British Money

The currency in the UK is "pounds sterling" depicted by the symbol £ or the acronym GBP (Great British Pounds). Although the UK is part of the EU, we have opted out of using the Euro.

The history of British money is vast and begun in the 8th century with the silver penny. This coin had smaller denominations of farthings and halfpennies.

Slang Terms

Almost all denominations have a shortened slang version or alternative saying. The wonders of the East End of London brings us "cockney rhyming slang" with some ingenious inventions. Here are some of the most common expressions still alive in the UK:

General Money Slang - Current Money

General Money Slang - Pre-decimalisation Money

Cockney Slang - Some rhyming some not!

Current Coins and Banknotes

A major changed occurred in 1971 with the advent of decimalisation where 100 pennies equalled one pound. The current coins in circulation are:

The current banknotes in circulation are:

Prior to Decimalisation

Before 1971, an entirely different monetary system was in operation. The pound divided into 20 shillings, with each shilling worth 12 pence. Thus a pound back then was worth 240pence.

Other coinage used were Farthing, Halfpenny, Penny, Threepence, Sixpence, One shilling, Two shillings, Half crown, Crown and Guinea. The denominations were as follows: