The Shilling was once the most common coin used in all of the United Kingdom. It was once worth 1/20th of a pound or 12 pence. But how much is a Shilling worth today? Here’s everything you need to know about the Shilling, the history of the coin, and how much is a Shilling worth today?
What Was The Shilling Value in Pence?
Before 1971 and the decimalization of the UK currency, £1 was equal to 240 pence.
12 pence or 12d was equal to 1 Shilling.
So, 20 shillings made 1 pound (20X12 = 240).
Any amount that was less than a pound was called pence and shillings.
A popular nomenclature was that of ‘3 Shillings and 6 Pence’ which was equal to 42 pence.
Also, the Shilling was called a ‘bob’ for a long time.
What Do You Mean By Decimalisation?
Decimalisation marked the abolishment of the Shilling. This occurred in 1971.
Under this rule, 100 Pence was equal to 1 Pound. Previously, 1 Pound was 20 Shillings, and each Shilling was 12 Pence.
So, it meant that 1 Pound was 240 Pence.
New 5p and 10p coins came into circulation to replace the Shillings, and a 50p coin replaced the 10 Shilling note.
To remove any confusion about the new conversions, the new coins had the term ‘New Pence’ inscribed to prevent any confusion.
These inscriptions were removed in 1982 which led to the new Pence Two Pence scandal in 1983.
Why Was Decimalisation Implemented Against Shilling?
Decimalization was implemented against Shilling to simplify the currency and align it with the ongoing inflation rates.
Multiple countries adopted the decimalization process before Britain and the debate of whether the change is worth it or not.
Because of the first decimalization, in 1849 the 2-shilling silver florin (equal to one-tenth of a pound) was introduced, and in 1887 a double florin ( equal to 4 shillings or a twentieth of a pound) was minted.
These were the first steps to decimalisation.
How Much is The Value of a Shilling Today?
The Shilling has multiple forms and designs over multiple reigns across the years.
Because of this, the actual value of a Shilling coin varies dramatically determining how much is a shilling worth today in the UK.
The most notable Shilling auctions include the 1850 Shilling that was sold for £2750 by the London Coins.
The description of the lot was offered as:
History of The Shilling
When wondering about how much a shilling is worth today, you need to know the history behind Shilling.
The Schilling or ‘scilling’ or ‘scylling’ has been around since the Anglo-Saxon era but had no real value as a currency at that time.
The coin was produced as early as the 16th century (1503-1504) and was called a testoon.
The testoon comes from the Italian coinage word testone meaning ‘head’.
As the coin depicted the head of a monarch rather than having a generic image.
The testoon came to be known as the Shilling during the rule of King Edward VI and is dated as a shilling from 1548.
Ironically, these coins also have Roman numerals.
Collectors are more interested in Shillings issued during King Charles I reign than any other coin.
During that time English towns such as Pontefract and Newark were under siege and the coins produced were made with an array of metals.
So, how much is a Shilling worth today in Pounds?
How Much is a Shilling Worth Today in Pounds?
Based on the decimalization of the British currency in 1971, in today’s money, a Shilling is about 5 Pence.
By this rule, we can now work out the rate of shillings:
- 2 Shillings is about 10 Pence
- 5 Shillings worth 25 Pence
- 6 Shillings are worth 30 Pence
The Shilling was considered a legal tender till 31st December 1990 and was about 5 Pence.
A Pound was worth 20 Shillings, and each Shilling was worth 12 pennies.
If you consider how much is a Shilling worth today in pounds, then it has the purchasing equivalent of 5 Pence.
But this does not include the rare Shilling coins.
The Shilling itself was further divided into lesser denominations of:
- 12 coppers or pennies
- 4 3-penny bits
- 2 sixpence
- 3 groats
What Would 1 Shilling Buy You?
Now that we know how much is a Shilling worth today, what would it buy you?
To understand this, we need to focus on the specific era and the rate of inflation during that period.
In the 1940s, during World War 2, the Shilling was strong.
It could be used to purchase items such as a bar of soap or a loaf of bread.
If you entered a grocery store in the 40s, you would leave with a shopping bag containing the following:
- Quarter pound of cocoa
- Bar of soap
- Packet of pudding
- Pack of gum
Due to the war, the economy suffered and the cost of necessities increased.
This meant that from 1939 till the end of the war, the price of milk had risen from 3 Pennies to 9 Pennies.
The value of a Shilling dropped in the 60s.
You could just manage to buy a loaf of bread, pay for a haircut, or put in only 1 liter of petrol in your car.
In the 70s, the Shilling could get you 1 pint of milk delivered to your house or a 3-minute phone call.
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The British Shilling has more historical value than it does monetary.
Collectors and museums display their collections of shillings as they hold a place of pride in the nation.
If you ask a coin collector the question, how much is a shilling worth today – they will tell you that the cost transcends any monetary value.
It is more of a way to connect to the past of a nation that shaped the way the world moved.
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