At 10:40 pm -0400 31/8/00, Nik Taylor wrote:
>Raymond Brown wrote:
>> But the trouble with gold coinage is that if inflation weakens the pound,
>> the coin becomes worth more than its face value!
>That seems really odd to have a coin whose value changes.
>> The Florin was introduced by them as a tenth of a
>> pound which, of course, it was as it was worth 2 shillings.  There was,
>> apparently, a limited amount of dimes (1/10 of a Florin) and cents (1/100
>> of a Florin) minted, but never issued as the Victorian decimalization was
>> never implemented.
>So, the "cent" would've been 1/1000 of a pound?

Yep - it'd been roughly the equivalent of the old farthing (960 of them to
the pound, in fact).

Before decimalization there were those who wanted to keep the pound
sterling and have it divided into 1000 mils.  If the pound had kept the
value it had before the rise in oil prices & subsequent inflation of the
1970s, it wouldn't have been a bad idea.  When I was an undergraduate (well
before such inflation), I privately used that system to keep my accounts.

Another idea pushed by those who wanted decimalization was to drop the
pound and adopt the old ten shillings as the new money of account, dividing
it into 100 cents which would've been roughly the equivalent of the old
penny.  This, in fact, was the system adopted by Australia, New Zealand and
South Africa.   The former two countries called the new "ten shillings" a
dollar, and the latter called it a rand.  I think one of the stumbling
blocks here was what to call the thing; 'dollar' sounded "too American".
One name touted by supporters of the system was 'the Royal'; others
suggested reviving some old name like 'Mark'.

In the event, of course, the government of the day kept the pound, dividing
it into 100 new pennies (each penny = 2.4 old pennies) or, more strictly
speaking at the time, into 200 half-pennies, since an "New Half Penny" coin
was minted and used for several years.  They seemed to have thought,
correctly, that this would be a short term measure and that inflation would
kill off the 'half penny'.  But I remember at the time several Math(s)
teachers getting up-tight at seeing prices displayed with a decimal point
followed by a couple of digits with 1/2 appended   :)


A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
                   [J.G. Hamann 1760]