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#1
Old 07-27-2000, 03:20 PM
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Can someone clarify British currancy for me? I searched, but didn't find anything simple and obvious.

I know that pence go into a shilling, and shillings into a pound, but how much? And what about the slang? And what's the approximate exchange to dollars?

Thanks!

PS: Reading Angela's Ashes...allt he talk of money is driving me batty...they pay rent of 6&6 a week...6 shillings and sixpence.
#2
Old 07-27-2000, 03:34 PM
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You want someone to clarify OLD British currency. NEW British currency is simple:

100 New Pence (or simply 'p') = 1 pound (or slangily, 1 quid)

Current exchange rate is about $1.50 to the British pound.

I can't help you with the old currency. I don't remember how it worked anymore, but I do know it was ridiculously complex.
#3
Old 07-27-2000, 03:38 PM
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British currency and their strange habit of driving on the wrong side of the road are the main reasons that England is the way it is.
As near as I can figure out, the unit of British currency is the pound (sterling). The pound is sub-divided into 100 Pence. One penny is the lowest unit available. Coins are available in 1 penny, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence and 50 pence . There are also the pound coin and the two pound coin.

Notes are available in 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 20 pounds (there is also a new 20 pound note) and 50 pound notes.

The current rate of exchange (1 minute old) is at:

http://forexdirectory.net/gbp.html
#4
Old 07-27-2000, 03:39 PM
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well I don't know how the shillings used to work, but they don't use them any more so unless it's for reading puropeses it doesn't matter. but a pound is a british dollar, not in value but how they use it. A quid is slang for a pound. there are pence which are like the US coins, but they have, IIRC, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p. the least I remember the exchange rate was something like 1.6 US dollars to 1 quid. hope this helps sorry I don't know about the shillings
#5
Old 07-27-2000, 03:42 PM
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There was a thread on this a while back. In any case, shillings aren't used anymore.

In current English money, there are 100 pence ("p") to the pound. One pound equals about US$0.65. A "quid" is slang for a pound. But this won't help you for figuring out what the Angela's Ashes money was equivalent to in American money, since that was the "old" money (from before shillings were removed from circulation), and didn't the McCourts use Irish money anyway? (Not being flip; I really don't know if English money was used in Ireland at that time, for some English/Irish political or economic reason.)
#6
Old 07-27-2000, 03:43 PM
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Oh, you want the OLD conversion! OK, here THAT is:
http://peak.org/shrewsbury/References/currency.html


Elizabethan denominations US$ equivalents (rough)

Basic equivalents

1 pound (£) = 20 shillings (s) $400.00
1 shilling = 12 pence (pennies) $ 20.00

1 penny (plural: pence) $ 1.66

Gold Coins

Sovereign = (about) 1 £ $400.00

Royal = (about) 10 - 14 shillings $200.00 to $280.00

Angel = (about) 7 - 10 shillings $140.00 to $200.00

roughly about 1/2 £

Noble = about the same as an Angel

Silver Coins

Crown = 5 shillings $100.00

so: 4 Crowns = 1 £ $400.00

Half Crown = 2 1/2 shillings (2 shillings sixpence) $ 50.00

Sixpence = half a shilling $ 10.00

Groat = 4 pence $ 6.60

Threepenny piece = 3 pence $ 5.00

Half groat = 2 pence $ 3.30

Penny $ 1.66

Threefarthing piece = 3/4 penny $ 1.20

Halfpenny piece $ .80

Farthing = one-fourth penny $ .40
#7
Old 07-27-2000, 03:45 PM
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Sorry, I got the numbers reversed. Edward's exchange rate is correct - if you give the bank US$1.00, they give you back about 65p. If you give them about US$1.60, they give you back one pound.
#8
Old 07-27-2000, 03:46 PM
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Just to append tcburnett's excellent response:

They stopped making the crown, the half-crown, the guinea (1 crown + 1 shilling, I believe) and the sovreign (don't remember what it consisted of) as actual coins long before the switch to metric currency, but they stayed around as terms when that amount was used.

