35 Annotations

First Reading

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Here's a good overview, from Grahamt's annotation on 4 Feb. 1660 (http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1… ):
The basic units were l.s.d or pounds, shillings and pence, but named coins of other denominations were common, e.g. a groat (until 1662)
4 farthings = 1d (penny)
4d = 1 groat
12d = 3 groats = 1s (shilling)
5s = 1 crown (half-a-crown = 2s 6d)
20s = 4 crowns = 1l or

michael f vincent  •  Link

money slang:
tuppence = 2d;
tenner = 10l;
tanner = 6d , 1/2 s;
thrupence= 3d;
dollar = 5s, based at a time when the pound = 4 dollars;
1/2 dollar mate; haffa crown;

Grahamt  •  Link

A little more money trivia:
1.5d is always pronounced three- ha'pence, and was 1/8th of a shilling; 1.25d would be said penny-farthing; 1.75d penny-three-farthing.
a 240d pound is actually very useful for traders. It has factors of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, 24... whereas the 100p pound only has:
1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 25...
This makes it easier to divide into smaller units and matches well with imperial units of measure like 12" = 1', 16oz = 1lb, 8pts = 1 gal. For example, if silk is 3s per yard, than 4'4" is 4s4d. With a 100p pound the buyer would need to buy either 4' (=20p) or 4'6" (22.5p) to get a reasonable match between whole inches and monetary units. This is a little contrived, but illustrates the point. Naturally, with a metric measuring system, then a metric monetary system makes more sense.

Emilio  •  Link

[Annotation by Language Hat for 14 March, 1659/60. For example sentences (including the day's Pepys entry!), see here at:
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1… ]
half a piece
means half a sovereign or guinea; OED:
Popularly applied to an English gold coin; orig. to the unite of James I, and afterwards to the sovereign, and guinea, as the one or other was the current coin. Hence

michael f vincent  •  Link

More coin data Charles I mint,.. mark etc.
In 1654 Gold bullion is recorded in London as having a value of

vincent  •  Link

"Guinea " The gold "Guineas" according to Liza Picard ( Restoration London P144) The name came about because the gold was imported from Guinea by Africa Company. At this time Coins were milled to last longer. But I do beleive it was stop people getting their percentage with a penknife.
Same source. Tokens were Issued due shortage. ( my thought:- due to growth of the economy and inflation and bad Harvests, riots and the general troubles of the times.) any way interesting reading.
Bills of Exchange J. Evelyn mention his transactions of Bills of Exchange(13 times) going thru Merchants setting up accounts taking cash for local transactions. On His Grand tour of the Continent,He has this contact at Leghorn(Ligorne,Liverno) for providing large Sums on His Making a Bill of Exchange and the settling of same.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Ducket(t), Ducat
Per L&M: Spanish gold or silver coin worth 9s. 4d. and 3s. 6d. respectively

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Gilder, Guilder: Dutch Money of account worth about 2s.
Per L&M

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Duccaton [, Ducatoon]: large silver coin of the Netherlands worth 5s 9d.
per L&M

Glyn  •  Link

But it's not as simple as all that!

Only joking, but the story is about to get yet more complicated.

For many decades and through much of Pepys' life there was a severe shortage of small change in England - it wasn't worth the government's efforts to make these low-value coins in sufficient quantities. As a result, many of the taverns and coffee houses made their own tokens which they handed out in small change (usually worth a 1/4 penny (a farthing) or a 1/2 penny). Technically this was illegal but successive governments let it go.

The tokens could be used in the places where they were made, and usually in the shops in the immediate neighbourhood because they could take them back to the tavern; but the farther away you were, the less likely they were to be accepted as being good money.

On the back of the coins are usually a combination of the value (e.g. 1/2 penny), the street the tavern is in, perhaps the landlords name, and the date.

But most people still couldn't read, so on the front was usually a depiction of the symbol on the pub sign - so illiterate people could find the pub that made that particular token.

From this, for example, we know that The Three Cranes depicted the stork-like birds not machinery.

But I find the tokens from the "Salutation" tavern more interesting. M. Stolzenbach has pointed out that this must originally have been a Roman Catholic symbol (an Angel greets the Virgin Mary). However, by Pepys' time, its tokens (and so its signboard) merely showed 2 men greeting each other on the road. So showing how things can be sanitized.

I understand Pepys never mentioned these little almost worthless tokens in his diaries although he probably had some in his pocket on most days: it makes you wonder what things that are obvious to us in our own time will be mysterious to people 300 years from now.

vincent  •  Link

Another version of exchange rate:
[Foreign coins were in frequent use at this time. A Proclamation, January 29th, 1660-61, declared certain foreign gold and silver coins to be current at certain rates. The rate of the ducatoon was at 5s. 9d.]

vincent  •  Link

Irish farthings: [ + a pic of the precursor to American cent; size that is]Charles II granted a patent to strike farthings for Ireland to Sir Thomas Armstrong in 1660. This issue was similar to the farthings of James I and Charles I from before the English Civil War. The issue was prohibited by the Governor of Ireland in 1661 and it does not appear to have been issued in large number nor to have circulated widely before this prohibition.
The period beween 1657 and 1674 (just before and after the restoration of the monarchy in England) is characterised by the issuing of numerous small penny and twopenny tokens. There are over 800 different issues and they include examples from every city, almost every town and a few villages in Ireland. The tokens of this period will be covered in Irish Tokens (1200 to 1858).

