List of British banknotes and coins
List of British banknotes and coins, with commonly used terms.
Prior to decimalisation in 1971, there were 12 pence (written as 12d) in a shilling (written as 1s or 1/-) and 20 shillings in a pound, written as £1 (occasionally "L" was used instead of the pound sign, £). There were therefore 240 pence in a pound. For example, 2 pounds 14 shillings and five pence could have been written as £2 14s 5d or £2 14/5.
The value of some coins fluctuated, particularly in the reigns of James I and Charles I. The value of a guinea fluctuated between 20 and 30 shillings before being fixed at 21 shillings in December 1717. These are denominations of British, or earlier English, coins – Scottish coins had different values.
|Name||Pre-decimalisation value||Post-decimalisation value||Dates of use||Notes|
|Mite||¹/24d; see notes||£0.0001736; see notes||Tudor dates, back to Anglo-Saxon England, at least.||In Tudor times, mites weren't minted but were used in accounting; one mite was one twenty-fourth of a penny or one sixth of a farthing. In older times, a mite could be worth ½ a farthing or ¹/8d; or about ⅓ of a farthing or about ¹/12d|
|Quarter farthing||¹/16d||£0.00026||1839–1868.||see note 1 below|
|Third farthing||¹/12d||£0.0003472||1827–1913.||see note 1 below|
|Half farthing||¹/8d||£0.00052083||1828–1868.||see note 1 below|
|Farthing||¼d||£0.00104167||c. 1200–1960.||The word "farthing" means "fourth part" (of a penny).|
|Halfpenny||½d||£0.0021||1272–1969.||Often called a "ha'penny" (pronounced HAY-p'nee), plural halfpennies ("ha'pennies") for the coins, halfpence ("ha'pence") for the monetary amount.|
|One penny||1d||£0.0042||757–1970.||Commonly called a "copper"; plural "pennies" for the coins, "pence" for the monetary amount|
|Three halfpence||1½d||£0.0063||1561–1582, 1834–1870.||see note 1 below. Pronounced as "three-ha'pence"|
|Twopence||2d||£0.0083||silver (inc. Maundy) 1668–current; copper 1797–1798.||Pronounced "tuppence".|
|Threepence||3d||£0.0125||silver 1547–1945 (and thereafter only for Maundy), nickel-brass 1937–1970.||Sometimes called "thripp'nce", "thrupp'nce", "threpp'nce" or "thripp'ny bit", "thrupp'ny bit". Referred to as a "joey" after the groat was no longer in circulation, as seen in George Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying.|
|Groat||4d||£0.0167||silver 1279–1662, 1836–1862 (and thereafter only for Maundy).||Referred to as a "joey" after Joseph Hume, the economist and Member of Parliament until it stopped being issued in 1885.|
|Sixpence||6d||£0.025||1547–1970; circulated from 1971 to 1980 with a value of two and a half decimal pence.||Also called "tanner", sometimes "tilbury", or "joey" after the groat was no longer in circulation.|
|Shilling||1/-||£0.05||1502–1970, circulated from 1971 to 1990 with a value of five decimal pence.||Also called a "bob", in singular or plural.|
|Quarter florin or helm||1/6||£0.075||1344||Gold coin demonetized within one year. see note 2 below|
|Gold penny||1/8 to 2/-||£0.0833 to £0.1||1257–1265.||Gold. Undervalued for its metal content and extremely rare.|
|Florin or two shillings||2/-||£0.1||1848–1970, circulated from 1971 to 1993 with a value of ten decimal pence.||see note 2 below|
|Half crown||2/6||£0.125||1526–1969.||Sometimes known as "half a dollar" (see Crown below).|
|Half florin or leopard||3/-||£0.15||1344||Gold; extremely rare. see note 2 below|
|Half noble||3/4 to 4/2||£0.1667 to £0.2083||minted 1346–1438.||increased in value in 1464|
|Half angel||3/4, later 5/6||£0.1667, later £0.275||1470–1619.|
|Double florin||4/-||£0.2||1887–1890.||Silver. see note 2 below|
|Crown of the rose||4/6||£0.225||1526–1551.|
|Crown||5/-||£0.25||1526–1965.||Sometimes known as "a dollar" – from the 1940s when the exchange rate was four USD to the GBP.|
|Quarter guinea||5/3||£0.2625||1718, 1762.|
|Florin or double leopard||6/-||£0.3||1344.||Gold; demonetized within one year. see note 2 below|
|Noble||6/8, later 8/4||£0.3333, later £0.4167||1344–1464.||Increased in value in 1464.|
|Half mark||6/8||£0.333||[medieval period]||A unit of account, not a coin. Convenient as it was exactly one-third of a pound.|
|Rose noble or ryal||10/-, later 15/-||£0.5, later £0.75||1464–1470, 1487, 1553–1603.||Increased in value from 1553.|
|Half sovereign||10/-||£0.5||1544–1553; 1603–1604; 1817–1937||A bullion coin since 1980.|
|Double crown||10/-||£0.5||1604–1619; 1625–1662.|
|Mark||13/4||£0.667||[medieval period]||A unit of account not a coin, but widely used.|
|Sovereign||20/-||£1||1489–1604; 1817–1937||A bullion coin since 1957.|
|Carolus||20/-, later 23/-||£1, later £1.15||reign of Charles I.|
|Two guineas or double guinea||originally 40/-, later 42/-||originally £2, later £2.10||1664–1753.||Originally known as a "forty-shilling piece"; value changed to forty-two shillings after the Proclamation of 1717 finally settled the value of a guinea.|
|Five guineas||originally 100/-, later 105/-||originally £5, later £5.25||1668–1753.||Originally known and valued as five pounds, but became five guineas when the guinea was standardised at one pound and one shilling in 1717.|
- Denomination issued for use in the colonies, usually in Ceylon, Malta, or the West Indies, but normally counted as part of the British coinage.
