Decimalisation

Decimalisation

February 15 1971 was known as decimal day. This was the day that the United Kingdom converted its old system of pounds, shillings and pence to the decimal system.

Before 1971, British currency operated on the 'pound (), shilling (s) & pence (d)' system. There were 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound.

The new system, based on multiples of 10, was much more straightforward than the earlier system. The pound (1) was retained but was now divided into 100 pennies (100p) and notes and coins worked in multiples of these.

The old denominations stopped being made after 1967, and the old half-penny and half-crown were withdrawn from circulation in 1969 to help ease the transition. By the time the change to decimal happened, most of the old coins and notes had been taken out of use, although a few remained in circulation alongside the newer coins.

The new 5p coin was the same shape and size as the old shilling and initially the old shilling was accepted in place of the new 5p. The florin was similarly accepted for the new 10p-piece. Since there were 20 5p-pieces in a new pound and 20 shillings in an old pound, it might seem that the two coins had an equivalent value. However, there was no simple translation of value.

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