Reply to post: Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

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Tim99 Silver badge

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...


I was told nearly 60 years ago at school, that the confusion with the pound weight (lb) and the pound currency (£) may be because they go back to a similar ancient derivations. The old Roman pound ("libra" roughly about 11-12 ounces) and the Saxon coinage of the old penny, a silver coin - 240 of which were made from a pound weight of silver. The shilling (derived from the Roman solidus gold coin weighing 1/72 of a pound) was equivalent to 12 silver pennies. There were 20 shillings in the £ so 12x20=240 is easily divided by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, 24, 30, 40, 48, 60, etc. The penny was divided into smaller coins: 2 ha’pennies (half pennys) and 4 farthings (“fourth things”) so there were 960 of the smallest coins to the £ allowing a wide range of quantities to be costed.

Incidentally that is why small/inexpensive things were sold by the dozen (12) because 12 items at, say, 3 pennies each would cost 3 shillings, and as 12 is also easily divisible by 2, 3, 4 and 6. The seller and the buyer would know that 12 inexpensive items at a farthing each would be 3 pennies etc...

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