Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Money continued

Before we start, I wanted to mention that tomorrow (Friday) I will be sending out my summer newsletter. So if you want to receive a copy, sign up right away. You will find the link in the side bar.

When I looked back, I realized I had got as far as thruppence in my accounting. Hardly anywhere at all, you might say.

Some of the siliver coins used during the Regency:

Sixpence = six pennies
shillings = 12 pennies make a shilling
half crown = two shillings and six pence - pictured here
crown = five shillings

There were also dollars issued during this period worth five shillings. These were struck from captured Spanish American dollars, and even some French ecus and United States dollars. They were counter-marked and issued as an emergency currency. And so the word dollar meaning five shillings entered English slang in 1804 even though crowns disappeared as a unit of currency.


There were guineas and half guineas, worth Twenty one shillings and ten shillings and six pence respectively. These were coins made in gold as you can see. This picture is of a George III guinea.

- In some fancy shops items were still priced in guineas not so very long ago. You would think the price was in pounds and then when you checked it is a shilling per pound more. Very sneaky. But posh. Oh, and there were no actual guineas to be had at that time.

Then there were the sovereigns and half sovereigns.


In 1816, the basis of English money changed from the value of silver to the value of gold. We adopted the Gold Standard. The Guinea was withdrawn and the basic monetary unit became the pound, which was represented by the Sovereign coin worth twenty shillings and the half sovereign worth ten shillings. Finally.

Sovereigns alas are also no more, first replaced with the pound and the ten bob not (ten shillings) and then we did away with shilling altogether. Sovereigns have been occasionally minted for special occasions. And they are still valued as jewelry, as bangles or pendants and my husband has a half-sovereign set in a signet ring.

Okay, so that is the basics, though there could be much more. Now we can get to the interesting stuff, like how much did things cost and slang terms for sums of money in the Regency.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.