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Money and Coinage
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Paper money did not yet exist, so cash is all coins. One could get credit at shops, which was often more common than cash transations. The larger part of one's money would be kept with a jeweler or a goldsmith, or of course a moneylender, although people often had a strong box of coins at home.
A variety of goldsmiths can be found in Lombard Street, London.
The denominations are pounds, shillings, and pence.
- 12 pence make a shilling
- 20 shillings make a pound
In writing, the abbreviation for:
- penny is d
- shilling is s
- pound is £
Coins in Use
- Farthing = quarter of a penny
- Halfpenny or 'ha'penny' = half a penny
- Penny Piece = one penny
- Tuppenny Piece or 'Tuppence' = two pence
- Thruppenny Piece or 'Thruppence' = Three pence
- Groat or 'fuppence' = four pence
- Sixpenny Piece or 'sixpence' = six pence
- Florin = two shillings
- Half Crown = two shillings and six pence
- Double Florin = four shillings
- Crown = five shillings
- Guinea = one pound and one shilling
Spending Money: 17th century vs. 21st century
See Also Wealth Level
Money bought more in those days. Do not just substitute pounds for dollars. Try using shillings, or even pennies, depending on the item.
For estimating the monetary value of an item or service, a useful rule of thumb can be “x 75”. The UK National Archives has this useful converstion tool, although our prices can and do vary. Our game has an economy of its own, so moderators have the final say on actual values.
Twenty pounds for a pair of gloves is highway robbery. But 20 shillings for a pair of gloves doesn't sound so bad, at least theoretically speaking. For smaller items, like food and drink, use pennies. A penny or two for a beer is about right, where 2 pounds or even 2 shillings is unthinkable. For the most part, we do not worry about keeping track of such small amounts.
Tip a household-type servant no more than a few pence. Remember, he only makes £3-6 per year! (Note: that such a tip is called a vail.) A common vail is about 1d.
If you're buying information or a favour from anybody, other than a servant, use gifts instead of money. For servants--use money!