- The medieval florin, half florin, and quarter florin were gold coins intended to circulate in Europe as well as in England and were valued at much more than the Victorian and later florin and double florin. The medieval florins were withdrawn within a year because they contained insufficient gold for their face value and thus were unacceptable to merchants.
Since decimalisation on "Decimal Day" in 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 pence. Originally the term "new pence" was used; the word "new" was dropped from the coinage in 1982. The old shilling equated to five (new) pence, and, for example, £2 10s 6d became £2.52½. The symbol for the (old) penny, "d", was replaced by "p" (or initially sometimes "np", for new pence). Thus 72 pence can be written as £0.72 or 72p; both would commonly be read as "seventy-two pee".
|Half penny||1⁄2p||Sometimes written "ha'penny" (pronounced HAY-p'nee), but normally called a "half-pee"; demonetised andwithdrawn from circulation in December 1984.|
|Five pence||5p||A direct replacement for the shilling. The coin was reduced in size in 1990.|
|Ten pence||10p||A replacement for the florin (two shillings). The coin was reduced in size in 1992.|
|Twenty pence||20p||Introduced in 1982.|
|Twenty-five pence||25p or "crown".||A commemorative coin issued between 1972 and 1981 as a post-decimal continuation of the old crown. From 1990 it was replaced in the commemorative role by the £5 coin.|
|Fifty pence||50p||Introduced in 1969, just prior to decimalisation, to replace the ten shilling note ("ten bob note"). It was initially sometimes called a "ten bob bit". The coin was reduced in size in 1997.|
|One pound||£1||Introduced in 1983 to replace the one pound note.|
|Two pounds||£2||Issued as a commemorative coin from 1986 and in general circulation from 1998 (dated from 1997).|
|Five pounds||£5 or "crown".||Introduced in 1990 as a commemorative coin, replacing the commemorative role of the twenty-five pence coin.|
|Britannia, sovereign and half sovereign||Bullion coins issued to various values.|
|Twenty pounds||£20.||Introduced in 2013 as a commemorative coin.|
|One Hundred Pounds||£100||Announced December 2014, to be issued January 2015 as a commemorative coin |
Note: The description of banknotes given here relates to notes issued by the Bank of England. Three banks in Scotland and four banks in Northern Ireland also issue notes, in some or all of the denominations: £1, £5, £10, £20, £50, £100.
|Ten shilling note||10/- (£0.5)||1914 - 1970||Originally issued by the Treasury in 1914. Replaced by Bank of England notes from 1928. Commonly known as "ten bob note" or "half a quid".|
|£1 note||£1||Bank of England in 1988 (but still issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland), Bank of Northern Ireland and still used in some of the Channel Islands.Withdrawn by the|
|£5 note||£5||in circulation||The original "large white fiver" five pound note was known as "five jacks" and replaced in 1957 by the blue £5 note. Now also known as a fiver.|
|£10 note||£10||in circulation||Also known as a tenner.|
|£20 note||£20||in circulation||Also known as a score.|
|£50 note||£50||in circulation||Also known as a bullseye.|
|£100 note||£100||in circulation||Issued by Scottish and Northern Irish banks only.|
|£1,000,000 & £100,000,000 notes||£1,000,000 and £100,000,000||non-circulating||Used as backing for banknotes issued by Scottish & Northern Irish banks when exceeding the value of their 1845 reserves. The amount to be covered is over a billion pounds.|
Bank of England notes are periodically redesigned and reissued, with the old notes being withdrawn from circulation and destroyed. Each redesign is allocated a "Series". Currently, the £5 and £10 notes are Series E Revised issue and the £20 and £50 notes are Series F issue. Series F is the latest round of redesign, which commenced in March 2007. The £5 and £10 notes will undergo this process in the near future.
- Mentioned in the King James Bible: Mark 12:41-4, but referring to an European currency. http://www.medievalcoinage.com/denominations/index.htm
- Lara E. Eakins. "Coinage". tudorhistory.org. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Francis Sellon White (1827). A History of Inventions and Discoveries: Alphabetically Arranged. C. and J. Rivington, London. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Samuel Maunder (1841). The Scientific and Literary Treasury; A New and Popular Encylopedia of the Belles Lettres. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Cockney Rhyming Slang dictionary
- "Scottish and Northern Ireland Banknotes - The Role of Backing Assets". Bank of England. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/current/index.htm Current banknotes of the Bank of England