Therefore, if something cost a crown, you'd give them 5 shilling coins.

Odd, isn't it?
#9
Old 07-27-2000, 03:54 PM
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It's not all that weird. Here in the US we say "Nickel" and "Dime" and "Penny". None of these indicates the value of the coin, as "Quarter" (for "quarter-dollar"), "Half Dollar", and "Dollar" do. We still say "buck" and (rarely) "sawbuck" and "C-note". With the advent of the new "golden dollars" I've heard people calling them "sackies" (for "Sacajawea"), the same way Canadian call their dollar coins "Loonies" (for the Loon that's on them). Both these examples mimic the old British "Crown", which was so-called because it had an image of a crown on it.
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#10
Old 07-27-2000, 04:01 PM
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And what was a florin?
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#11
Old 07-27-2000, 04:16 PM
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The abbreviation for pence was "d". Thus the L s d monetary system, noted for inducing confusion and causing memory loss.
#12
Old 07-27-2000, 04:37 PM
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A guinea were 21 shillings (or 1.05 pounds).
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#13
Old 07-27-2000, 05:00 PM
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The Guinea is still used,
At horse auctions and in prize money for horse races.
I think it is still sometimes used in some of the upper-crust antiques auctions too.

As an aside - the Florin is descended from the Florint which was an early gold coin minted in Florence in the 1200's.

Couple of things that have been missed,

The pound sterling is now a coin rather than a note.
We now have a £2 coin.
There are oddities around but you will rarely see them such as the 25pence piece(harks back to the crown) and I have seen a specially minted half-guinea which was presented to a colleague when I was in the Royal Navy.

I think the Scots also have a £100 note .

The following were used recently and a few people will talk about them as if they are current.

Shilling = 5 pence
Two bob or two shillings or florin = ten pence
Half a crown =dead
Crown =long dead
Ten bob or ten shillings = fifty pence
Quid, nicker, beer token = Pound sterling
#14
Old 07-27-2000, 07:23 PM
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A Handy Guide to British Money before decimalization.
#15
Old 07-28-2000, 12:47 AM
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Well, you guys rock, as ALWAYS.....

I love the Dope. I can count on y'all.

Now let me ask another...and if I don't get any answer here I'll make a new thread.

Lira. What the HELL are they thinking? And why doesn't someone get it together already?

And more specifically.... I wonder how 1 billion dollars is expressed/converted into lira? A trillion? How many zeros on the lira amount?

My understanding (if you can call it that) is that it's something like 1000-1 conversion lira to dollars?

Always sounds like it...

H
#16
Old 07-28-2000, 12:58 AM
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I'm not sure we should criticize the Limeys for their money system. Let's take a look at American currency:

Sawbuck= 50 or 100 Dollars (1 dollar equals .. . .75 a pound?)
Buck=Dollar
Clam=Dollar
Benjamin=100 dollars
Franklin=100 dollars
Grand=1000 dollars
G=1000 dollars
C-note=100 dollars
10 spot=10 dollars
Fin=5 dollars
Bone=dollar
Fiver=five dollars

I've also heard fellow Yanks divide our money into 10s and 100s: $150 becomes a "Buck-fifty", and $10,000 becomes "10 Dimes".
#17
Old 07-28-2000, 01:55 AM
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TheUglytruth:

The only comment I have is that a "sawbuck" is NOT 50 or 100 dollars. It is 10 dollars. The reasoning behind the nickname is that the Roma numeral "X" appeared on the old ten dollar bills, and it looked like the stand used to hold logs being sawed. Books usually explain that the term has nothing to do with the term "buck" used for one dolar bills, but it seems to me that the similarity in name is precisely the thing that WOULD help it be adopted. Similarly, a "double sawbuck" was a twenty dollar bill, so-called because it had TWO X's on it (XX). I have never heard "double sawbuck" used in real life, although I've actually herad "sawbuck".
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#18
Old 07-28-2000, 05:44 AM
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Okay, it's not really a currency complaint, and for all I know it might only apply to certain states in the US, but what's going on with tax?

