In these days of decimalisation of currency, it is difficult to understand the currency used in Britain before that country 'went decimal' in 1971.  The following chart may help to explain it.

Money was divided into pounds () shillings (s. or /-) and pennies (d.). Thus, 4 pounds, eight shillings and fourpence would be written as 4/8/4d. or 4-8-4d.

There were
 20 shillings in 1 - a shilling was often called 'bob', so 'ten bob' was 10/-
12 pennies in1 shilling
240 pennies in 1
Pennies were broken down into other coins:
 a farthing (a fourth- thing) was ¼ of a penny
 a halfpenny (hay-p'ny) was ½ of a penny
three farthings was ¾ of a penny
Other coins of a value less than 1/- were
a half-groat (2d) 6 x 2d = 1/-
a threepenny bit (3d) made of silver 4 x 3d. = 1/-
a groat (4d) 3 x 4d = 1/-
sixpence (silver) - often called a 'tanner' 2 x 6d = 1/-
Coins of more than 1/- but less than 1 in value were
a two shilling piece (called a florin) 10 x 2/- = 1
a half-crown ( 2/6d) 8 x 2/6d = 1
a crown (5/-) 4 x 5/- = 1
ten shillings (a half-sovereign) 2 x 10/- = 1
a half-guinea (10/6d) 2 x 10/6d = 1/1/-
A 1 coin was called a Sovereign and was made of gold.  A paper pound often was called a 'quid'.
Coins of more than 1 were 
a guinea (1/1/-)
a 5 coin

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Last modified 20 June 2006