Lawrence  •  Link

Not sure if this is the right place or a relevant article to put here? but thought it interesting enough to post to the group, "Dollars from hell" BBC History magazine p.33 http://www.bbchistorymagazine.com…

vicente  •  Link

Angel from Glyn on Mon 17 May 2004,A gold coin: there were three

vicente  •  Link

avoirdupois weight : 16 oz per pound or 7,000 grains or
16 drams [16 ounces]
14.58 troy ounces equals one pound
for conversions etc: see http://www.metric-conversions.org…

12 troy = 13.16571 ounces
12 troy = 373.2417 grams
ounces (troy) a unit of apothecary weight equal to 480 grains or one twelfth of a troy pound pennyweights A measure of Troy weight equalling 24 grains or the twentieth part of a Troy ounce (there are 12 ounces in a pound Troy). Pennyweight is usually abbreviated dwt.

40 troy ozs= 2.742857 lbs at 2.5L per oz
40 troy ozs = 1244139 grams
This is the weight and description of the raw scrap received by Jensen from the customer. It is in troy ounces. (16 avoir-du-pois ounces equals one pound. 14.58 troy ounces equals one pound). The balance the company uses to weigh incoming lots is calibrated every six months to ensure accuracy and the log in process is videotaped as a trained technician describes the contents of the package.

vicente  •  Link

LSD : 3 good sytes and clarification.
Before 1971 Britain had an unusual non-decimal money system.
Old Sterling Currency,

PHE  •  Link

guye ffalkes on Mon 22 Nov 2004, 8:42 pm | Link

JWB  •  Link


dirk  •  Link

More on Guineas...

"The Guinea coin of 1663 was the first British machine-struck gold coin. The first one was produced on 6 February 1663 (1662 Old Style), and was made legal currency by a Proclamation of 27 March 1663. 44 and one half guineas would be made from one Troy pound of 11/12 fineness gold, each weighing 129.4 grains. The denomination was originally worth one pound, or twenty shillings, but an increase in the price of gold during Charles II's reign led to it being traded at a premium. In 1670 the weight of the coin was reduced from 8.4

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

from:Michael Robinson on Mon 2 May 2005, 6:13 am | Link

David  •  Link

Norfolk slang for coins 1950s and 60s
1d Clod
3d Joey (normaly for old silver )but

remained the same for the brass
2/6 Halfcrown =Half Oxford (Oxford
Schoolar ) = Dollar

Terry F  •  Link

“Some ninepences were current [in late 1662] (Irish shillings of James I), but they were rare.” L&M, iii.266.n.2

Here are images of the Irish shillings of James I, but they are denominated sixpences http://www.irishcoinage.com/JAMES…

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

from Dave Bell on Fri 25 Nov 2005,
There are more details on early English (and Scottish) milled coinage here http://www.kenelks.co.uk/coins/ea… (Second half of the page for Blondeau).
It appears that Peter Blondeau himself had very little direct involvement in the post-Restoration coinage.
better understanding of the evolving cerated coin.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

According to Large Glossary: Mark , be Token, or as money 13s.4d or 2/3rds of a pound sterling [easterling]

mosterman  •  Link

According to the historical currency calculator on http://www.projects.ex.ac.uk/trol…
1 pound in 1675 was worth about 62 pounds today or about 108 dollars US.

Philip Mernick  •  Link

ref JWB query about guianois 15 Mar 2005. This has no connection with guineas but refers to an issue of coins for Aquitaine, France (also known as Guyenne) by Edward III in 1361. The reference could be to gold or silver coins.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"The British pound sign has a history going back 1,200 years, when it was first used by the Romans as an abbreviation for ‘libra pondo’, the empire’s basic unit of weight. As any amateur astrologer will tell you, libra means scales in Latin, and libra pondo literally translates as ‘a pound by weight’.

"In Anglo-Saxon England, the pound became a unit of currency, equivalent to – surprise, surprise – a pound of silver. Vast riches, in other words. But along with the Roman name, the Anglo-Saxons borrowed the sign, an ornate letter ‘L’.

"The crossbar came along later, indicating that it’s an abbreviation, and a [document] in London’s Bank of England Museum shows that the pound sign had assumed its current form by 1661, even if it took a little longer for it to become universally adopted."


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Tokens from Inns: The White Hart (1246-2015) issued them

This article is about the 2011 permission, granted by the City of London, to demolish all but the facade of old coaching inn, The White Hart of Bishopsgate, redesigned in 1610 by Inigo Jones. It stood close to Bedlam, which was featured on the reverse of its tokens.

In 2015 the pub shut for the last time to permit the construction of a nine storey cylindrical office block of questionable design, developed by Sir Alan Sugar’s company Amsprop. Thus passed The White Hart after more than seven centuries in Bishopsgate.

For pictures of the 17th century tokens, cellars, and Inigo Jones' 1610 plans, plus photos of the brick tunnel through which the coaches ran, see

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.