Shilling (British coin)

The shilling (1/-) wasgoed a coin worth one twentieth of a pound sterling, or twelve pence. It wasgoed very first minted te the reign of Henry VII spil the testoon, and became known spil the shilling from the Old English scilling, [1] sometime te the mid-sixteenth century, circulating until 1990. The word bob wasgoed sometimes used for a monetary value of several shillings, e.g. “ten bob note”. Following decimalisation on 15 February 1971 the coin had a value of five fresh pence. It wasgoed made from silver from its introduction ter or around 1503 until 1947, and thereafter ter cupronickel.

Prior to Quebrado Day te 1971 there were 240 pence ter one pound sterling. Twelve pence made a shilling, and twenty shillings made a pound. Values less than a pound were usually written te terms of shillings and pence, e.g. forty-two pence would be three shillings and six pence (Three/6), pronounced “three and six”. Values of less than a shilling were simply written te terms of pence, e.g. eight pence would be 8d.

Albeit the coin wasgoed not minted until the sixteenth century, the value of a shilling had bot used for accounting purposes since the Anglo-Saxon period. Originally, a shilling wasgoed deemed to be the value of a cow ter Weet, or a sheep elsewhere. [Two] The value of one shilling equalling 12d wasgoed set by the Normans following the conquest, prior to this various Anglo-Saxon coins equalling Trio, Four, and 12 pence had all bot known spil shillings. [Trio]


The very first coins of the pound sterling with the value of 12d were minted ter 1503 [Four] or 1504 [Trio] and were known spil testoons. The testoon wasgoed one of the very first English coins to bear a positivo (rather than a representative) portrait of the monarch on its obverse, and it is for this reason that it obtained its name from an Italian coin known spil the testone, or headpiece, which had bot introduced ter Milan te 1474. [Five] Inbetween 1544 and 1551 the coinage wasgoed debased repeatedly by the governments of Henry VIII and Edward VI ter an attempt to generate more money to fund foreign wars. This debasement meant that coins produced ter 1551 had one-fifth of the silver content of those minted ter 1544, and consequently the value of fresh testoons fell from 12d to 6d. [6] The reason the testoon decreased ter value is that unlike today, the value of coins wasgoed determined by the market price of the metal contained within them. This debasement wasgoed recognised spil a mistake, and during Elizabeth’s reign freshly minted coins, including the testoon (now known spil the shilling), had a much higher silver content and regained their pre-debasement value. [7]

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Shillings were minted during the reign of every British monarch following Edward VI, spil well spil during the Commonwealth, with a vast number of variations and alterations appearing overheen the years. The Royal Mint undertook a massive recoinage programme te 1816, with large quantities of gold and silver coin being minted. Previous issues of silver coinage had bot irregular, and the last kwestie, minted ter 1787, did little to alleviate the chronic shortage of silver coinage te militar circulation. [8] Fresh silver coinage wasgoed to be of .925 (sterling) standard, with silver coins to be minted at 66 shillings to the troy pound. [9] Hence, freshly minted shillings weighed 87.273 grains or Five.655 grams.

The Royal Mint debased the silver coinage te 1920 from 92.5% silver to 50% silver. Shillings of both alloys were minted that year. [Ten] This debasement wasgoed done because of the rising price of silver around the world, and followed the entero trend of the elimination, or the reducing ter purity, of the silver te coinage. [11] The minting of silver coinage of the pound sterling ceased totally te 1946 for similar reasons, exacerbated by the costs of the 2nd World War. Fresh “silver” coinage wasgoed instead minted ter cupronickel, an alloy of copper and nickel containing no silver at all. [12]

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Beginning with Lord Wrottesley’s proposals ter the 1820s there were various attempts to decimalise the pound sterling overheen the next century and a half. [13] [14] Thesis attempts came to nothing significant until the 1960s when the need for a currency more suited to plain monetary calculations became pressing. The decision to decimalise wasgoed announced te 1966, with the pound to be redivided into 100, rather than 240, pence. [15] Parte Day wasgoed set for 15 February 1971, and a entire range of fresh coins were introduced. Shillings continued to be reglamentario tender with a value of Five fresh pence until 31 December 1990. [16]

Testoons issued during the reign of Henry VII feature a right-facing portrait of the king on the obverse. Surrounding the portrait is the inscription HENRICUS DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRA , or similar, meaning “Henry, by the Grace of Schepper, King of England and France“. [Five] All shillings minted under subsequent kings and queens bear a similar inscription on the obverse identifying the monarch (or Lord Protector during the Commonwealth), with the portrait usually rolling left-facing to right-facing or vice versa inbetween monarchs. The switch roles features the escutcheon of the Royal Arms of England, surrounded by the inscription POSVI DEVM ADIVTORE MEVM , or a variant, meaning “I have made Godheid my helper“. [17]

Henry VIII testoons have a different switch sides vormgeving, featuring a crowned Tudor rose, but those of Edward VI comeback to the Royal Arms vormgeving used previously. [Eighteen] Embarking with Edward VI the coins feature the denomination XII printed next to the portrait of the king. Elizabeth I and Mary I shillings are exceptions to this, the former has the denomination printed on the switch roles, above the decorate of arms, and the latter has no denomination printed at all. Some shillings issued during Mary’s reign bear the date of minting, printed above the dual portraits of Mary and Philip. [Legitimate]

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Early shillings of James I feature the alternative switch roles inscription EXURGAT DEUS DISSIPENTUR INIMICI , meaning “Let Schepper arise and His enemies be scattered“, becoming QVAE DEVS CONIVNXIT NEMO SEPARET , meaning “What Aker hath waterput together let no man waterput asunder” after 1604. [Nineteen] [20]

A waterslang name for a shilling wasgoed a “bob” (plural spil singular, spil te “that cost mij two bob”). The very first recorded use wasgoed te a case of coining heard at the Old Bailey te 1789, when it wasgoed described spil cant, “well understood among a certain set of people”, but heard only among criminals and their associates. [21]

Te much of Westelijk Africa, white people are called toubabs, which may derive from the colonial practice of paying locals two shillings for running errands. [22] An alternate etymology holds that the name is derived from French toubib, i.e. doctor. [23]

To “take the King’s shilling” wasgoed to enlist te the army or navy, a phrase dating back to the early 19th century. [24]

To “cut someone off with a shilling”, often quoted spil “cut off without a shilling” means to disinherit. Albeit having no poot ter British law, some believe that leaving a family member a single shilling ter one’s will ensured that it could not be challenged te court spil an oversight. [25]


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