I spent some time in Los Angeles and was continually caught out by shop staff adding the tax on to the labelled price. More than once something I thought I could afford suddenly became embarrassing at the counter.

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#19
Old 07-28-2000, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by theuglytruth
I'm not sure we should criticize the Limeys for their money system. Let's take a look at American currency:

Sawbuck= 50 or 100 Dollars (1 dollar equals .. . .75 a pound?)
Buck=Dollar
Clam=Dollar
Benjamin=100 dollars
Franklin=100 dollars
Grand=1000 dollars
G=1000 dollars
C-note=100 dollars
10 spot=10 dollars
Fin=5 dollars
Bone=dollar
Fiver=five dollars

I've also heard fellow Yanks divide our money into 10s and 100s: $150 becomes a "Buck-fifty", and $10,000 becomes "10 Dimes".


Yes, but hardly anyone uses most of those. Sounds more like a gangster movie than anything else. The British money system is now quite simple, though. The younger generation probably has no idea what a guinea is, either.
#20
Old 07-28-2000, 06:54 AM
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mattk wrote:

> Okay, it's not really a currency complaint, and for all I
> know it might only apply to certain states in the US, but
> what's going on with tax?
>
> I spent some time in Los Angeles and was continually
> caught out by shop staff adding the tax on to the
> labelled price. More than once something I thought I
> could afford suddenly became embarrassing at the counter.

Yes, sales tax is not included in the price that's on the merchandise. Sales tax is charged in all stores and restaurants. It exists in all except a few states. It's around 5%, but it varies from one state to the next. There are various quirky regulations about things that are exempt from tax in certain states, but the easiest thing to do is to assume that everything in a store is taxed.
#21
Old 07-28-2000, 07:06 AM
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Mipsman and others:
You will still see "d" used for penny if you go into any "home center" (pre-decimalization "hardware store"). Look at the nails and you will see 12d, 16d, etc. nails. I reckon at one time these were 12 cents a pound, 16 cents a pound, etc. The "d" I understand to be from the Latin "Denarius", the equivalent unit of Roman currency to a penny or cent (="hundredth"). Use of the denarius in the eastern provinces and I suppose the Byzantine Empire led to the Dinar being pretty common as a unit of money in some Arabic countires.

I read in the Oxford History of the Middle Ages that the source of the pence-schilling-pound was during the time of Charlemagne. Although he originally used different names for his units of money, the odd 12p-1s, 20s-1 pound part of the relationship eventually settled in the far corner of Europe, the British Isles.
#22
Old 07-28-2000, 07:15 AM
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Thanks, Wendell Wagner. Of course, there's sales tax in the UK as well, but it's included in the marked price.
#23
Old 07-28-2000, 08:09 AM
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For reasons that I do not understand, UK sales tax* is only included in the price of some things. In a retail shop, a hotel, pub or restaurant, the price displayed is the price you pay (sometimes plus service in a restaurant).

But if you buy PC or call out a plumber or electrician, the price you will be quoted excludes VAT. I have no idea why.

[*Value Added Tax (VAT), originally introduced as a "luxury" tax in the 1970s at the rate of 5% and now applied to pretty much everything except for childern's clothes, books and newspapers at the rate of 17.5%.]
#24
Old 07-28-2000, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TomH
For reasons that I do not understand, UK sales tax* is only included in the price of some things. In a retail shop, a hotel, pub or restaurant, the price displayed is the price you pay (sometimes plus service in a restaurant).

But if you buy PC or call out a plumber or electrician, the price you will be quoted excludes VAT. I have no idea why.

