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Can Someone Explain The Units In Aussie Coins?

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Valued Member
United States
414 Posts
 Posted 04/23/2007  09:25 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add monster to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I saw Aussie coins referring as soverign, half soverign, crown, furin, and six peeny, etc. What is the unit relationship between them? Thank in advance.
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Australia
13458 Posts
 Posted 04/23/2007  10:16 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There were 12 pennies (the correct plural is "pence") to a shilling, and 20 shillings to a pound or 240 pence to a pound. These were the basic units the predecimal sterling currency was reckoned in. Other coins in the series had specific, official names.

The threepence and sixpence are obvious - they're also and of a shilling, respectively. The two shilling coin was called a florin. The five shilling coin was called a crown. Some British dominions issued half-crown coins, worth 2 shillings or 2 shillings sixpence (written shorthand as 2/6). Australia didn't issue halfcrowns.

The gold coins, the sovereign and half-sovereign, were officially pegged 1:1 to the pound; effectively, 1 sovereign equals 1 pound.

Great Britain itself, and many of the colonies, used to use this same system of currency.

Of course, all the predecimal coins had slang terms and affectionate names - much as "penny" is an affectionate name for the USA 1 coin. We won't go into that for now - predecimal currency is difficult enough to comprehend without adding additonal complications.

Australia switched to a decimal system of 100 cents to a dollar in 1966, with an exchange rate of two new dollars to one old pound. Thus, a 20 coin was the same size (and worth the same) as the old florin, an old penny was now worth 5/6ths of a cent, and so forth.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
Edited by Sap
04/23/2007 10:18 am
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Canada
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 Posted 12/12/2008  7:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add WpgLwr to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Okay, so what are the slang names for the coins?
Valued Member
Australia
220 Posts
 Posted 12/13/2008  05:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Eric to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A halfpenny was called a h'pney, a sixpence was called a zac, a florin was called two bob, and a pound was called a quid.

Eric
Edited by Eric
12/13/2008 06:00 am
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United Kingdom
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 Posted 12/13/2008  06:08 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add QuickSilver to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Same as the slang terms in Britain except for the zac? What about the threepence? Surely that's a joey? Then you have the "thrupney bit" which in it's plural version is rhyming slang!
Formerly nancyc
Australia
5192 Posts
 Posted 12/13/2008  2:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Nevol to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
10 pounds - 10 quid - a tenner
5 pounds - 5 quid - a fiver
1 pound - a quid
1 Guinea - 1 Pound + 1 shilling
10/- - Ten shillings - 10 bob
2/6 - Half a crown - two & six
5/- A Crown - 5 shillings - 5 bob
2/- Two shilling - a florin - two bob
1/- one shiling - a bob - dinar
6d - sixpence - a zac - a tanner
3d - threepence - thrupence - a trey
1d - 1 penny
d - halfpenny - hap'ney


Pennies & hap'neys were sometimes collectively referred to as coppers

'bob' & 'quid' are only ever used in the singular form.
life is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved
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United States
870 Posts
 Posted 05/10/2010  03:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add delaner to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I was discussing this with my British friend the other day - how confused I was over the values of British coins - they're pretty close to Australian.

What I realized quickly was that the British purposely defined the coins in terms of other coins explicitly and solely to confuse us "a-mer-kin far-ners" ;) I don't know if that's wholely true, but it seemed a fun tongue in cheek joke they had on us. When the Brits went to the newpence, of course, some of the mystery was solved HOWEVER...

I also figured out that, in terms of American money - especially the decimal denominations - it's actually somewhat simple:

Nancy, I'm borrowing your list here and making my own modifications - if I get it wrong, please whack me upside the head and I'll promise to try not to do it again. =)

IF the pound were equivalent to the dollar (which of course, in value it is not but especially under 20, it's buying power I've found is pretty similar, day-to-day), THEN

10 pounds - 10 quid - a tenner ~ roughly equivalent to a tenspot or a $10 bill
5 pounds - 5 quid - a fiver ~ similar to above
1 pound - a quid ~ a buck
1 Guinea - 1 Pound + 1 shilling ~ there isn't an American equivalent, but I was told the guinea is used in auctions and the auction house or auctioneer got the extra five percent as commission
10/- - Ten shillings - 10 bob ~ half a pound - American equiv: Half-Dollar (50 Cent Piece)
2/6 - Half a crown - two & six ~ no American equivalent
5/- A Crown - 5 shillings - 5 bob ~ 1/4th of a Pound - Am equiv: a Quarter
2/- Two shilling - a florin - two bob ~ a Florin or 1/10th of a Pound - Am equiv: a Dime
1/- one shiling - a bob - dinar ~ 1/20th of a pound - Am equiv: a Nickel
6d - sixpence - a zac - a tanner ~ no Am equiv
3d - threepence - thrupence - a trey ~ no modern American equivalent
1d - 1 penny ~ same in American - a Penny or One Cent
d - halfpenny - hap'ney

This doesn't mention farthings (960 to the pound) or groats (4 pence), I guess they don't have those in Oz.

I'm about to try to learn more about Australian coins as I get into that part of the collection, but I hope that knowing there are common "equivalents" for the terms

"Crown" (quarter), "Florin" (dime), and "Shilling" (nickel)

help to ease frustrations and straighten out some confusion! It certainly worked for me! =)
Edited by delaner
05/10/2010 12:35 pm
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United States
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 Posted 05/10/2010  11:32 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pls to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I bet Australian fifth-graders knew all these terms, too.

