Memories in old money

by Mike Jacobs

I came across a sixpence recently and this made me think of the rich culture we had with our pre-decimal coinage. The only recognisable one these days is half-a-crown mainly because the bricks for the Cathedral were sold for this amount. Two shillings and sixpence. The pennies and ha’pennies were real coins and with two or three in your pocket, you knew you had some money. My first ‘pocket money’ was thruppence or three whole pennies. With these in your pocket, you were rich.

Then was the thrupenny bit or thruppence, often called a Joey.  It was gold in colour and had six, or was it eight, sides. A bit of an enigma. My favourite came next, a Tanner or sixpence. When decimalisation was planned there was a decisive movement with rallies in Parlament square, to keep the Tannerr. Alas they were over ruled.

Then came the shilling or Bob, beloved silver coin that was needed to feed the Gas Meter. There were two Tanners to a Bob, so it was worth twelve pence.

The very first attempt at decimalisation saw the introduction of the ‘two Bob piece or Florin. There were ten to a pound. I have noidea why this first sttempt foundered, but decimalisation was never talked about in my youth.

My paper round paid me five shillings a week and I was rich. 

Finally the were ten Bob notes and then one pound or a quid. I never saw many of either. 

Reflecting on the names we gave these coins made me wonder how many people remember them, or am I really that old. For me the names will live forever but the new decimal coins just don’t have the same romance.

Who else remembers, I wonder and will those names just become absorbed in history.


Do you have memories you would like to share? Contact us at The Parishioner on the email address: we would love to hear from you.