|Mass||(1816–1970) 5.66 g|
|Diameter||(1816–1970) 23.60 mm|
|Composition||(1503–1816) Silver |
(1816–1920) 92.5% Ag
(1920–1946) 50% Ag
|Years of minting||c. 1548–1966|
|Design||Profile of the monarch (Elizabeth II design shown)|
|Design||Various (coat of arms of England design shown)|
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.
Before Decimal Day in 1971, sterling used the Carolingian monetary system ("£sd"), under which the largest unit was a pound (£) divided into 20 shillings (s), each of 12 pence (d).
Although the coin was not minted until the 16th century, the value of a shilling had been used for accounting purposes since the early medieval period. The value of one shilling equalling 12 pence (12 d) was set by the Normans following the conquest; before this various English coins equalling 4, 5, and 12 pence had all been known as shillings.
ss/dd for a number of shillings and pence was widely used (e.g., "19/11" for nineteen shillings and eleven pence). The form
ss/– was used for a number of shillings and zero pence (e.g., "5/–" for five shillings exactly).
The first coins of the pound sterling with the value of 12d were minted in 1503 [ clarification needed ] portrait of the monarch on its obverse, and it is for this reason that it obtained its name from an Italian coin known as the testone, or headpiece, which had been introduced in Milan in 1474. Between 1544 and 1551 the coinage was debased repeatedly by the governments of Henry VIII and Edward VI in an attempt to generate more money to fund foreign wars. This debasement meant that coins produced in 1551 had one-fifth of the silver content of those minted in 1544, and consequently the value of new testoons fell from 12d to 6d. The reason the testoon decreased in value is that unlike today, the value of coins was determined by the market price of the metal contained within them. This debasement was recognised as a mistake, and during Elizabeth's reign newly minted coins, including the testoon (now known as the shilling), had a much higher silver content and regained their pre-debasement value.or 1504 and were known as testoons. The testoon was one of the first English coins to bear a real (rather than a representative)
Shillings were minted during the reigns of every English monarch after Edward VI, as well as during the Commonwealth, with a vast number of variations and alterations appearing over the years. The Royal Mint undertook a massive recoinage programme in 1816, with large quantities of gold and silver coin being minted. Previous issues of silver coinage had been irregular, and the last issue, minted in 1787, was not intended for issue to the public, but as Christmas gifts to the Bank of England's customers. 2⁄11 troy ounce, equivalent to 87.273 grains or 5.655 grams.New silver coinage was to be of .925 (sterling) standard, with silver coins to be minted at 66 shillings to the troy pound. Hence, newly minted shillings weighed
The Royal Mint debased the silver coinage in 1920 from 92.5% silver to 50% silver. Shillings of both alloys were minted that year. [ self-published source? ] This debasement was done because of the rising price of silver around the world, and followed the global trend of the elimination, or the reducing in purity, of the silver in coinage. The minting of silver coinage of the pound sterling ceased completely (except for the ceremonial Maundy Money) at the end of 1946 for similar reasons, exacerbated by the costs of the Second World War. New "silver" coinage was instead minted in cupronickel, an alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel.
Beginning with Lord Wrottesley's proposals in the 1820s there were various attempts to decimalise the pound sterling over the next century and a half.These attempts came to nothing significant until the 1960s when the need for a currency more suited to simple monetary calculations became pressing. The decision to decimalise was announced in 1966, with the pound to be redivided into 100, rather than 240, pence. Decimal Day was set for 15 February 1971, and a whole range of new coins was introduced. Shillings continued to be legal tender with a value of 5 new pence until 31 December 1990.
Testoons issued during the reign of Henry VII feature a right-facing portrait of the king on the obverse. Surrounding the portrait is the inscription HENRICUS DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRA, or similar, meaning "Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England and France". All shillings minted under subsequent kings and queens bear a similar inscription on the obverse identifying the monarch (or Lord Protector during the Commonwealth), with the portrait usually flipping left-facing to right-facing or vice versa between monarchs. The reverse features the escutcheon of the Royal Arms of England, surrounded by the inscription POSVI DEVM ADIVTORE MEVM, or a variant, meaning "I have made God my helper".
