Dozenal Money

a personal view by Shaun Ferguson

 We had a form of dozenal money - well, the shilling of twelve pence; the numbers were decimal, but the idea dozenal. Our system (£sd) was shared by Europe at one time. Our "pound sterling" was a pound divided into 240 "sterlings", while the Dutch "pound grot" was a pound of 240 "grots"; and the French had the livre, sou and denier, corresponding to the L S and D of our currency. But, like it or not, our currency was decimalised and since 1971 we have had inflation; the 1p looks and feels like a farthing, the 2p like a halfpenny and the rest of the coins are sometimes referred to as Mickey Mouse Money. They all look rather like the coins used abroad when I was young and first travelled to Europe.

What sort of currency system would we have if we also had dozenal numeration? Simple. If the larger unit is U (call it a pound if you like), then it is made up of *100 u where u is the smaller unit. Since it is dozenal we could have an intermediate unit, and perhaps return to

• 1 penny (1d)
• *10d = 1 shilling (s)
• *10s = *100d = 1U

The coins minted could follow the old system: 1d, 3d, 6d, 1s after which I would suggest 3s and 6s - but of course this would depend on the value of the coins. Not much point in dividing £1 into *100u if the 1u is too small to bother with.

 Depending on the value of the £ at a changeover, maybe 10p to 1d might be a good exchange rate, in which case 120p would be equivalent to a shilling. This would imply that the 6s would probably be a banknote (or it could be a coin and take the name "crown" from the old five-shilling crown; with 3s as a new "half-crown"?) At the present time a twenty-pound note doesn't buy much more than a (twenty shilling) pound note used to when I was young. For what it's worth I suggest the name "Sterling" for the upper unit (U) All pie in the sky until we get dozenal instead of decimal...

Up the Revolution!