Wartime Currency In Britain

When we were kids, it was, of course, pre-decimalisation. The currency was:-


The Farthing.

The value of this was so small that even during the war, it became almost obsolete. The last remaining farthing on anything was on a packet of flour! Oh, and an Oxo Cube!


The Halfpenny – always referred to as a ‘Ha’penny’!

Again, so small in value that there wasn’t anything that I can remember costing a ha’penny.


The Penny.(A ‘Copper’!)

An indispensable coin. Even a public toilet would cost you a penny, and a telephone call would require this coin also.


The Threepenny bit – pronounced ‘thruppenny’!

This, to us kids, was THE coin! For thruppence, you could buy 2 ozs of sweets or a packet of Crisps, or even a small cake. Even Sherbert, if you wanted to! Of course, you probably could not actually get any of these things as the shops simply had none!


The Sixpenny Piece.

Only the older kids ever saw one of these. They would buy you a bar of chocolate! Crikey. Living indeed. To go to the cinema – which we did on a Saturday, would cost you 6d for the morning show or 9d for the Evening show – which was where you would find the girls!!! It also cost 6d for a game of snooker at the Newton Churchmens’ Club at the top of Nottage Road.


The Shilling. (A ‘Bob’!)

Well-known in British history, methinks! Simply too much value to be in the possession of us kids, I’m afraid.


The Two Shilling piece, also known as a ‘Florin’. (2 Bob)


The Half Crown usually referred to as ‘Half a Dollar’ as that was the exchange rate at that time. Also called ‘Two and Six’ and written as 2/6d.


The Pound Note.

El Ultimo!! Nothing larger than this was in general circulation, although a very large sized Five pound Note was available. If you did have one of these, you would have to write your name and address on the back of the note when using it!

Update: Bernard points out, quite correctly, about the silver thruppeny piece;

And the ten bob note;

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3 thoughts on “Wartime Currency In Britain

  1. Bernard

    Were there ten bob notes around in the war? I would not have known as I’m a 1942 boy, but I do remember as I got older Aunties (lovely aunties) giving me 10/- notes to put in my money box.
    I also remember the ‘silver’ thruppenny bits. I don’t know if those above are your coins Dicky but I still have loads of mine in a tin upstairs including the silver 3d’s which were ‘cooked’ in the Christmas puddings. To find one was good luck for the next year.
    Loving this series of posts. I’m doing similar but I have only got as far as VE day!

    • dickiebo

      Bernard.
      Yes, the ten bob notes were red in colour. I’m afraid I missed out on them as I have on the wonderful silver 3d piece which, as you correctly point out, were always in the Christmas Pud!!! Probably because they were so small in size!

  2. My that was ‘quick – Dick’! 🙂
    I was just reading a few other of your gems whilst here.
    I believe the 3d’s were used in the puds because they were non hazardous being silver rather than copper alloys. I have about £40 worth of old pre-Elizabeth II coins upstairs. I have no idea what to do with them. A few go back to Victorian days. I suppose someone somewhere would want them.
    Unfortunately, no gold sovereigns or even half-sovereigns! Not real currency I know, but I do remember my Mum having a couple somewhere. Probably sold off to buy us kids new shoes.
    Take care…B

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