Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Osborne gives us the threepenny bits

Pic source: BBC
The proposed new-style pound coin is publicised on the day of UK Chancellor George Osborne's Budget speech to Parliament.

The 12-sided design resembles the pre-decimal brass threepenny piece first issued in the reign of Edward VIII. The resemblance is more than physical, as we shall see.

Before 1937, threepence coins had always been based on silver, but the silver content reduced over the years and the coin eventually became inconveniently small. Why? Inflation, the curse of the twentieth century.

This year marks the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War of 1914-18. The Daily Mail's purchasing power calculator shows that one pound in 1915 was equivalent to £87 today. Coincidentally, under the old coinage system, there were 240 pence to the pound, or 80 "thrupenny bits". So a modern pound coin is worth much the same as a WWI threepenny bit.

The Chancellor introduced his Budget with the words, "Our country still borrows too much. We still don’t invest enough, export enough or save enough. So today we do more to put that right. This is a Budget for building a resilient economy. If you’re a maker, a doer or a saver: this Budget is for you. "

Actually, it's still not one for savers. I'm on Day 647 of my attempts to get my MP to ask questions in Parliament about NS&I Index-Linked Savings Certificates. All I've had so far is substandard, ill-informed guff in written answers from three different Treasury ministers (see right-hand sidebar on the Money blog).

In Cockney rhyming slang, the "threepenny bits" stands for "the shits". Funny how all these things link up.


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Pavlov's Cat said...

In Cockney rhyming slang, the "threepenny bits" stands for "the shits".

Not in this manor squire "threepenny bits" pronounced Thrup-knee bits has always meant Tits

"As in Cor Blimey look at the thrup-knees on that"

Sackerson said...

Nah, those are Bristols. My Dad was born witin the sound of Bow bells, so there.

In the Midlands I've heard of them as lallies.

Paddington said...

Sutton and Cheam is within reach of Bow Bells?

I suppose that now they'll be an updated opera, 'The two-pound opera'

Sackerson said...

What I was told. Born in the borough of Lambeth, which stretches up to the Thames. In 1926 on a Sunday morning you'd have heard them.