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Pre-decimal mental math

I pinched the illustration off this person on Pinterest. I hope she regards the link as sufficient payment.

You want to see a wrinkly British face light up? Bring out some pre-decimal currency. Britain switched to a decimal system in 1971, but before that they had a base 12 currency. Everything’s ones, threes, sixes, twelves and twenty-fours. It’s fiendishly hard if you’re used to decimal.

They can rattle it off like nothing. AND they remember what things cost back then, too. We ran across a bag of old money in the archives today, and off they went!

If something costs one pound, two shillings and sixpence you could pay with a sovereign, a florin and a sixpence OR ten florins, two shillings, two tuppences and two pence OR two crowns, two half crowns, a thruppenny bit, a ha’penny and two farthings. You get the idea.

Try it yourself! In pennies (d), it’s:

Farthing: ¼d
Ha’pence: ½d
Penny: 1d
Tuppence: 2d
Threepence (thruppenny bit): 3d
Groat: 4d
Sixpence: 6d
Shilling AKA ‘bob’: 12d
Florin: 24d
Half crown: 30d
Crown: 100d
Sovereign: 240d (£1)
Guinea: 240d (£1)

You ought to see how they beam over a train timetable.

February 3, 2023 — 7:45 pm
Comments: 17