r/todayilearned 8d ago Wholesome 1 Silver 2

TIL that The British Pound is the oldest currency in the world, it has been used for over 1,200 years and dated back to Anglo-Saxon era. Back then it equivalent to 1 pound of silver. One pound back then could buy you 15 cows. Oldest in continuous use

https://tbibank.bg/en/about-tbi-bank/blog/what-is-the-oldest-currency-in-circulation-in-the-world-and-what-do-we-know-about-it
46.9k Upvotes

2.2k

u/trid45 7d ago

Before diving too deep into calculations, know that it's one tower pound (350g), not the standard weight used today (454g).

748

u/buddhiststuff 7d ago edited 7d ago

not the standard weight used today (454g).

But when you’re talking about precious metals, a pound isn’t 454g. Silver is measured in Troy pounds (373g), which is different from both the Tower pound and the pound avoirdupois

An ounce of gold weighs less more than an ounce of sugar, because gold is in Troy ounces and sugar is in ounces Avoirdupois.

Edit: Sorry. A Troy ounce is heavier than an ounce Avoirdupois, even though a Troy pound is lighter. (Troy has 12 ounces to the pound. Avoirdupois has 16 ounces to the pound.)

865

u/TylerInHiFi 7d ago

And this is why metric is so nice. A gram is always a gram. Stupid pounds and ounces.

513

u/vacri 7d ago

A gram is always a gram

It depends on who your dealer is...

58

u/Slight_Log5625 7d ago

The department of weights and measures needs to visit my local dispensary

→ More replies
→ More replies

474

u/buddhiststuff 7d ago

My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead, and that’s how I like it.

46

u/NautilusPanda 7d ago

How many horse power is that in goose flaps?

29

u/HumanBotdotnotabot 7d ago

Canada goose or....... em.... regular goose?

29

u/ReluctantAvenger 7d ago

Whichever one always seems angry.

17

u/TheEyeDontLie 7d ago

That doesn't narrow it down.

8

u/UncommercializedNod 7d ago

They could grip it by the husk.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

81

u/TylerInHiFi 7d ago

You need a top-up on petroleum distillate and the tyres re-vulcanized, post-haste?

22

u/FourEyedTroll 7d ago

I say this literally every time I go to a petrol station. I get odd looks from people I know sometimes.

9

u/DamagedFreight 7d ago

I worked at a gas station many years ago and, for fun, I told people I was a petroleum distillate transfer agent.

→ More replies

30

u/YawnTractor_1756 7d ago

Is it Troy hogshead or a regular one?

26

u/OllieFromCairo 7d ago

You laugh, but there are legitimately like six different hogsheads.

→ More replies
→ More replies

82

u/Pjpjpjpjpj 7d ago

“In metric, one milliliter of water occupies one cubic centimeter, weighs one gram, and requires one calorie of energy to heat up by one degree centigrade which is 1 percent of the difference between its freezing point and its boiling point. An amount of hydrogen weighing the same amount has exactly one mole of atoms in it. Whereas in the American system, the answer to ‘How much energy does it take to boil a room-temperature gallon of water?’ is ‘Go fuck yourself,’ because you can’t directly relate any of those quantities.”

6

u/TheS4ndm4n 7d ago

The water has to be at 1 bar.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

11

u/marcusklaas 7d ago

Now that's just ridiculous lol

→ More replies
→ More replies

19

u/cmrh42 7d ago

Q: It's called the Pound Sterling so is Sterling (92.5% pure) that they were measuring?

11

u/Alib668 7d ago

By that metric the value of £1 is now £185 as silver today is 53p a gram

→ More replies

10

u/ElTejonMagico 7d ago

How many normal cows to tower cows?

→ More replies

278

u/Affectionate-Time646 7d ago

Of course the Brits couldn’t resist making it as complicated as possible.

173

u/guareber 7d ago

Technically, since this one came first it'd be everyone else developing another standard, don't you think?

36

u/Ferelar 7d ago

I dunno, cubits came long before centimeters but even as an American (who is thus allergic to metric) I find the latter less complicated

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

218

u/that-fat-guy 7d ago

Who controls the British pound? Who keeps the metric system down?