Henry VIII testoons have a different reverse design, featuring a crowned Tudor rose, but those of Edward VI return to the Royal Arms design used previously. XII printed next to the portrait of the king. Elizabeth I and Mary I shillings are exceptions to this; the former has the denomination printed on the reverse, above the coat of arms, and the latter has no denomination printed at all. Some shillings issued during Mary's reign bear the date of minting, printed above the dual portraits of Mary and Philip.Starting with Edward VI the coins feature the denomination
Early shillings of James I feature the alternative reverse inscription EXURGAT DEUS DISSIPENTUR INIMICI, meaning "Let God arise and His enemies be scattered", becoming QVAE DEVS CONIVNXIT NEMO SEPARET, meaning "What God hath put together let no man put asunder" after 1604.
A slang name for a shilling was a "bob" (plural as singular, as in "that cost me two bob"). The first recorded use was in a case of coining heard at the Old Bailey in 1789, when it was described as cant, "well understood among a certain set of people", but heard only among criminals and their associates.
In the Gambia, white people are called toubabs, which may derive from the colonial practice of paying locals two shillings for running errands.An alternate etymology holds that the name is derived from French toubib, i.e. doctor.
To "take the King's shilling" was to enlist in the army or navy, a phrase dating back to the early 19th century.
To "cut someone off with a shilling", often quoted as "cut off without a shilling" means to disinherit. Although having no basis in English law, some believe that leaving a family member a single shilling in one's will ensured that it could not be challenged in court as an oversight.
A popular legend holds that a shilling was the value of a cow in Kent, or a sheep elsewhere.
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, where they were generally equivalent to 12 pence or one-twentieth of a pound before being phased out during the 20th century.
The British florin, or two-shilling piece was a coin worth 1⁄10 of one pound, or 24 pence. It was issued from 1849 until 1967, with a final issue for collectors dated 1970. It was the last coin circulating immediately prior to decimalisation to be demonetised, in 1993, having for a quarter of a century circulated alongside the ten-pence piece, identical in specifications and value.
The British threepence piece, usually simply known as a threepence, thruppence, or thruppenny bit, was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1⁄80 of one pound or 1⁄4 of one shilling. It was used in the United Kingdom, and earlier in Great Britain and England. Similar denominations were later used throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth countries, notably in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
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 currency of the United Kingdom and nine of its associated territories. The pound is the main unit of sterling, and the word "pound" is also used to refer to the British currency generally, often qualified in international contexts as the British pound or the pound sterling.
The pound was the currency of the Republic of Ireland until 2002. Its ISO 4217 code was IEP, and the symbol was £. 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 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.
£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 British half crown was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1⁄8 of one pound, or two shillings and six pence, or 30 (old) pence. The half crown was first issued in 1549, in the reign of Edward VI. No half crowns were issued in the reign of Mary, but from the reign of Elizabeth I half crowns were issued in every reign except that of Edward VIII, until the coins were discontinued in 1970.
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 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 sterling banknotes and coins, 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 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.
The British sixpence piece, sometimes known as a tanner or sixpenny bit, was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1⁄40 of one pound or half of one shilling. It was first minted in 1551, during the reign of Edward VI, and circulated until 1980. The coin was made from silver from its introduction in 1551 until 1947, and thereafter in cupronickel.
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.
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 Australian Shilling, informally called a "bob", was a type of silver coinage issued by the Commonwealth of Australia, that circulated prior to the decimalisation of Australian coinage. The Australian shilling was derived from the British pre-decimal sterling pound system and was first issued following the passing of the Australian Coinage Act 1909, which established Australia's first formal currency system. The shilling was issued as part of Australia's silver coinage, which included the two-shilling (florin), the sixpence and the threepence. The shilling was minted from 1910 until 1963. During this period there was one significant modification to the design of the Australian shilling, the change in its reverse design, which occurred in 1938 when the design was altered from the Australian Coat of Arms (1910-1936) to the visage of a Merino ram’s head (1938-1963).
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 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.