Money was undergoing a change during the Regency. It began during the early part of the Napoleonic wars, in 1797 to be exact, when the guinea was discontinued officially. Guineas were still in circulation, though, and people spoke in terms of items costing X number of guineas.
So what was a guinea? 21 shillings.
Clear as mud?
Let’s break this down to the simplest terms possible.
Farthing (as in “I don’t give a farthing for that.) ¼ pence
Hapenny or half penny: ½ penny or pence
Penny: a penny or pence shown as amount in numbers with a d.
Tuppence: two pennies
Thrupence: three pennies
Sixpence: six pennies or half a shilling
Shilling: 12 pennies r pence and shown as amount in numbers with an S
Half Crown: 30 pence or 2S 6D
Crown: 60d or 5s
Pony: Slang term for 25 pounds
Monkey: Slang term for 500 pounds.
Sovereign: In 1816, Great Britain went on the gold standard and issued the sovereign, which was a pound in a gold coin.
Although bank notes were issued for convenience, they were not legal tender as we think of paper money nowadays. That didn’t occur until a little over a decade after the Regency ended. Bank notes were promissory notes saying that the bearer could exchange it for the face value of the note in gold coins. This was one way in which money passed from bank to bank.
To explain the banking system and how it worked before even telegrams could be exchanged to verify accounts is a complicated subject that will have to wait for another post.
Originally posted 2012-04-09 10:00:00.