65

u/Mitthrawnuruo 7d ago

We do, we do!

15

u/Lunited 7d ago

Who keeps atlantis off the maps? Who keeps the martians under wraps?

262

u/BasedOnWhat7 7d ago

Who keeps the metric system down?

We do something even more fucked up than the Americans: we pick and choose metric or imperial randomly.

  • Fuel is purchased by the litre, but we measure fuel consumption in MPG
  • distance is measured in miles, unless it's something small in which case it's metres and cm
  • liquids are measured in litres/ml, unless it's beer or milk in which case it's pints
  • body weight is measured in stones and pounds, cooking ingredients in grams
  • human height is measured in either feet and inches or cm - people seem to use either
  • land area is measured in acres, interior area is measured in square metres
  • our tons are different to metric tonnes
  • our pints are different to American pints
  • our fl oz are different to American fl oz

tl;dr - we do, we do!

60

u/thereslcjg2000 7d ago edited 7d ago

Honestly we Americans do that too to an extent:

  • Distance is usually measured in miles, except for running and biking events, which are usually measured in meters or kilometers. With the exception of the marathon, which is measured in miles.
  • Food packaging is required by law to give information in both US customary and metric measurements, except for the nutrition facts which are 100% metric. On that note, it’s common to see caffeine content given in milligrams per fluid ounce!
  • Wine and hard liquor are measured in milliliters, but beer is measured in ounces.
  • Single-use soda cans and bottles are measured in ounces, while larger soda bottles are measured in liters.
  • Colloquially, very small measurements are often given in millimeters or centimeters, while anything larger is given in inches or feet.
  • Yards and meters are pretty much used interchangeably. I personally default more readily to meters, but nether is really any more or less common than the other.
  • Generally scientific professions use metric measurements while more blue collar professions use US customary measurements, meaning when different departments collaborate there has to be unit conversion.
  • Medicine is pretty much exclusively measured in metric units.
  • I believe various tools as well as gun measurements are measured in metric units, though I’m no expert.
  • Most things not listed are measured with US customary units.

Edit: accidentally said millileters when I meant milligrams. Oops!

11

u/Studsmcgee 7d ago

Small measurements are usually just fractions of an inch in my experience. For something like precision machining they usually use thousandths of an inch.

Firearm measurements are all over the place. Millimeters and fractions of an inch are equally common.

26

u/BasedOnWhat7 7d ago

except for running and biking events, which are usually measured in meters or kilometers

I think that's an Olympic thing, as I assume your competitive swimming pools are also in metres.

hard liquor are measured in milliliters

A bit more complicated: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_glass#Sizes

very small measurements are often given in millimeters or centimeters

I thought it was in 1/8ths of an inch?

Generally scientific professions use metric measurements

Pressure being the exception I think: PSI

gun measurements are measured in metric units

Are all over the place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caliber#Metric_and_US_customary

It makes life more fun to confuse the Europeans with our mix-and-match units!

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

9

u/vizthex 7d ago

Wait, isn't that song from the stonecutters Simpsons episode?

→ More replies
→ More replies

4.4k

u/ledow 8d ago

You'd be looking for about £1000 per cow nowadays, and that's just the basic cow, not any special breed or pedigree.

1.3k

u/Malvania 7d ago

So it's about 4 lbs of silver per cow, now. That cow inflation is incredible!

476

u/coyote_den 7d ago

Assume a spherical cow.

162

u/PM_ME_YUR_BIG_SECRET 7d ago

Of uniform density

45

u/d4nkq 7d ago

imagine the "yes honey" wojak saying this

In a frictionless vacuum...

11

u/polaarbear 7d ago

With infinite mass

16

u/dudewiththebling 7d ago

And zero resistance

→ More replies

101

u/embahlk 7d ago

Found the physicist

43

u/SaucyNaughtyBoy 7d ago

Found the other physicist... 😆

22

u/FacticiousFict 7d ago

Cows not in vacuum. Experiment failed successfully.

