This page is for all my British visitors, who being of age may remember some not so distant Bank of England £1 notes, "the ole quid note", that were in circulation during the 1950's through to the late 1980's.
This is when money had real value and not like it is today, where a couple of quid is relatively worthless. Diminished spending power is an understatement, where loose change...even the odd pound now resides in that jam-jar in your home. So that when it has accumulated enough you can go out and spend it in one go, just to end up buying the family a couple of litres of coke and few burgers.
Below is the old Bank of England series A £1 note that was first issued on the 17th June 1948 and ceased to be legal tender on 28th May 1962. It was 151mm long by 85mm wide and was basically designed by W. M. Keesey.
Below is the reverse side. This £1 note had fantastic spending power in 1948, if you had one of these in your pocket then it would have felt as if you owned the world.
Pennies in 1948 had spending power when a bottle of pop was 3 pennies (thrupence), a chocolate bar was 2 pennies (tupence) and you still had 235 pence left to spend!
In old money of course one pence was denoted as 1d as the currency was in L,S,D meaning Libra, Solidus, Denarius from the Roman Empire, or pounds, shillings and pennies. The letter L from Libra is where we get the £ sign from which was basically the letter L with a line through it. Libra meant scales and one pound was literally one pound in gold weighed out.
Of course it does not denote a pound of gold today, but the name is still the same.
Instead of carrying around solid gold, the bank would give you a note to say that you had that amount in gold after you had deposited it at their bank. Well this was the general idea anyway.
Below is a Britannia series C £1 note from around 1970, signed by Jo Page as the chief cashier. At the time this £1 note was in circulation it had real spending power and could buy a pint of beer, a bag of fish and chips, a newspaper, a packet of cigarettes and a box matches and still have change!
When decimalization came in during 1971, these Britannia Pound notes remained in circulation but their value was at the new decimal value of 100 pence to the Pound, there was 240 pence to the 'old' Pound before decimalization...losing 140 pence from every British mans pocket on 15th February 1971.
Date first issued 17th March 1960. Last issued 1978 and ceased to be legal tender 31st May 1979
The size of this note was 151mm long by 72mm wide and was designed by Robert Austin, it was also the first Bank of England £1 note to have upon it a portrait of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. Below is the reverse side of the note showing a picture of Britannia.
In 1975 an imperial gallon of petrol in Britain sold for about 40 pence. (9 pence litre) Today it is around £6.30 a gallon (£1.40 for 1 litre) this is about 16 times more. (updated June 20th 2014) However the pound itself is not worth 16 times more...per sé, manipulated and super hyped up inflation has killed that off!
The last British £1 note design to be in circulation was called the 'Newton' Pound, it made its first appearance around 1978. Below is the last design of £1 note, the series 'D' 'Newton' Pound, with a picture of Sir Isaac Newton on the reverse side.
Date first issued 9th February 1978, Date ceased to be legal tender 11th March 1988. Size 135mm long by 67mm wide, designed by Harry Eccleston.
With the introduction of the £1 coin in 1983, the £1.00 notes days were numbered. The one pound coin was psychologically devaluing the pound to common or garden change in your pocket.
As the value of the pound became less and less, the Bank of England finally withdrew the £1 note in 1988. The £1 coin indeed saw the demise of the Pound note, and the 'folding stuff' in the wallet became fewer and fewer it also meant that the pound was now destined to wear the pocket lining out instead!
Diminished spending power did I say earlier? Well in 1982 beer in a British pub was on average sold at 62p a pint, leaving 38p change from one pound. Whereas today in 2012 you will need £2.38 for just ONE pint.
Just in case you missed my web page about Zimbabwe's Hyper Inflation that happened a few years ago, I also present that page here for your interest.
In January 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced a 100 Trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill. This was a worlds first as the only issued legal tender ever with 14 zeros on it. Sounds absolutely megga impressive, except that this note only had the a value of $30 U.S dollars.
Hyper-Inflation that was crippling Zimbabwe forced banks to produce ridiculously high denomination notes to try to counteract the incredible inflation that was rising by the day.
The introduction of 5 Billion, 50 Billion and 100 Billion Zimbabwe dollar bank notes were a weak attempt to stabilize President Robert Mugabe's floundering country where the inflation rate in January 2009 was at a mere 231,000,000%
Zimbabwe was once a very prosperous African country, but it declined into political upheaval and economical meltdown under the crass ineptitude of power hungry President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe lost the general election in March 2008 but like most people in power, they hate to give it up, for they love the wealth, importance, the grand titles and the perpetual ego boost and don't really give a stuff about the country or the people they are supposed to govern. "...its good to be the president...you can't beat it, you really can't.. "
Robert Mugabe pictured below...having a laugh!
Mugabe simply stated that inflation was illegal, displaying the most blatant portrayal of ignorance of how a country operates that can possibly be imagined. Of course, the prices of everyday commodities continued to soar at a rate of over 4 million % every week.
Another massive and inept blunder was to issue bearer checks rather than regular bank notes, this was meant to control the hyper inflation by limiting the supply of monies that people could withdraw from the bank, as each note had an expiry date.
This is a bad system, one that had actually been proven not to work, indeed it had all be tried before...
...if Mugabe knew anything about history which he obviously didn't, then he would have realized that Germany had gone the same course in 1924 and ended up with complete collapse of their economy as a result.
Expiry dates on bank notes only encourage people to spend recklessly before the money expires and this then accelerates the inflation rate, it doesn't reduce it.
The above image illustrates where a wheel barrow itself was worth more than the mountain of $100,000,000,000 dollar Zimbabwe bills within it. Perhaps he was taking it all home to stoke up the fireplace with.
This became a stark reality for all those unfortunate enough to reside in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. A Zimbabwe Federal Reserve bank note of an awesome 100 billion dollars was at one time worth about $10 U.S Dollars.
Robert Mugabe's Government made an inept revaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar which led to a 10 Billion to 1 dollar deficit and got progressively worse. Rather than put effort into the production of goods for export and the maintenance of services, the bank just produced large quantities of money with no economy to support it.
The inflation climbed as if on a rocket to the moon, with an annual inflation rate of 80,000,000,000%.
To combat this hyper-inflation rate the bank just kept on producing notes of progressively high denominations, but as soon as these notes were distributed they were devalued by the escalating inflation.
Sick as it sounds, these notes are now sold as collectors items for about $19.95 each. Some of the rarer ones are now selling for $100 for a set of consecutive bills. They all feature the Chiremba Balancing Rocks on the front and two vignettes on the back.
On 2nd February 2009 for the 4th time, Zimbabwe revaluated their currency so that the humble $1 Trillion Zimbabwe note was then equivalent to $1 of the new currency.
It was declared on March 26th 2009 that the hyper-inflation had ended with prices in Zimbabwe falling to acceptable levels. According to the United States C.S.O Central Statistical Office, prices of goods over inflation stabilized at around 3%.
The main reason for this is that Mugabe's government recently adopted the U.S dollar as the currency for their country, but with the global credit crunch affecting the once almighty US dollar, it remains to be seen if this idea was as astute as first thought.
Which is why many people and governments at the moment are investing in pure gold, which is now pushing up gold's value which currently stands at $1311 per troy ounce at exchange rate dated June 20th 2014.
Yes I'm an author too and my book about conspiracy theories has no correlation to British currency...or any currency for that matter.