Monday, 21 February 2011

Money Talks

Let's you and I talk a little about dosh, quid, and booty! What in the world am I talking about? Cash, of course. There are some major differences in the coinage and the look of the paper (notes, as their called here) money is much different in look and texture. There are nine different denominations of coins: penny, two-pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, pound, and two pound.

Remember back in the late 90's when they were pushing those Sacagawea dollar coins? They actually stuck here in Britain (although they definitely don't have a Native American on the front.. more like.. the Queen). They've done away completely with one pound notes (or bills). It's nice not to have a ton of one dollar bills around, right?

Let's talk about size and value. The British penny is practically identical in size and color to the American penny, it's also worth the same amount 1/100 of the pound (of course this is totally ignoring the current exchange rate with the dollar, but bear with me, it's easier for me to explain it this way..). The two-pence is the size of a quarter and is made of copper, just like the penny and is worth.. you guessed it, two pennies or 2/100 of the pound (I'm just going to stop telling you what it's worth now, you get the idea.) The 5 pence coin looks much like the American dime. It's the same size and color, however, unlike what your brain is telling you, it's not worth 10 pence. The ten pence piece looks very much like the American quarter. It's the same size and color and has the course edging on it. The twenty pence piece is about the size of the American nickle, but it is hexagonal in shape, it's also silver. The fifty pence piece is about the size of an American half-dollar, but it is also hexagonal in shape, and weighs much less than a half-dollar. I will include a picture below of the British coins next to their American counterparts in value order.

Because of the size similarities, but the value difference in coins, it is difficult at first when you're trying to pay with coins. After a while though, you get the hang of it. Next up is the pound notes. I don't have a lot of money to flash around so I can't tell you every denomination that they have in Britain, but the notes that I have encountered are: 5 pound notes, 10 pound notes, 20 pound notes, and 50 pound notes. For demonstration purposes in sizes, I will show you a twenty dollar bill next to a twenty pound note. Each note has a different size and color. The 5 pound note is much smaller than the twenty pound note.

As of today the British Pound is worth 1.6246 USD. That means that your money doesn't go that far when you come here from the States.

I hope this has been helpful and look forward to our next discussion.

- An American in the UK

ps. Thanks to Tom for reminding me about the two pound coin.


  1. nice post! I've grown up in the UK and have always wonderd what American money means and it all looks the same!

    Annest X