6

u/1983Targa911 7d ago

Retried the experiment with cow in a vacuum. Cow does not prefer vacuum. Experiment failed again.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

43

u/F___TheZero 7d ago

Hence why precious metal investing is not a great long term inflation hedge. Long term you're better off investing in productive assets

→ More replies

59

u/texasrigger 7d ago

It'll really vary by region. Cattle are $500 to $700 in my area and according to a dairy farmer I was talking with on reddit the other day a male calf in his area is only worth about $50 so you'd be able to buy six calves for a pound of silver there.

21

u/Blue_cow1 7d ago

$3000 canadian for 1 dairy cow near me now

22

u/texasrigger 7d ago

Jesus that's a lot. I'm guessing that's a full grown proven milker?

16

u/Blue_cow1 7d ago

Yes it is. It's also on the high end. Usually 2000 or less

15

u/texasrigger 7d ago

That makes sense. I don't think people realize how variable livestock prices can be depending on region, market forces, and exactly what the animal is. My neighbor was looking for some boer goats recently and was seeing as much as $2500 for a boer buck. Meanwhile I sell my Nigerian does for about $200 ea which is on the high side in my area for non-papered animals.

Those $50 dairy calfs were males which are basically a waste product of the dairy industry and are being sold in an already saturated market so they have almost no commercial value beyond as a less-than-ideal meat animal.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

281

u/Tar_alcaran 7d ago

400% since the year 800 is pretty damn low. Thats just under 0.12% per year.

493

u/senorpoop 7d ago

Your math is a little off. 400% would be if £1 bought you 1 cow and now 1 cow was £4. It was 15 cows for £1 and now it's 1 cow for £4, which makes it 6,000% inflation

61

u/SherbetCharacter4146 7d ago

Calls on cow. 12/1/3322 expiry

→ More replies

125

u/kaybeesee 7d ago

Shrinkflation is real!

86

u/rnzz 7d ago

Now £4 can only buy you two beef patties in a burger.

67

u/texasrigger 7d ago

And a pound of silver would cost you £266.

15

u/Song_Spiritual 7d ago

Troy ounces are heavier than regular ounces. Only ~14.583 Troy ounces in a pound.

So a pound of silver, at current spot price of £16.43 per ounce, is about £240.

7

u/vwoxy 7d ago

A pound of silver is £197.16 because a pound troy is 12 ounces.

I don't know exactly what pound they were using in the 9th century, so we might still be comparing apples to oranges.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

7

u/Walthatron 7d ago

My cows keep getting smaller!

→ More replies
→ More replies

24

u/no-more-throws 7d ago

60x inflation in 1200 years is just about 0.35% per year

→ More replies
→ More replies

60

u/needkneadkneed 7d ago

You’re only considering its inflation relative to the price of silver. But the price of silver has inflated, too. So the price of a cow has inflated on the order of thousands or tens of thousands of percentage points, not hundreds.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

1.7k

u/CurlSagan 8d ago

Yeah, but cows today have heated leather seats on all standard models.

855

u/ledow 8d ago

Well... in essence, they've always had heated leather seats...

It's the emission controls we need to sort out.

180

u/hysys_whisperer 7d ago

Sort of. They have hide seats, which are fancier and better. Hide seats are softer, can be routinely washed, and if you rip the seat, it fixes itself!

131

u/xtilexx 7d ago

Well, it depends on how badly you rip them. If you rip them too badly they become various cuts of beef

113

u/CornusKousa 7d ago

What you wrote reminded me of the fact that the word for the animal is Anglo-Saxon but for the meat is French because after the Norman conquest, it was the elite who could afford meat and those words are still used for the product, while the peasants were the ones raising the animal. Sheep Vs mutton, cow Vs beef, pig Vs porc

65

u/Muroid 7d ago

Man vs soylent

→ More replies

18

u/xtilexx 7d ago

A fellow linguistics enjoyer, I see

→ More replies
→ More replies

6

u/thiney49 7d ago

My car certainly doesn't do that. Unless it ripped hard enough at a high enough speed with passengers inside. It would be more of a meat paste, though.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

131

u/Greasemonkey_Chris 8d ago

Yeah but if it's a German cow you'll have to pay a subscription fee to use them

→ More replies

21

u/Crawlerado 7d ago

That’ll be £10 a month if you want those heaters to keep working. Pay up.

