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Old penny

The Use Cash Movement is based in West Sussex, where I hope to persuade some of the locals to back my campaign to bring back the use of cash.

Who remembers the Old Penny (pictured)?  I think I still have a stack of them somewhere.  Big old copper coins that made you feel as though you really had some cash in your pocket.

And of course 1d (that’s how we used to write the old penny) was actually worth something. You could buy an enormous gob-stopper or a large penny chew – or 4 farthing chews.

Yes I’m getting old (though not THAT old!) and sometimes nostalgic for the old £sd – that’s pounds, shillings and pence.  Not the silly little anonymous coins we have these days like the 1p and 2p, but proper meaty coins you could jiggle about in your pockets.

When the UK became decimalised in 1971 “Decimal Day”, somehow inflation seemed to kick in and before long 1p, which was originally worth 2.4d, wasn’t worth a tot.

Funny isn’t it – Decimal Day.  Well it was decimal day for our coinage, but 45 years later we’re still using pints and gallons (except for fuel), and many of us know what a lb is but have to convert kilos to understand them. Then there’s distance. Everyone over the age of 40 still seems to use miles, feet, inches, even if they use metres and centimetres to measure DIY projects.  Oh and not forgetting gold, which is weighed in troy ounces.

It’s a right mish-mash.  But decimilation of our money is well and truly established.

So I’ll be explaining a bit about £sd to you youngsters who’ve never heard of them. And I’ll be delving further back into the history of the UK coinage, maybe even world coinage.

Meanwhile here are a few pictures that might evoke some nostalgia for my older readers.

sixpencegold sovereignthreepenny bit

I have to thank the lovely Qualified Electricians in Horsham who have sponsored my website, so I can tell the story of cash to anyone who wants to find out a bit about the history of money and why we should be using cash more often.