Different banks have issued different series to commemorate various people and accomplishments, including Robert Burns, King Robert the Bruce, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Nan Shepard, and Adam Smith. Most people visiting the UK will deal primarily in the first three. how much is a bob in english money More recent British pound coins feature a bimetallic design – making it much harder to counterfeit. Historically, the pound sterling has been worth quite a bit more relative to the USD. Throughout much of the 1970s, a single pound would cost more than $2.

  1. These banknotes became known as the Treasury banknotes and were unlike anything the British public had ever seen.
  2. The Bank of England will be issuing a new polymer £20 note in late February 2020, but the old notes will continue to work for now.
  3. Often referred to as a “yellowboy”, they were typically used for more professional transactions (such as to pay a barrister or artist).
  4. Bank of England notes cease to be legal tender after a given date, but the Scottish banknotes are just slowly withdrawn from circulation as they come through the bank.

If you have old banknotes, your local bank (providing you hold an account with them) or postoffice will often exchange them. Alternatively, the Bank of England has its own procedure for exchanging old banknotes. Coins are somewhat more challenging as banks, postoffices, the Bank of England and The Royal Mint are under no legal obligation to exchange them.

What About Scotland & Scottish Banknotes?

The pound had an average inflation rate of 4.01% per year between 1919 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 5,639.06%. £50 in 1975 is equivalent in purchasing power to about £409.47 in 2018, an increase of £359.47 over 43 years. The pound had an average inflation rate of 5.01% per year between 1975 and 2018, producing a cumulative price increase of 718.93%. A penny was often called a ‘copper’ after the metal it was minted from. Before decimalization on 15 February 1971, there were twenty (20) shillings per pound. Much like the UK has always had a slight independent streak about the whole EU thing, Scotland has always had its own unique character that many have sought to preserve.


It was worth 1/20 of an Irish pound, and was interchangeable at the same value to the British coin, which continued to be used in Northern Ireland. The first minting, from 1928 until 1941, contained 75% silver, more than the equivalent British coin. The pre-decimal Irish shilling coin (which was retained for some time after decimalisation) was withdrawn from circulation on 1 January 1993, when a smaller five-pence coin was introduced. The shilling, which was worth 12 pence, was a commonly used unit of currency in Britain before decimalization. It was often referred to as a “bob” in everyday conversation.

Yet, sometimes it’s nice to take a walk down memory lane and marvel at just how much of our old currency remains in our everyday language. Worth two shillings, it was brought into circulation as an answer to the need for decimalisation. In its time, the florin was also known as a ‘two-bob’. Is it polite to use the term “bob” when referring to pounds? While using the term “bob” may be understood by some people, it is generally considered outdated and is not commonly used in polite conversation. It is best to use the official term, “pound,” when referring to British currency.

Often referred to as a “yellowboy”, they were typically used for more professional transactions (such as to pay a barrister or artist). Luckily for those who enjoy travelling to the UK, the pound sterling has been weak in recent years, dipping as low as $1.07 in late 2022. Even still, dollars buy a lot more than they used to in the UK, so it’s a great time to be travelling and shopping at British businesses. After undergoing a colour change during the Second World War, the ten bob note reverted to its familiar red-brown until 1961, when a new design featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was introduced. Britannia Coin Company are the UK’s leading online gold and silver coin buyer. We offer UK investors the opportunity to buy at low premiums above the global spot price and give practical advice on investing.

When the British say that something cost «5 bob» how much is that?

If something requires pounds and pence, you could say 5 pounds 50 pence, but you’re more likely to hear “5 pounds 50”. The pound sterling is the official currency of the UK, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands, Tristan de Cunha, and the British Antarctic Territory. Compare our rate and fee with our competitors and see the difference for yourself.

This did away with the shilling, making way for a system of pounds and pence (pennies). We, as modern American readers, have always had some problem in translating the British monetary system of the Victorian era into something more tangible, such as purchasing power. After puzzling the matter of the monies of the times off and on, we eventually asked one of our good British friends? Viz., Brian May, to explain to us the intricacies of the Victorian monetary system. We shall try to convey to you, what Brian conveyed to us.

The Wartime colour change

To many, this may seem like an “of course not” kind of question – but even today, there are some £1 banknotes still in production and circulation. The Royal Bank of Scotland issues them (even though pretty much everyone uses the coin), and they’re also issued in Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. Despite a new design for the 10 Shilling note featuring Sir Walter Raleigh on the reverse being approved in 1964, as part of the process of decimalisation it was dropped in favour of the new fifty pence coin introduced in 1969. After 1966, shillings continued to circulate, as they were replaced by ten-cent coins of the same size and weight.

It is subdivided into 100 cents (English), senti (Somali, also سنت) or centesimi (Italian). This little coin famously features in the nursery rhyme, Oranges and Lemons, sang in playgrounds across the country. A sum of £3 12s 6d was normally written as £3-12-6, but a sum of 12s 6d was normally recorded as 12/6. Because the Guinea coast was fabled for its gold, and its name became attached to other things like guinea fowl, and New Guinea. The symbols ‘s’ for shilling and ‘d’ for pence derive from the Latin solidus and denarius used in the Middle Ages.

One great example of guinea usage would be the auction scene in Series 1, Episode 4 of Cranford. Of course, if you watch period dramas or read historical fiction, you’re going to hear about entirely different types of money. Now, keep in mind that the UK has more than 1000 years of monetary history, to the point that it would take a book or two to properly cover it all. Instead, we’ll focus on things you’re likely to encounter in TV, movies, and literature.

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