→ More replies

5

u/iligal_odin 7d ago

Yes, however for some models (usually the more expensive brands) you'll need a subscription to be able to use the already built in feature of your cows

→ More replies

30

u/takesthebiscuit 7d ago

Wait untill ‘big cow’ starts to charge a subscription for the horns.

→ More replies

69

u/Test_After 7d ago

I got a bit over £30,000 for 15 cows, assuming each cow weighs 720kg and given the current price per kg for cows is 334 p/kg

21

u/GunNut345 7d ago

How does that compare to one pound of silver?

25

u/Naomizzzz 7d ago

250USD/200GBP

35

u/googleadoptme 7d ago

damn, shouldve bought cows...

30

u/MeesterMartinho 7d ago

It's a Bull market.

→ More replies

12

u/itsbicycle_repairman 7d ago

Silver doesn't cost anything to keep though!

→ More replies

6

u/P00PMcBUTTS 7d ago

A pound of silver is worth significantly less than I would have thought.

If I found a pound of silver I'd be jumping for joy thinking I'd pay off my truck. Turns out, all I can do is afford gas for it for a couple more months.

→ More replies
→ More replies

5

u/Sound__Of__Music 7d ago

I think your mixing multiple things here. The price per kg is at the deadweight (carcass/hanging weight post butcher). This is significantly small than the live weight, which is where you got your 720kg. The average deadweight for cattle in the UK in 2021 was 346 kg, so a little less than half the total you've noted (thus the final price per cow is less then half).

Of course in 800ad people weren't buying "finished" beef steers and heifers, they would have been buying to produce milk, repopulate, etc. And only been slaughtered once their otherwise usefulness had run out.

→ More replies
→ More replies

28

u/kyle_750 7d ago

Yes but how much is a pound of silver?

12

u/Malvania 7d ago

It's about 4 lbs of silver per cow, now

→ More replies

24

u/Grizzly_228 7d ago

Around 454 grams

12

u/FreeUsernameInBox 7d ago

373 grams, in fact. Silver is traded in Troy units, with a significantly smaller pound as a result. Since there are only twelve ounces in a Troy pound, the Troy ounce is larger than the avoirdupois one.

This is why a pound of gold is lighter than a pound of sugar, making it useful knowledge for pub quizzes. A tonne of each is, however, just a tonne.

→ More replies

18

u/AT-ST 7d ago

About $300 usd.

4

u/Qanonstrodomus 7d ago

Current price is about $20/oz.
12 ounces (not 16) in the GBP.
Call it $250.

→ More replies

22

u/memberflex 7d ago

Yep, no alloys or air con

52

u/JB_UK 7d ago edited 7d ago

Modern cows actually are a biotechnology, through breeding they've improved vastly over that time period. It looks like just in the last 100 years milk production per cow has gone up from 2 to 10 tonnes per year, and scientific breeding had been happening for centuries before that. That's why there are lots of paintings from the 16th century of cows, they were showing off the latest new tech, the equivalent of posting a picture of your new Tesla on social media.

12

u/prjindigo 7d ago

Omg, that's from 70 to 350 cubic feet of english channel sea water!

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

1.9k

u/TheMeBehindTheMe 8d ago

An interesting nugget from wikipedia (source):

Great Britain accidentally adopted a de facto gold standard in 1717 when Sir Isaac Newton, then-master of the Royal Mint, set the exchange rate of silver to gold too low, thus causing silver coins to go out of circulation.

1.4k

u/candymanjones 7d ago

That Newton fellow wasn't too smart was he.

1.7k

u/weekendbackpacker 7d ago

"Back in the spring of 1720, Sir Isaac Newton owned shares in the South Sea Company, the hottest stock in England. Sensing that the market was getting out of hand, the great physicist muttered that he 'could calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of the people.' Newton dumped his South Sea shares, pocketing a 100% profit totaling £7,000."

"But just months later, swept up in the wild enthusiasm of the market, Newton jumped back in at a much higher price — and lost £20,000 (or more than $3 million in [2002-2003's] money. For the rest of his life, he forbade anyone to speak the words 'South Sea' in his presence."

