Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Speaking of money

I am always on the lookout for new and interesting categories of words for my collection. I am always seeking to simply learn new information about you as well. In our research categories, we have talked about food, transportation, sex (a lot), and other things, but for some reason, the category of money never came up until yesterday. But money is great subject, don't you think? It is at least deserving enough to warrant having its own special post, rather than simply lumping in with Benjamin Bunny and vomit, one would think.

So, this is the money category post. For starters, would someone who is rather long of tooth explain to Max about the "old" money? Did you see the old movie "Mary Poppins?" I love the song about "Tuppence." What the heck is "tuppence?" Two pence, I imagine. Was there an actual coin for that? Seems like one would simply use two pennies. And "hapence?" Half-pence, I presume. Again, an actual coin? Must be--couldn't saw a penny in half. But tell me about shillings. And crowns. And I myself have just used a word in my 19th century Lord Likely post (upcoming this week, if I can plug it again here)--the word I used was "soverign", but I admit to having no clue as to the real meaning of that word. It just sounded like a coin the Lord would have used back then.

You've already explained quid. What else? This is starting to get interesting. I remember another movie--Doris Day--I think it was "The Man Who Knew Too Much". 1956. God, what a memory that little dog has when plugged into Tom. Anyway, Doris was in a phone booth (or whatever you call them (probably a thing of the past as they are in my own country now) and the operator (this was in England, if you don't remember the movie) was telling her to put in some money, and Doris didn't have the right British coin and she asked the operator, "Can't I just put in a dime? It's the same size..." So cool. But my real question is, what are your coins, current and "old"? [Quickly, the American current coins are: penny (actually "cent"--we don't have a real penny, although everyone calls them pennies); nickel; dime; quarter. We also have half-dollar and dollar coins, but they, for some reason, are not in wide usage anymore.] And this is what they look like, from Tom's pockets this morning, if you have a desire to look at them.

Yes, I know I can google all this stuff, but they wouldn't tell me your anecdotes you remember about your coins (and other money), and you will. Hopefully. Give, please.


  1. Now this is showing my age :

    Not to be confused with modern pounds and pence

    20 Shillings to a pound
    21 Shillings to a guinea

    12 pence to a shilling
    therefore 240 pennies to a pound

    10 bob note = 10 shillings

    bob = shilling
    Shilling = derived from the latin solidus meaning solid coin

    Crown = 5 shillings
    half-Crown = 2 shillings and 6 pence
    florin = 2 shillings
    thrupence/thrupenny bit = 3 pennies
    groat = four pennies
    sixpence = six pennies
    tuppence = two pennies
    halfpenny = 1/2 penny
    farthing = 1/4 penny

    I think that's all but correct me if I am wrong..

  2. Sage-"Bob" that was another word that I didn't know that I forgot to ask about yesterday. And guinea (what's the origin of the term "guinea" I wonder?). Thank you. Also forgot farthing. So cool. I am going to include this in a section of my book, just to remind everybody of the time when money was "real". Ha! Thanks again, my friend. Hope all is well with you.

  3. I believe the word guinea derived from the fact that the majority of gold to create the coin came from this area of Africa... but that is as much as I know.

    I have a groat, and a silver sixpence and thruppence as well as a farthing..

    Interestingly Crowns are still produced, as they are used to mark occasions such as the Queen's Golden Jubilee etc.

    I had a hard time with this subject as we left the country before decimalisation to go to Malaya, and returned just as decimalisation started so we were completely out of our depths.. a different language at times.

    I still use imperial measures such as weight and length, can't fathom out grams and metres lol

  4. A half penny is pronounced hay-pny and often seen written ha'penny. There used to be a game called shove ha'penny. My father had a board and he and my husband used to spend hours playing. Never saw the attraction myself.

    A ha'penny had a sailing ship and a farthing had a lovely little wren.

    A sixpenny piece was known as a tanner but you may already have that. And of course if you can turn on a tanner, or a sixpence, you can make a tight turn.

    There is a two-penny coin now, often known as two pee rather than tuppence. I don't believe there was a coin in old money but I may be wrong.

    Do you know the song

    I’ve got six pence, jolly, jolly, six pence,
    I’ve got six pence, to last me all my life.
    I’ve got tuppence to spend, and tuppence to lend,
    And tuppence to send home to my wife.

  5. Oddly I DO know that song from childhood.

    How strange the bits and pieces of culture our British ancestors chose to pass down to us--and how seemingly random those pieces!

  6. And of course money is often referred to as l s d - from the old symbols for pounds, shillings and pence. From the latin, the l from librae, s from solidi, and the d from denarii.

    I must go, I have work to do, really I have.

  7. And--although this is unrelated to money--I also remember as a child singing a song about a Cookaburra (sp?) up in the old gum tree. And never gave it a second thought until I started in recently studying Australian words. Funny. Had no idea that was a bird or that it was Austrailian. We memorize what we are told at that age. :)

  8. Those two songs in conjunction make it sound like you were in the scouts.

    Guineas were once gold coins and equivalent to twenty silver shillings. With the fluctuation of prices, the guinea came to be worth 21 shillings and eventually the price was fixed.

