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"Pound sterling" trivia.

"Pound sterling" trivia.

Old May 7th 2013, 2:49 am
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Default "Pound sterling" trivia.

Once upon a time, the British "Pound" comprised 240 silver "Pennies". The 240 pennies added up to one pound in weight of silver. Originally it was fine silver - .999 fine, or 999 parts in each 1000 parts of pure silver - but eventually it had other metals added to make it stronger, so it would last longer in circulation. This became .925 silver, or 'sterling' silver, which is 925 parts per 1000 of pure silver. (Then Henry VIII got his hands on it and debased it to 33% silver, but let's not go there...)

So, how much was a "Pound Sterling" originally worth?

Taking today's price of physical silver (as opposed to that paper rubbish which is NOT real silver), a Troy ounce of 999 silver is worth anything from $39 to $49, depending on where you get it. Let's average that and call it $44, so Sterling silver is worth $40.70 an ounce, as bullion. (And we won't add VAT, like they do in the UK for even pure silver, let alone Sterling silver.)

There are 31.1 Troy ounces in a kilogram, and there are 2.2 pounds in a kilogram, so there are 14.136 recurring Troy ounces in a pound.

That's $575.35 for a pound of silver. As the present exchange rate is around $1.81, depending on the time of day, that means that the original "Pound" used to have the buying power of GBP317.87.

Aren't numbers fun?!

Last edited by downunderpom; May 7th 2013 at 3:07 am. Reason: Heading off the spelling Nazis
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Old May 7th 2013, 9:49 am
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Default Re: "Pound sterling" trivia.

Interesting reading, just for correctiveness sake there are actually 32.15 troy ounces per kg, and 31.1g per troy ounce.
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Old May 7th 2013, 10:24 am
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Default Re: "Pound sterling" trivia.

Last edited by downunderpom : Today at 3:07 pm. Reason: Heading off the spelling Nazis

Shoulda headed off the maths Nazis!

You are perfectly correct, but, in my own defence, I did do all that from memory. I knew there was 31.1 in there somewhere. So....

With 32.15 Troy ounces in a kilogram, there are 14.61 Troy ounces in a pound. That's $594.77 for a pound of silver. Using $1.81, that means that the original "Pound" used to have the buying power of GBP328.60

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