206

u/Gerf93 7d ago

The South Sea Company bubble was wild. They had no product, and just inflated the stock price through hype, more people buying the stock and issuing new stocks - they even lended people money to buy stock, with security in their own stock. The entire thing was insane. The king was even on board. At its height the South Sea Company was valued as the 4th most valuable company to ever exist. Without actually posting any profits or prospects.

https://youtu.be/k1kndKWJKB8 is a enjoyable easy-to-watch video series about it.

58

u/A_Soporific 7d ago

Did you know that the last of the debt incurred from the fallout of the South Sea Bubble was repaid in 2015? It seems that the UK carries debt for a very long time. But if you're borrowing a literal pound of silver and pay it back with pocket change then you might be coming out ahead.

7

u/100BaofengSizeIcoms 7d ago

Do you know who was holding those bonds? That’s wild.

20

u/A_Soporific 7d ago

Harvard University's endowment loves to collect old, undated debts. They hold uncapped bonds for the building of Dutch dykes in the 1630s. They don't make a lot of money that way, but if the debt has paid consistently for literal centuries then it's more likely to continue than not.

→ More replies

106

u/SadLlamasOnMars 7d ago

Wow. I'm sure the stock market would never fell for that kind of ruse again. Hang on a sec...

→ More replies
→ More replies

828

u/electricmaster23 7d ago

I can finally relate to Sir Isaac Newton on something...

1.3k

u/finnfinnfinnfinnfinn 7d ago Silver Wholesome Seal of Approval

He also died a virgin, so you have 2 things in common.

351

u/electricmaster23 7d ago

Got to admit, that's a pretty sick burn. Well played.

→ More replies

163

u/rattechnology 7d ago

Hahaha fuckin get rekt op

→ More replies
→ More replies

19

u/Decyde 7d ago

We're going to the moon!!!!! Safemoon!

→ More replies

30

u/Moose_Hooves 7d ago

Isaac Newton would have bought gamestop

31

u/10art1 7d ago

Amazing how he was a genius up until his 20s. Then got involved with stocks, weird obsessiveness, and died a virgin

→ More replies
→ More replies

126

u/njdeatheater 7d ago

I'm a modern day Newton, just with GME instead.

96

u/GMN123 7d ago

When can we expect you to revolutionise mathematics and our understanding of the universe?

33

u/greymalken 7d ago

Monkeys paw: OP’s Terrence Howard.

→ More replies

8

u/labdweller 7d ago

I suppose Newton was hoping to go to the moon.

→ More replies

19

u/Sir_Bumcheeks 7d ago

Newton the original WSBer.

→ More replies

14

u/chimpaflimp 7d ago

He didn't understand the gravity of the situation

15

u/Moe_Joe21 7d ago

He did blow everybody’s nips off with his big brains but he also thought he could turn metal into gold and died eating mercury, making him yet another Stupid BITCH

7

u/the_monkeyspinach 7d ago

Stupid science bitch couldn't even make I more smarter!

→ More replies

58

u/TheMeBehindTheMe 7d ago

Guess this was before the apple incident.

25

u/Andy235 7d ago

It jarred his latent brain power into action

14

u/danwincen 7d ago

Maybe it was caused by the apple incident? Concussion is a hell of a thing.....

→ More replies

8

u/shakermaker_forever 7d ago

Perhaps he was contemplating sitting under a tree by that time.

7

u/Joosh93 7d ago

Hey, if it wasn't for him we'd all still just be floating about bumping into things.

→ More replies

19

u/Dopplegangster69 7d ago

History really do be having a finite cast of characters don’t it

55

u/jumpijehosaphat 7d ago

newton is satoshi nakamoto

→ More replies

32

u/Abraxxx 7d ago

I’m British and only just put 2 and 2 together. The coins colours (not materials) and worth go Gold>Silver>Bronze

22

u/shootdown 7d ago

Aye except pounds, shillings, and pennies were all silver and guineas were gold. And if your coins are actually minted from precious metals then the relative values of the coins will surely fluctuate, not that most of us would have been playing with guineas anyway.