[*Value Added Tax (VAT), originally introduced as a "luxury" tax in the 1970s at the rate of 5% and now applied to pretty much everything except for childern's clothes, books and newspapers at the rate of 17.5%.]
Technically all items are subject to VAT (an EEC requirement I think) but the rate may vary for different goods. In the UK a number of items - e.g. childrens clothing, books, food (except confection or in restaurants) - are zero rated. Additionaly businesses do not have to pay VAT on legitimate business expenditure so they can either claim a refund or, if registered, avoid paying in the first place. This is the reason why PCs are traditionally priced excluding VAT.

With regard to the OP:

The old system of pounds shillings and pence was replaced in 1971 with a decimalised system. The pound was retained but shillings & (old) pence withdrawn to be replaced with 'new pence'.

Pennies befor decimalisation were writen with a following 'd'. New pence since decimalisation are written with a following 'p'.

One pound (aka 'quid') = 100p or 240d

One shilling = 5p or 12d - a pre-decimalisation denomination but shilling coins were in circulation until quite recently. They were the same size as the equivalent 5p coins until they were replaced with smaller ones. Also known as a 'bob'.

Crown = 5 shillings - withdrawn well before decimalisation. Comemorative Crowns are still ocaisionaly minted and are legal tender (worth 25p)

Half Crown = 2 1/2 shillings (or 'two and six') - withdrawn shortly before decimalisation.

Guinea = 21 shillings

Soverign - a gold coin with a face value of one pound. Obviously have a bullion value far in excess of that, though legally you can spend them at face value.

Other coins which were removed, replaced or re-defined:

Florin was 2 shillings and became 10p coins. History simmilar to that of the shilling.

Sixpence (aka 'tanner') = 6d or 1/2 shilling. Was retained for a while as 2 1/2p.

Threepence (pronounced 'thruppence')= 3d - withdrawn with decimalisation.

Halfpenney (pronounced 'hape-knee') = 1/2 d - withdrawn with decimalisation

Farthing = 1/4d - withdrawn before I was born.

1/2p - introduced with decimalisation but withdrawn some time ago as inflation had made them redundant.

10 shilling note ('ten bob note') - withdrawn around time of decimalisation.

One pound note - replaced with coins in early 80's except in Scotland where they mint their own bank notes.
#25
Old 07-28-2000, 10:40 AM
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According to my British Dad, when he was a kid in the 30s, five-pound notes (a hell of a lot of money then) were minted by individual banks and if you wanted one, you had to sign the back. Old ones had lots of signatures on them.
#26
Old 07-28-2000, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
The abbreviation for pence was "d". Thus the L s d monetary system, noted for inducing confusion and causing memory loss.
I know that several people brought this up again in the thread, and I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!! I have always wondered what d stood for. I have seen pence abbreviated p and therefore wondered what the heck d was.
#27
Old 07-28-2000, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by theuglytruth
I'm not sure we should criticize the Limeys for their money system. Let's take a look at American currency:

Sawbuck= 50 or 100 Dollars (1 dollar equals .. . .75 a pound?)
Buck=Dollar
Clam=Dollar
Benjamin=100 dollars
Franklin=100 dollars
Grand=1000 dollars
G=1000 dollars
C-note=100 dollars
10 spot=10 dollars
Fin=5 dollars
Bone=dollar
Fiver=five dollars

I've also heard fellow Yanks divide our money into 10s and 100s: $150 becomes a "Buck-fifty", and $10,000 becomes "10 Dimes".
One that I hear more than any of the ones you listed is
"Bill" meaning $100.00, as in He's grossing 10 bills a week.
#28
Old 07-29-2000, 03:14 AM
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At last! I can finally understand the (made to be un-understandable even to the English) passage from E.M. Forster's A Room With A View :

(Miss Bartlett has just arrived and insists on paying for her cab fare, which had already been paid by her cousin)

"All right, if you'd really rather. Five shillings, and I gave a bob to the driver."
Miss Bartlett looked in her purse. Only sovereigns and pennies. Could anyone give her change? Freddy had half a quid and his friend had four half-crowns. Miss Bartlett accepted their moneys and then said : "But who am I to give the sovereign to?"