  9. I already told you about dustbin lids = 50p. Thats just because of their shape though.

    I had so many issues with money when I moved to the US, more than I had done with any other currency, all those green notes that looked the same. That was until I learnt to organise them in my wallet, so I could just look at the corners. I am so very used to coloured notes.

    I don't really know much about our old money in the UK, but I do remember 1/2 pence.

    Not so much use today I am afraid.

  10. Scouts? heh. No, just primary school songbook, when the music teach would come around every week or so. :)

  11. Caroline, of course you don't remember the old money. But why would you think that makes you of no use? Don't be siilly. There's more to life than just money. :)

  12. I didn't say I was no use, I said I was not so much use today... small difference :)

    But I very much agree there is certainly more to life than money, especially old money that you can't even spend any more.

  13. "especially old money that you can't even spend any more."

    Actually, those with old money choose not to spend anymore. There are too many who are willing to spend for them. ;)

  14. hahaha, i wasn't even thinking of that type of old money, but your comment is quite correct.

  15. And of course there was the bicycle called the penny farthing. presumably it was called something else in other countries. I believe it started off in France.

    There are sayings eg

    "penny wise and pound foolish"
    "take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves"
    "not worth a brass farthing"

    Maundy money is something entirely special. On the Thursday before easter the queen gives out specially minted maundy money.

  16. Yes, they had the Penny Farthing here too. That was the one with the giant front wheel, right?

    You are nothing but thorough, a. Sometimes you amaze me. (Much of the time, actually.) :)

    Yes, I am taking notes.

  17. I think Sage and A pretty much got all of it. I was born after new money came in, but I have most of the smaller coins sat round somewhere. The florin and shilling stayed in circulation for a good long while after 1971, equivalent to 10 pence and 5 pence pieces, which were the same size and similar design - until the coins were made smaller back in the 90s.

    Kids had to be really good at arithmetic in pre-decimalisation days, to work out areas of objects, for example, as well as money...

    People ask 'what's that in old money?' even about non-money things, such as weight or length, if they want to know the pre-decimal version (for example, weight in pounds and ounces instead of kilograms).

    Also, the penny farthing bicycle was called that because of the relative sizes of the wheels compared to the penny coin (huge) and farthing coin (small).

  18. Catherine I'd forgotten about that saying, my dad says that all the time.

  19. So what's wrong with pounds and ounces and feet and inches? Those things are much more easy and accurate to use than those killy grams or whatever you call them. And how about drachms and scruple?. Can you give me a better system that that? I thought not!

    And we are getting along just fine without your silly kilometers or whatever you call them.

  20. Alright. So I can't spell. So what!

  21. I just spotted that no-one explained a sovereign (aka a 'sov'). It was basically a coin made of gold and worth 1 pound; you could also have a half-sovereign, again made of gold, and worth - can you guess? - yep, 10 shillings.
    Their weight in gold was possibly worth more than the face value.

  22. Catherine, that brings up another question. It seems you guys had a lot of duplications back then--different coins that could have had the same value.

    Probably just to confuse Americans, though. :)

  23. Lest we forget the popular phrase 'spend a penny', which refers to the act of urination, as in 'My bladder's bursting! I'm going to have to go and spend a penny'.

    I do not know the exact origins of that phrase, it might be people used to have to literally spend a penny to use the public facilities, or maybe people just really enjoy urinating upon money. I have no idea.

  24. It's because it cost a penny to use a public toilet, Lord Likely. (Which was the more likely answer, surely the one you'd pick?)

    These days it's more like 20p.

  25. Is this a closed shop, or can anyone join in? :)

    Quid is always singular except for "quids in" which means in luck.

    Another word for a pound is "nicker", allowing the joke, "Why can't a one-legged woman change a pound note? Because she's only got half a (k)nicker!"

    Nick, on the other hand, means to pinch, steal.

  26. Lord-You're warped as usual. May have to have you transported to Australia if you keep it up. :)

    Catherine, you know--that was one of the very first phrases I learned when I started this blog. I think if was Marmelade who added it to my list. It most likely started as you say. Are you big on pay public toilets in the UK? Not so much here. And pay no attention to Lord Likely. If he didn't owe me money, he wouldn't be commenting here anyway. :)

    Sheila-Did you know that you are what Australians call girls? Of course you did. I just learned that. Sort of the opposite of bloke with them, you know? Brits don't have any opposite of bloke I don't think. Sort of asexual as it were. I should talk--American's don't even have blokes. LMAO at nicker. That's cool. See, that's the kind of thing that needs to be in my book. Thanks. I'll be sure and steal it. :)

    P.S.Did you know that your avatar also appears in the sidebar of the above Lord Likely's blog? Take my word for it, though; you'll not want to visit that filthy vile blog.

    Hope we see you again! (Hint: Forget the posts. They are mostly a front. The pub's downstairs here at the comments, ok? :)

  27. An interesting piece of info on the Rhodesian (when we were a British colony) penny, it had a hole in the middle of it, I don't know why. Did the British old penny have a hole in it?

  28. I'd completely forgotten about the hole in the penny - it was the same in Nyasaland, but not in the UK. It reminds me too of tickies, three pence pieces. Does anyone remember that name? I've never been sure if that was used in the UK or not.



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