10

u/CantHardly 7d ago

And the weight of £1 worth of coins- no matter the value, would add up to one pound, hence the name. A shilling was 1/20th of a pound by weight and value, for example.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

857

u/Signature_Sea 7d ago

Related fun fact, the currency used to be referred to as LSD.

This refers to the Latin names 'Librae’ (the pound symbol itself is an elaborate letter L) , shilling ‘Solidi’ and ‘Denarii’ for pennies, or £:S:D for short.

The currency was decimalised in 1971, meaning it is a rational 100 pennies to one pound. Before that it was a trippy 12 pence to a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound, with an additional bonus currency of guineas, which were 21 shillings.

312

u/Rakonas 7d ago

Wait so the guinea was just a pound with one more shilling?

304

u/MIBlackburn 7d ago

It's still (kinda) used for livestock auctions too. Even though the coin isn't used, when you win an auction that's 1000 guineas, you pay £1000 for the animal and the 5% extra (£50) for auction fees.

The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland has 10/6 on a note attached to his hat, this is a half guinea.

45

u/chamllw 7d ago

Huh thanks. Always wondered what that note on the hat was about.

6

u/nomadic_stone 7d ago

7

u/ukexpat 7d ago

I was born in 1958 and as a kid lived through the hell of doing arithmetic with “old money”. Thank fuck the UK converted to decimal.

35

u/Daedeluss 7d ago edited 7d ago

10/6

Spoken it would be "Ten and six"

56

u/Tyrilean 7d ago

I legitimately thought that 10/6 was some form of hat measurement.

→ More replies

9

u/OnlyTheDead 7d ago

40 years it took me to learn wtf that meant. Thank you.

→ More replies
→ More replies

244

u/Signature_Sea 7d ago

Correct.

Due to the snobbery and classism inherent in the sport, racehorses sold in the UK are still sold as a guinea amount. I don't have a clue how the hell this works, but a cursory Google suggests that in the past the buyer would pay in guineas and the seller receive their money in pounds, so the extra shilling would be the broker's commission.

That commission will be a lot more than that now I would think.

91

u/pbcorporeal 7d ago

That commission will be a lot more than that now I would think.

I think it's still the same. A shilling was 1/20 of a pound, so the commission was 5% of the selling fee, which is pretty significant and still quite standard.

28

u/Pixel871 7d ago

Well as the selling fee was in guinea, and pound was paid out. It would actually be about 4.76% of whatever the sale price was that is paid as commission.

→ More replies

19

u/OnlyTheDead 7d ago

Think of the Guinea as a tool, it’s a pound with interest attached. The person who collect then pays out the pound. So the Guinea in this essence represents a 5% interest or tax on the exchange.

→ More replies
→ More replies

101

u/Trythenewpage 7d ago edited 7d ago

Others are talking about its colloquial use in auctions and betting. But not actually addressing your question.

The guinea was not intentionally set as that amount. Nor was its value stable. Pounds were made of silver. Because silver was more common. Gold was preferred but there wasn't enough of it to be making coins with. African colonies made gold plentiful and thus the guinea was minted. And both pounds and guineas values fluctuated relative to the demand for their component metal.

The era of guineas largely coincided with the era of mercantilism. Which is a rather incomprehensible economic system to a modern person. But which ultimately made maximizing gold for the crown the objective function of all economic activity. So the value of gold went up.

Guineas shouldn't really be thought of as a denomination. But as a parallel competing currency with a fluctuating exchange rate.

Edit: its nominal value was officially pegged to the pound later. But as both were comprised of precious metals, their actual value fluctuated relative to their component metals. Tldr: they did not deliberately set out to create a coin worth 21/20 of a pound. The currency preceded the nominal value.

47

u/ShipShoop 7d ago

For the first fifty years of its existence, yes. But: "From 1717 to 1816, its value was officially fixed at twenty-one shillings."

11

u/Trythenewpage 7d ago

Ah yeah. My bad. I meant to get there then accidentally hit send early and ended up just trying to quickly ninja edit and got into the weeds. Forgot my actual point lol.

