British pound conversion

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this page last updated:: Sun 22 Jul 2018

British pound

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The Pound Sterling is the official currency of the United Kingdom, 9 British territories, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. The pound is made up of 100 pennies and coins are issued in denominations of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2 and £5. Banknotes are available in £5, £10, £20 and £50. Established in the 5th century, the pound sterling is the oldest currency in the world that is still used today.

The Pound Sterling is the third biggest reserve currency at 4%. It is unclear where the name "sterling" comes from. The first mention of "sterilensis" was in 1078 when the shilling was introduced. There are various sources the name could have come from; some early coins depicted stars and starlings, and medieval merchants were known as easterlings, meanwhile the meaning of "ster" in German is strong, reliable or excellent.


Silver pennies were the principal coins in circulation from the 8th century to the 13th century (the anglo Saxon and Norman periods). In 1158 Henry II introduced the Tealby Penny struck from 92.5% silver (today's standard for sterling silver) which was more suitable for everyday use than the softer pure silver. The Pound originated in Anglo-Saxon times when it was a unit equal to 240 silver pennies and one pound weight of silver. Gold coinage was successfully introduced in 1344 with the Noble, and later the Shilling was introduced in 1481, the Pound or Sovereign in 1489, and the Crown in 1526. In 1694 the Bank of England was founded and began to issue banknotes. The gold standard was adopted in 1816. A gold sovereign struck in 22 carat gold was adopted. The UK decimalized its currency in 1971, replacing pounds, shilling and pence with the new pound and new penny.

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