Commonest coinage predating 1971 UK decimalisation are these coppers lastly seen exchanged among Huthwaite shops. A hint of silver in the Sixpence, Shilling, Florin and Half Crown is merely an alloy token colouring, reflecting back to when majority were initially minted and truly valued upon purity of silver content.
There had been a fuller diverse range of coins historically minted up to and beyond a pound. Silver went on proving to be a reliable base metal in the long term, although there were some times of extreme shortage. Main problem with placing face value on that precious metal for larger denominations, was size and weight made such coins impractical for everyday use. A very obvious alternative was using higher ranked gold.
Through very ancient use, gold is still a recognised international currency. There's evidence of Celtic coins far predating Roman occupancy. Nonetheless, it was long after an English nation adopted Lsd as the standard unit, that gold made tenuous additions to the currency into a mid 14th century. And in relatively short time the royal mints realised one major disadvantage was an ever rising price of bullion that eventually outstripped original face values. Some attempts at substituting silver coins never gained lasting public acceptance due to excessive sizes. It led a succession of revalued gold coins, only to be melted down and losing names such as the Helm, Noble and Angel.
They'd been topped by the first one pound coin issued 1549 worth 20/- shillings. Replaced by a Guinea, that also inflated to set instead an established value at 21 shillings. A revalued Sovereign restored the name that lives on as an icon for the Royal Mint. Our present pound coin can only imitate glint when retaining similar size, whereas a sparkling new Sovereign that still measures 22 carat, commands their 2014 inflated price tag upward of £325.
Numismatics can better identify fuller British Coinage. Majority of those would never be seen when working families started rapidly populating Hucknall Huthwaite into the 20th century. There were several extremely wealthy residents who had personal opportunity of dealing in pounds beyond influential business interests. By which time, paper money had largely replaced use of purer gold and silver coinage above a Half Crown.
The Bank of England offers historic reference to their transferal notes spanning beyond 300 years. Earliest resemble printed cheques. Paper notes issued 1725 increment in 10's from £20 up to one thousand. After smaller £5 increments came 1797 issues covering both one and two pounds in same single sided format.
Vast expense of war has influenced currency throughout the ages. World War One demanded first issue August 1914 of the double sided bank notes, compared with the last pictorially covering 10/- Shillings to five pounds. These then gradually began regularly filling wage packet increases, adding ten pounds from 1964.
The decimalised pound offered no reason for changes, except removing ten shillings while adding a twenty pound note in response to the inflated cost of living. Every form of currency will remain subject to fraud, A modern £50 note issued from 1981 recognised the most cost effective target for counterfeiters, despite all counter measures including a metallic thread, water marking, embossed and micro printing techniques.
Time continues devaluing our pound. The old note was replaced by our current coin back in 1983. Fears of robbery had grown when handling larger amounts of cash. That promoted earlier payments by personal cheque book with a simple plastic cheque guarantee card adding security. Traveller cheques can still offer safety for oversea destinations, while most now possess an internationally recognised credit card. Plastic and electronic technology progresses into a separate subject. But banknotes and loose change are to be retained into the foreseeable future. Having long resisted one financial urge of joining the Euro currency, in 2013 the Bank of England announced polymer will be durably resistant to criminal intents from year 2016.
Written 08 Mar 14 Revised 11 Mar 14 © by Gary Elliott