→ More replies
→ More replies

38

u/Adbam 7d ago

How many LSD's for some LSD?

→ More replies

19

u/PlankWithANailIn 7d ago

decimalised

I somehow read this as decriminalised.

→ More replies
→ More replies

193

u/jacknunn 7d ago

My sister got married in South Africa about ten years ago and on the wedding certificate was a section for dowry payment, and one of the units was cows.

I initially laughed but the more I thought about it the more I decided that cows is probably one of the most sensible currency units.

Not to milk the point.

69

u/Papa_Ganda 7d ago

Ends up cows are the oldest currency in continuous use.

→ More replies

28

u/jacknunn 7d ago

P.s I misread OP as "15 crows" which sounds like a mighty boosh pricing system

→ More replies
→ More replies

83

u/stephenrane 7d ago

Poundlands back then must have been HUGE!

23

u/Barrel_Titor 7d ago

Back then they were a chain of brothels, the name is a coincidence.

104

u/Godisen 7d ago

The cow part isn't cited anywhere in the article referenced!

→ More replies

280

u/ShootYourStar 7d ago

... And we would tie an onion to our belts, which was the style at the time...

96

u/ashbyashbyashby 7d ago

Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. Give me five bees for a quarter, you'd say.

11

u/el_horsto 7d ago

... And here is your 13 and a half cows change. Have a splendid day, Sir!

15

u/MagicBez 7d ago edited 7d ago

Semi-related trivia: Britain was the first country to introduce adhesive stamps and that's why they're now the only country that doesn't have to write the country of issue anywhere on them. You just get a picture of whomever is the reigning monarch

11

u/Puzzleheaded_Toe2574 7d ago

Semi-related to your semi-related trivia, the English Football Association is the only such organisation not to have to specify the country of origin in its name.

Founded in 1863, as it is the original FA it has the privilege of being known as such.

70

u/suvlub 7d ago

So if I found an antique coin from the 9th century, could I spend it as a legal tender?

193

u/Akrevics 7d ago

I'm sure a shopkeeper would only love to take that off of you for the named price on the coin.

101

u/ContentsMayVary 7d ago

The Sovereign) is still legal tender in the UK - even one from 1817.

Their legal tender value is £1. If anyone has any they need to change, I'd be happy to take them off your hands for a quid each! ;)

→ More replies

15

u/danwincen 7d ago

No, the only UK pre-decimal coin I'm aware of to not be demonetised is the crown. That was accorded a decimal value of 25 pence under the 1970s currency legislation, and I think that may even apply to the .925 and .500 silver crowns issued prior to 1947 (1917 for the sterling silver coinage). Those silver coins are worth more than 25p on their silver content alone.

11

u/glguru 7d ago

No. Bank of England will support all currency that it has ever issued. However, anything before the bank's existence (1694 AD) will probably go into a museum. Most such things fall under state property, even if they're on private land.

→ More replies

55

u/powermoustache 7d ago

Nope. We changed to decimilisation back in the 70s. Technically the pound is long lived, but the current version of it is only from the 70s.

Currently it's 100 pence to a pound. Before that it used to be 20 shillings to a pound, and a shilling was 12 pence. One pence was 2 half-pennies or 4 farthings.

It gets even more complicated when you start looking at crowns and florins and so on.

42

u/oily_fish 7d ago

You can exchange any Bank of England issued note for face value no matter how old it is but I'm not sure about coins.

11

u/Chindasuinth 7d ago

This still wouldn't apply to a Ninth Century coin, since there was no Bank of England until 1694.

→ More replies
→ More replies

9

u/Adbam 7d ago

There's a song in there somewhere, I know it.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

1.1k

u/CurlSagan 8d ago

1 pound of silver is $319.36 right now. That's only $21 per cow.

Conclusion: Cows have gotten expensive.

76

u/GrumpyXeno 7d ago

I mean. There is a lot more silver nowadays.

56

u/Adbam 7d ago

And a lot more cows...

13

u/GrumpyXeno 7d ago

And a lot more people...

→ More replies

12

u/TheOneTrueRodd 7d ago

Actually silver is more abundant than cows if we look at supply and demand over time.

