Old English money was very interesting...I knew a guinea was a pound and a shilling-sort of a super pound but what was a sovereign. Now I know- a sovereign is a pound-but a gold coin.
It's easy to understand how much more could be purchased then than now with all the little bits English money was divided into.
A pound=20 shillings
A shilling=12 pennies also called pense...so that's where thrupence comes from (3 pennies)
Another puzzler: A crown...what is a crown (sounds like a lot to me)...well its 5 shillings which makes a half crown=2 1/2 shillings but no, its 2 shillings, 6 pense.
2 shillings was called a florin (sounds Italian!) and sort of nicknamed a two bob bit....ah, is this where the American two-bits comes from? Now I know, from watching lots of Westerns, that two-bits equalled 25 cents and could buy a shave and a haircut!...or maybe a bath...but where did the name come from? Was there a one-bit (12 1/2" cent coin?)
Well, it seems that the two-bit coin came from something else entirely-from way back in colonial times and the Spanish milled dollar. This coin was actually cut into 8 pie shaped pieces...yep, pieces of eight! and one piece was one-bit=12 1/2 cents.
And here's my two-cents: I've been interviewed by Micki of Irish Muses-I'm her March Star. Micki has a lovely blog and she brings us all the news from her corner of Ireland.
And Johnny Cash says, "Here's two bits"...