Am I as smart as an Australian fifth-grader?

I don't THINK so! Lord love a duck!
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 Posted 05/11/2010  04:58 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
IF the pound were equivalent to the dollar (which of course, in value it is not but especially under 20, it's buying power I've found is pretty similar, day-to-day), THEN...

The pound and dollar are much closer to parity these days than they historically were. Up to 1949, there were about US$4 to the pound, so all of your "equivalent denominations" are too high for most of the time period these old currency units were in use. The crown, for instance, was a silver coin slightly larger than a US dollar, and a shilling was a silver coin slightly smaller than a quarter.

However, your numerical conversions (shilling = 0.05, florin = 0.10, 10 shillings = 0.50) were the numbers used when Britain went decimal in 1971; the shilling became 5 new pence, and so forth. So you're not too far wrong in that respect.

The Australian pound was pegged to the British pound at a fixed rate of AU£1/5/- = GB£1. So even though our coins contained better quality silver, they were worth less than their British counterparts in terms of foreign exchange. This was a deliberate policy of the Australian government, to keep our exports cheap and attractive. In 1967, shortly after switching to the dollar, we pegged the currency to the US dollar instead of the British pound.


Quote:
I bet Australian fifth-graders knew all these terms, too.

Certainly people born under the predecimal monetary system were taught it and knew how to use it, though the slang words (like two bob, deener and trey) would never have been formally taught to them; those would be picked up from friends and family.

It's been over 40 years since the predecimal money was withdrawn. Kids in Australia today would have no idea what sixpences, shillings and florins are. Just like they have no idea what inches, gallons or ounces are.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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 Posted 05/11/2010  09:43 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add pls to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ah, Sap ... you're destroying my belief that those down under are smarter than us in the States because their blood supply to their brains is greater ... because they're upside down. What's next? Some kind of half-baked statement that you're all busily at work when we're snoozing?
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 Posted 05/12/2010  1:37 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add delaner to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
However, your numerical conversions (shilling = 0.05, florin = 0.10, 10 shillings = 0.50) were the numbers used when Britain went decimal in 1971; the shilling became 5 new pence, and so forth. So you're not too far wrong in that respect.

Right - I was just trying to show that relative to the pound, they're actually denominations that make sense to even us Americans - just with another name. =) When I think of it that way, it makes a lot more sense to me than trying to remember it the way it is most commonly explained!

I can back up the lack of understanding of the olde system - my friend, in his mid-thirties - who I was trying to discuss this with was unable to explain any of it. He handed the phone to his father who tried to confuse me! ;)
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Australia
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 Posted 01/12/2011  8:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Peter THOMAS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nancy, quote "'bob' & 'quid' are only ever used in the singular form."
well, I wouldn't be dead for quids ...
admittedly, I can't think of any other exceptions.

A 10-pound note was also called a "brick", particularly in the context of betting.

Quicksilver: "What about the threepence? Surely that's a joey?"
a joey was the British name for the fourpence, or groat. Something to do with the name of the politician who moved for their reintroduction in the Victorian era.

Australia never had farthings, groats, half-crowns, nor double-florins.

A confusing aspect was that before decimalization in 1966, "dollar" was the colloquial name for five shillings. But, in 1966, ten old shillings converted to one new dollar. Historically, the coversion rate for the Spanish dollar was 5s, and in 1804 the Bank of England issued overstruck dollar coins bearing the legend "five shillings - one dollar", and in 1813, our Holey dollar was valued at 5s.

SAP: I beleive that for a long lime, sterling and Austrlian pounds were at par. The Oz pound was devalued by 25% at some point, leading to the figure you mention. I think that that devaluation may have occurred in the early 1960s, but I say that without a high degree of confidence.
In 1961, Prime Minister MENZIES promised to "put value back in the pound";
in 1966, Prime Minister MENZIES abolished the pound:
say no more !

Peter
feeling rained-in and cut-off in Ballarat
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 Posted 01/12/2011  8:55 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add bobbyhelmet to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Just to add more mud to the waters we now in the UK often use modern slang to refer to denominations along with the older ones:

Ayrton Senna or just Ayrton - tenner (£10) - cockney rhyming slang created in the 90s relating to Brazilian Formula One driver.

Deep sea diver - fiver (£5) - again cockney and 90s, and I think its because the fiver used to be deep blue and green. Bizarrely still sometimes shortened to diver!

Bags of sand - grand (£1000s) - again cockney, five bags of sand = £5000.

Archer - £2000 - the amount Jeffrey Archer MP tried to bribe a call girl with.

Lots of people know what these are now, all of the above were commonplace in my last job.

Many more here (about 1/2 way down the page):

http://www.businessballs.com/moneyslanghistory.htm

Where I live people (not many) even say 'a badger' for £30. No idea where this came from or what it means.

New Member
Australia
2 Posts
 Posted 01/16/2011  03:37 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ford to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

What was not mentioned was the silver threepence[the only threepence] , was known as a trey. [pronounced tray].


ford.
Formerly nancyc
Australia
5192 Posts
 Posted 01/17/2011  01:23 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Nevol to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
What was not mentioned was the silver threepence[the only threepence] , was known as a trey. [pronounced tray].


It's up there in one of my posts. You musta missed it.
life is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved
New Member
Australia
2 Posts
 Posted 01/17/2011  02:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ford to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Sorry NANCY,

Did not mean to steal your thunder.

Ford.
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