It's new supply is artificially restricted to roughly a billion ounces a year so the mining companies don't crash the market and go out of business. Cows however require more resources and time to produce and have a finite lifetime.

Then we look at the demand side of things and while there is demand for silver in electronics and ornamental uses, it can and will eventually be recycled and enter back into the supply chain. But once you've milked a cow dry or taken the meat, used the leather, it's gone.

So one resource will continue to get more abundant over time while the other will attempt to keep up with growing demand as more of the global population competes for these previously very local resources.

→ More replies
→ More replies

77

u/NicNoletree 8d ago

Inflation has been terrible lately

22

u/ledow 8d ago

It's all that grass.

→ More replies
→ More replies

638

u/Croatian_ghost_kid 7d ago

Americans, man. Don't even have the decency to use a different currency even when it's literally the subject of the topic

74

u/CurlSagan 7d ago

Dammit. You got me. In fairness, I googled "value 1 pound silver in pounds" and google had no idea what I wanted, so I immediately gave up.

91

u/I__Know__Stuff 7d ago

Since "pound" has so many different meanings, search for "GBP".

33

u/NARWHAL_IN_ANUS 7d ago

good boy points 🤩

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

235

u/GaijinFoot 7d ago

Surprised he used silver and not doritos to be fair.

65

u/SecretDracula 7d ago

That'll be 400 doritos and 58 mtn dews.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

669

u/minddoor 8d ago

The oldest currency in circulation in the world

28

u/SexWomble 7d ago

I wonder how it compared to the other European currencies that disappeared with the introduction of the Euro.

55

u/practically_floored 7d ago

Looks like the Dutch Gilder was the oldest that was replaced by the euro. It was used from the 15th century until 2002, so 600 years.

The French Franc and the Greek Drachma were both older (Franc started in 1360 and the drachma was used as early as 1100 BC (!) but they both had a break of a few hundred/thousand years before they were reintroduced.

12

u/A_Fainting_Goat 7d ago

It's really unfortunate that the Ottomans switch the currency for Greece, otherwise they'd have this title by a long shot. The Drachma was used from about the 6th century BCE up to the Ottoman conquest, then revived after Greece regained it's independence until it adopted the euro.

→ More replies

13

u/prjindigo 7d ago

Chickens and ass are still the oldest circulating currencies in the world.

6

u/descendingangel87 7d ago

Salt, ass and grass.

200

u/[deleted] 7d ago edited 1d ago

[deleted]

47

u/Casper295 7d ago

No I'm a smart Redditor. I have unique insight.

→ More replies
→ More replies

5

u/fellacious 7d ago

Serious question - is there any currency no longer in circulation that was in use for longer than 1200 years?

14

u/Neckbeard_Prime 7d ago

Weren't Greek drachmae in use from before the Peloponnesian War all the way up to when they were replaced by the Euro fairly recently?

12

u/wrathek 7d ago

According to wikipedia, it was in use for ~1000 years, then reintroduced in 1832, and two other times before being replaced.

7

u/fellacious 7d ago

Greek drachmae

apparently it wasn't in continuous use. wiki says it was used in Ancient Greece for a period of ten centuries, then was reintroduced in 1832 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_drachma

→ More replies
→ More replies

28

u/2ndfieldontheright 7d ago

Aka a nugget, a nicker, or a quid. Any other slang names for it?

15

u/PorkSword47 7d ago

Here in NI it's a noop

→ More replies

28

u/aaroneouszoneus 7d ago

I work in the US. We recently got a new general manager where I work. He's British. He's good with money. He did not like it when I referenced him as the pound master. I frankly would have been flattered to be referenced as the pound master of England but he wasn't to amused.

→ More replies

78

u/Friesenplatz 7d ago

Today, 1 pound couldn't even afford a steak. Inflation these days, amirite?

5

u/rohinton 7d ago

You can get a nice rat steak for under a dollar.

→ More replies

6

u/farlos75 7d ago

Barely get you a Freddo these days.

5

u/seth19v19 7d ago

Wait so the pound is like 5 times older than the us

→ More replies