Significantly improved wages covered the inflating cost of living through a twentieth century. But it made pay days a higher security risk for companies handling and transporting bigger sums of cash through the 1970s. Removing this temptation from any potential highway robbers, was one reasons behind replacing workers wage packets with electronic transferals into bank accounts. Using a cheque book to pay utility bills by post, or expensive shopping trips also seemed safer than carrying a heavy purse or thick wallet, until those cheque guarantee cards transformed into the now familiar and far widely accepted plastic debit and credit cards.
This modern electronic transfer of digits cannot fully replace the ancient exchange of token coins, nor bank note promises readily accepted as money. So both the Royal Mint and Bank of England must be assured of keeping business long into the future. A 2014 limited issue commemorating 100th anniversary of the First World War will also find reason behind why August 1914 brought first issue of the most commonly recognised banknotes. Wartime always created a more urgent need for metals. Remembering these ranged upwards from 10/- shillings inspired a look back to when handling L.s.d., which denoted pounds shillings and pence before 1971 decimalisation.
Except for the keenest numismatics, few could be aware of the vast array eluding common use under title Coins of the UK. And even if your familiar with today's currency, were you aware these existed?
A new Half Penny initially afforded accurate pound conversion from 144d into 100p. Measuring just 17mm made them easily dropped and lost. Difficulty picking them back up didn't seem worth the effort when many often chose not to accept them in change due inflation soon making them almost worthless. Resistance to raising prices lasted until 1984 when demonetising all half pences. Fears of rounding all items up to nearest penny may actually prove unfounded. Frustration since aims at items priced 99p. So there's some small saving from a previously charged 99½p to simply claim its less than one pound.
Two older coins managed to keep up a long tradition upheld by our reigning monarchs handing out Maundy Money. Specially minted in silver just for this annual occasion, the modernised set still includes three and four pence coins. Silver Thru'pences date back from 1551. Lastly 12 sided brass coins were familiar change until 1967 removal from circulation.
Four pence coins known as a Groat date further back through reign of Edward I. These didn't prove as popular and went out of general circulation by the 17th century after favouring a far handier six pence tanner worth half a shilling.
A 25p coin represented decimal equivalent of the rarely seen 5 shilling Crown. It had been issued 4 times between 1971 and 1981 to commemorate significant royal events. Minted from either cupronickel and or just silver, they show no face value but are legal tender if rarely ever recognised. Last one marked a Royal Wedding. Reverse portrays conjoined heads of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Decimilisation didn't alter value of the pound upon which British currency is based, so the existing quid note actually long continued until 1984. Two colour revisions from 1978 both featured Sir Isaac Newton lastly on reverse. Inflation has however, then demanded handier durability of the current coin.
Five pound coins were likewise issued alongside the 25p, and since 1990 they replaced the Crown to continue same size for marking more special occasions almost annually. I once purchased a few from the Post Office on assurance they are legal tender. Banks readily recognised them, unlike most places. Some are expensive proofs, depending on the content of silver and gold, even platinum.