On 15th February 2026 it will be exactly 55 years since the UK moved from pounds, shillings and pence to decimal currency.
Count down to the 55th anniversary:
. . .
This is . . . . . seconds.
. . . old pennies is equal to . . .
The pound (£) was divided into shillings (s) and pence (d).
The "L S D" stands for the Latin words "libra", "solidus" and "denarius".
Fifteen pounds, eight shillings and fourpence ha'penny would be written as £15/8/4½d.
Seventeen shillings and tenpence three-farthings would be written as 17/10¾d.
20 shillings in a pound
12 pennies in a shilling
240 pennies in a pound
|Coins in circulation before decimalisation:|
|Half-crown||Two shillings and sixpence||2/6d|
|Threepenny bit||Three pennies||3d|
|Halfpenny||Half a penny||½d|
|Farthing||A quarter of a penny (until 1960)||¼d|
Coins which stopped being minted in the nineteenth century were:
Groat - value four pennies - last issued in 1855.
Double florin - value four shillings - issued from 1870 to 1890.
Guinea value twenty-one shillings - last issued in 1816.
The threepenny bit was originally made of solid silver, then 50% silver and finally in 1937 it was replaced by a twelve-sided nickel brass coin.
The crown worth five shillings (25p) is still minted today but only as a commemorative coin although it is legal tender. You could spend it in a shop.
Although the coin is no longer in circulation the guinea is still used in auctions for horses and sometimes in professional fees with a value of twenty-one shillings ( £1.05 ).
A £1 coin was called a Sovereign and was made of gold.
The ten shilling note (10/- or 10s.) was issued by the Bank of England for the first time in 1928 and continued to be printed until 1969.
The one pound note was issued by the Bank of England for the first time in 1797 and continued to be printed until 1984.
Just imagine how difficult arithmetic was when dealing with pounds, shillings and pence.
Would you be able to do these sums?
Pre-decimal currency puzzle
The answer to each clue is an amount of money in pre-decimal currency. This may be a play on words or a common name for a particular coin. You would probably need to have been born before 1960 to be able to get all the answers! Can you work out the grand total? Click on the button below to reveal the solution.
|1.||Half a dollar|
|2.||An old style of bicycle|
|3.||A male singing voice|
|4.||Joint on a gorilla's leg|
|6.||A type of pet pig|
|7.||Sun - Moon - Pluto|
|8.||A leather worker|
|9.||50% off panties|
|11.||The Beatles sang about this lane|
|12.||An unwell cephalopod|