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Decimal Day 1971: How Great Britain Transitioned To Decimalized Money

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 Posted 09/30/2020  2:11 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CCFPress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
PCGS - When the United States government has attempted replacing the Dollar bill with a Dollar coin or hinted at removing the One Cent coin due to its greatly diminished value due to inflation, hysteria invariably ensues. It's nearly as if many among the public believe that the Dollar bill and "penny" are somehow eternally written in the stars of the United States monetary system, never to be eliminated. So, imagine how Britons felt decades ago when, after hundreds of years of the £sd system - that is, "Pounds, Shillings, and Pence" system.

In retrospect, one could say pre-decimal British currency required some extra memorization to get down pat: 12 Pence equal a Shilling, and 20 Shillings (or 240 Pence) was the unitary denomination of a Pound. Cumbersome? Maybe. But it worked - for about 1,000 years! However, monetary decimalization in Great Britain, made official in 1971, was hardly a lightning bolt from the blue. The topic had been considered from time to time by British Parliament since the 1800s, but it wasn't until after World War II in the mid-20th century when the movement gathered steam.

Many of the former British colonies converted from the £sd basis soon after gaining independence; the United States, formerly a British realm, adopted its decimal monetary system of 100 Cents equaling one dollar in 1792. Canada, meanwhile, which still is subject to the British monarchy, has been using a similar Dollar-based decimal system since 1858. In Europe, decimal systems were established as early as 1704 with Russia's use of the Ruble, and in China the decimal system stretches back some two millennia.

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