(Freddy's friend offers to flip for the sovereign, but Cecil interposes.)

"Freddy owes me fifteen shillings," interposed Cecil. "So it will work out right if you give the pound to me."

(Miss Bartlett, who is reportedly "poor at figures, became bewildered and rendered up the sovereign." Cecil enjoys playing at this nonsense, but Minnie Beebe protests.)

... "I don't see why Mr. Vyse is to have the quid."
"Because of the fifteen shillings and the five, " they said solemnly. "Fifteen shillings and five shillings make one pound, you see."

(they try to stifle her but she resists)

... Ow! No, I don't see and I never shall see why Miss What's-her-name shouldn't pay that bob for the driver."
"I had forgotten the driver," said Miss Bartlett, reddening. "Thank you, dear, for reminding me. A shilling, was it? Can anyone give me change for half a crown?"

(Lucy finally decides to take the sovereign and start over, going inside to get change. She returns to give Miss Bartlett her money.)

... "Here is your money -- all shillings, except two half-crowns."


Oh, by the way, MattK, sales tax in the US varies not only state to state but by city and (I think) county as well.
And food items are not taxed, except for some "snack" type items which can be. Some foods bought at restaurant places is taxed differently depending on whether you order it for there or to go. Actually, I don't really understand it any more than pence, quid, and half-crowns.

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anyone know why 'd' means pence?
#29
Old 07-29-2000, 10:22 AM
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panamajack wrote:

> And food items are not taxed, except for some "snack"
> type items which can be. Some foods bought at restaurant
> places is taxed differently depending on whether you
> order it for there or to go.

This varies from state to state. Again, the best advice for a foreigner to assume that everything in a store will be taxed and then be pleasantly surprised when it isn't.
#30
Old 07-29-2000, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
This varies from state to state. Again, the best advice for a foreigner to assume that everything in a store will be taxed and then be pleasantly surprised when it isn't.
And sometimes from region to region, as has been mentioned. Denver metro area was one such example when I lived there, and I assume it still is. Tax varied by 2 or 3 percentage points as you went from municipality to municipality because local governments were able to impose local sales tax on top of the state tax. Sometimes businesses like furniture or appliance stores would locate in "no sales tax" municipalities to use this as a selling point - "no local sales tax when you pick it up at our giant warehouse store". If you had something delivered, you payed sales tax at the point of delivery - I once had a bed delivered, and the conversation with the delivery guy went something like:

"Lessee, this is Arvada, right?"

"No, it's Westminster."

(winking) "You just moved to Arvada."

whereupon he charged me no added sales tax, as opposed to the extra point or two Westminster was supposed to get.

Of course, mail order across state lines was never taxed, as with ordering online. Whether it stays that way, it will remain to be seen.
#31
Old 07-29-2000, 05:34 PM
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British currancy ??

The Brits pay in currants? How many currants do I get for a prune?

tcburnett, as usual you messed up the exchange rate. Gimme a break, one pound is worth US$400? Check http://oanda.com for rates of exchange.

The VAT is conceptually different from a sales tax but I won't go into the details. The concept is very interesting though and has definite advantages over a simple sales tax which is why it has been adopted in the EU.

Those that are interested in studying the effects of different taxes should study the VAT closely.
#32
Old 07-29-2000, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
tcburnett, as usual you messed up the exchange rate. Gimme a break, one pound is worth US$400? Check http://oanda.com for rates of exchange.
The above link shows the exchange rate as of 29 July 2000. As TC stated, and as the link he posted clearly shows, his figures relate to the value of English currency during Elizabethan times. Seems to have been a bit of inflation in the interim.
#33
Old 07-29-2000, 06:39 PM
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Am I missing something ?

Surely it is difficult to have an exchange rate with a nation that does not yet exist?

I mean, - Elizabethan £/$ rate?

