If you’ve been keeping up with Change Checker, then you’ll have seen we’ve been counting down to the 50th anniversary of Decimal Day, but if you’re new here and aren’t too sure what Decimal Day was all about, we’ve got you covered with our Top 10 Facts that you should know about Decimalisation!
- For centuries before Decimalisation, Britain’s coinage consisted of pounds, shillings, pence, farthings, crowns, half pennies… the list goes on.
- The decimal debate was first raised in 1847 by Sir John Bowring, who proposed a call for the UK’s currency to be changed to a currency based on units of ten.
- The first decimal coin, the florin, was issued before 1971 but it wasn’t until 1st March 1966 that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, James Callaghan, announced that pounds, shillings and pence would be replaced by a decimal currency, with a hundred units in a pound.
- The changeover was a huge task. Businesses and the general public needed all the necessary information prior to the change, in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. There were nationwide public information campaigns in place, from posters to television broadcasts.
- The changeover was so big, that The Royal Mint’s production capabilities at Tower Hill were not up to the sheer volume of coins required to be produced. So, decimalisation literally drove The Royal Mint to South Wales, where it’s been ever since!
- During the preparations for the changeover, almost six billion coins were struck at The Royal Mint’s site in Wales!
- The new 5p and 10p coins were introduced in 1968 and were the same size and value as the existing one and two shilling coins, to make the transition easier for the British public.
- It was in 1969 that the first seven sided coin – the 50p – was introduced to replace the 10-shilling note as a more economical alternative!
- On Monday 15th February, 1971, the transition was complete and the, 1p and 2p coins were also introduced. The Decimal Halfpenny was also introduced in 1971, but it was eventually demonetised in 1984.
- Since Decimalisation, we’ve seen over 75 50p designs, over 60 different £2 coin designs, and a complete re-design of our £1 coins specification, and of course not forgetting the very first commemorative 10p coins!
So, there you have it! Our top 10 facts about Decimalisation! Have you got any memories of D-Day? Let us know in the comments below!
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