Thursday, July 24, 2008

Regency Money Part 2

So we have it perfectly straight from our first post. Twenty shillings in a pound and twelve pennies in a shilling.

The smallest denomination of English money was the farthing. It was worth one quarter of a penny. Nowadays this would seem a ridiculously small amount of money, but in earlier times and even during the Regency a penny was worth something. I can recall buying four sweets for a penny and if you had a farthing, you could buy one.

Originally made of silver, for a while they were made of tin, but more importantly in our era, they were made of copper. I chose this picture because it has the worth farthing on the coin. Not all of them did. They went by the size.

The next highest denomination was the halfpence, commonly know as a ha'penny. You pronounce this haypny. The one struck in 1806 and before looks just like the penny we looked at last time. It was worth half a penny, obviously, or two farthings.

A coin which fascinates me is the twopence, pronounced tuppence. It is a half a groat, originally produced in silver in 1351, it is still used today as Maundy money (something we can look at another time if you wish). In George III's day and during the Regency it was copper and was a "cartwheel" coin. This is by far the largest base metal coin issued in the UK, weighing two ounces (56.7 g) and measuring 41 mm diameter and 5 mm thick. It was only struck the once and found too heavy for everyday use. You can imagine those weighting down your pockets can't you?



Next is my favorite coin, the three pence coin, known as thruppence. Sometimes "Thruppence" is used as a term of endearment for children. My sister-in-law had a cat called Thruppence.

In my childhood they had lots of corners and a portcullis and made of nickle and brass and it was my pocket money!

During the Regency prior to 1800 these coins were silver generally 1.5g and 17mm diameter. They were not in general circulation after 1817 until 1845 again.

Oh dear, once more there is so much to tell and only so much time and patience. Next week I will be in San Fransisco attending the Romance Writers of America conference. I may see if I can send pictures from there. I will resume this topic when I return, and will try to send some thoughts from San Fransisco in the meantime.

Oh, and we will be in August so I will have some fashions and flora and fauna as well.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.