Nah!!
#34
Old 07-29-2000, 09:05 PM
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mattk

Several posters have supplied the answer to how taxes get tagged onto sales in the States, but the other side of your question has been missed: Why? Specifically, why can't we tag the (previously computed) tax onto our price tags?

Basically, because the MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price) gets printed on the package at the factory. The manufacturer is not going to attempt to calculate the tax for any/every location to which they are going to send their product. (They probably couldn't anyway, because when Sears or Wal-mart buy from the producer, it is usually shipped to a warehouse from which it will be distributed to multiple states.)

So the same roll of tape that will list at $.89, will sell for $.89 in a state with no sales tax, for $.94 at my K-Mart, and for $.97 at the K-Mart five miles to the west of me in a different county. The label on each package says $.89.
#35
Old 07-29-2000, 09:09 PM
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Thanks, tom, that's exactly what I was wondering.
#36
Old 07-29-2000, 10:54 PM
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Just a correction to what JCHeckler wrote:
Quote:
You will still see "d" used for penny if you go into any "home center" (pre-decimalization "hardware store"). Look at the nails and you will see 12d, 16d, etc. nails. I reckon at one time these were 12 cents a pound, 16 cents a pound, etc. The "d" I understand to be from the Latin "Denarius", the equivalent unit of Roman currency to a penny or cent (="hundredth"). Use of the denarius in the eastern provinces and I suppose the Byzantine Empire led to the Dinar being pretty common as a unit of money in some Arabic countires.
The basic unit of Roman currency, in which all accounting was done, was the sestertius. The name of this coin came from semis tertius, which meant two and a half. The as was the smallest Roman denomination, with two and a half in a sestertius and ten in a denarius. There were, therefore, four sesterces to the denarius, which was the most valuable coin in regular usage (weighing about 3.5 grams of silver). I assume the word denarius is derived somehow from decem, ten. A denarius, therefore, corresponded more readily to a few dollars than to a cent.

I have no idea where the "d" in nails came from. Sorry.
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#37
Old 07-30-2000, 02:22 PM
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The British "dollar"

I recently read an Andy Capp comic, drawn pre-decimalization of the pound, in which he and Florrie were talking about a "dollar." A slang term, I'm sure.

When Brits were referring to a "dollar" in slang terms, then, how much did they mean? 10 old shillings? (Which could have been worth about the same as a U.S. dollar, then?)

Thanks
#38
Old 07-30-2000, 04:18 PM
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A dollar in old slang terms was :
5 bob ..
which was 2xhalfcrowns, which =
5 shillings .. aka
60 pennies .. aka
120 farthings .. aka
240 groats.

A dollar, as an english financial amount would be unlikely to be understood by anyone born after 1965, if then.
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#39
Old 07-30-2000, 05:49 PM
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One tiny further bit of addition to what fredicus has said: Since the now long obsolete slang term "dollar" meant five shillings, and this is one-fourth of a pound, this meant that back in the old days when the exchange rate was fixed at four U.S. dollars to a British pound, a dollar in British currency was exactly worth a U.S. dollar.
#40
Old 07-30-2000, 07:26 PM
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Casdave asked:
Quote:
Am I missing something ?

Surely it is difficult to have an exchange rate with a nation that does not yet exist?

I mean, - Elizabethan £/$ rate?
What the link was showing was the comparison between the estimated value of the pound in Elizabethan times and the present day value of the dollar. Certainly not an official rate- just the closest equivalence as calculated by an economic historian.

Using the current exchange rate as provided on the link posted by Sailor (1 pound = $1.50) and the value as cited by TC's link for Elizabethan times (1 pound= $400) we can say that the value of the pound today seems to be only one 267th of what it was then.
#41
Old 07-31-2000, 01:52 PM
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Oh dear,

So I guess I'd better throw away all these Elizabethan quids since they've gone down in value so much
#42
Old 07-31-2000, 03:05 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: London
Posts: 91
Would those be the ones that dodgy looking geezy swapped your dollars for in the pub ?

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