of the earlier English penny, and in Scotland it had the same monetary value as one pre-1707 Scottish shilling. The penny was originally minted in silver, but from the late 18th century it was minted in copper, and then after 1860 in bronze.
The Great Recoinage of 1816 was an attempt by the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to re-stabilise its currency, the pound sterling, after the economic difficulties brought by the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.
The English shilling was a silver coin of the Kingdom of England, when first introduced known as the testoon. It remained in circulation until it became the British shilling as the result of the Union of England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707.