Posts Tagged ‘coins’


A Falkland Islands 5p coin found in my change here in the UK...

I always love finding alien coins in my change and this week’s discovery seems particularly fitting – a shiny 5p piece from the Falkland Islands, far away in the South Atlantic. I say fitting, because we are coming up to the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina.

But this is not a political post, nor is it a tribute to those 255 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors and airmen and three civilian Falklanders who sadly died in that short conflict.

This is just about Falkland Island coins and the wildlife depicted on them.

That 5p coin features a Black-browed Albatross or (more…)

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The booklet every household in Britain received in preparation for decimalisation

On Monday, February 15, 1971, Britain’s currency went decimal. Forty years on, it’s an ideal opportunity for nostalgia about the wonderful coins we had before that Decimal Day.

The £1 remained the basic unit of our currency and in those days we had green £1 notes, rather than the brassy coins we have today – those were introduced in 1983 and the £1 note was withdrawn in 1988.


The £1 note of my childhood – it was changed to a smaller one in 1978 and £1 notes were eventually withdrawn in 1988

But now the £1 was divided into 100 new pennies. Previously there had been 240 old pennies, not that we thought of it like that. There were 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound.

We had our complicated (imperial) weights and measures tables on the back of every red exercise book and many was the childhood hour we spent memorising them.

Coins were so much bigger then, and the non-decimal system made sure we were good at arithmetic. No wonder our “times tables” went up to 12, rather than the obvious 10 (obvious because we have 10 digits on hands and feet, made for counting on).


Pennies of Edward VII (1906), George V (1933), George VI (1948) and Elizabeth II (1953)

A pocketful of pennies also contained the history of our kings and queens for more than a century. Before decimalisation came in, we were able to amass portraits in copper of Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V, George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. Of course George VI is much in the news in 2011 with the success of the film The King’s Speech.

As for Edward VIII (of Mrs Simpson fame), (more…)

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Sequinned party dresses from Anna Sui

I have loved shiny things all my life. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman – I imagine it might be an evolutionary advantage to be attracted to bright shiny berries for food.

Sequins are glorious things, making me go Ooh and Aaah and put on a silly star-struck expression.


A dolphin painted in sequins...

Here I am (more…)

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Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) in my garden

I always thought the wren was the most British of birds. When I googled it and found lots of images of exotic American versions I thought well, I suppose when the Pilgrim Fathers went to the New World they obviously saw lots of little birds that were similar (but usually more colourful) and gave them the name wren.

So I was surprised to find (more…)

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Everyday British coins

Everyday British coins

new coins

Shiny new British coins

Every morning before I leave the house, as I sort the change for my bus fare, I make my own demonstration of Gresham’s law. Have you ever heard of it?
Sir Thomas Gresham (1519 – 1579), was an English financier during the time of the Tudors in England. His law says that bad money drives out good and it’s pretty obvious in a way.
Long ago our everyday coins were (more…)

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