As news today reveals that the British government recently considered dropping the 1p and 2p coins from circulation, I am reminded that I grew up in a world where money came in half pennies as well as pennies. Money came in fractions.
Until cash machines started blossoming during the 1980s, getting your hands on actual cash was a procedure. You’d have to go into the actual bank just to check whether you had any money you could take out.
Bye bye, Elizabeth Fry. Today in England and Wales is the last day on which you can spend your paper £5 notes, the ones which bear her image, in shops. From midnight tonight, those notes where you can glimpse the prison reformer reading to prisoners at Newgate will no longer be legal tender.
Ever wondered why the numbers on your credit card are embossed, raised characters rather than just printed on the card? There’s a good reason for that…
Around this time of year, it was once traditional on Stir-up Sunday to put a sixpence in your Christmas pudding as you stirred it. Whoever found the coin in their serving would have good luck for the coming year.
Try doing that now. Unless you have a family heirloom Christmas sixpence.
You could recognise them by their solidity. You could trust them with your money because they weren’t going anywhere. The branches the banks built were meant to last for ever. But then they didn’t.