Decimalisation quiz - questions and answers

How much do you know about Britain's decimal currency?

This quiz has two sets of questions: easy and difficult.

Easy questions

  1. In which year did the UK introduce decimal currency?
  2. What were Britain's first decimal coins?
  3. What other country decimalised on exactly the same date?
  4. What happened to £1 notes after decimalisation?
  5. Which old money coins were still legal tender after decimalisation was complete?
  6. How much is a shilling worth in decimal pence?
  7. All the coins had the word 'penny' or pence on the reverse (the side without the Queen's head on it), but what other word was also on the reverse of every coin?
  8. Which of Britain's original decimal coins are still legal tender?
  9. If you arrange the current decimal coins what pattern do they make?
  10. What was D-Day (not the one in 1944)?
  11. Without looking at your change, what was on the decimal penny?
  12. What was the first Crown issued after decimalisation for?
  13. Which old money coin was withdrawn from circulation in 1980?
  14. For what reason did the Royal Mint issue a special 50p in 1973?
  15. Which decimal coins were in circulation before decimalisation?


  1. 1971.
  2. ½p, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 50p.
  3. The Republic of Ireland.
  4. Nothing, they were unaffected by it.
  5. Sixpence, one shilling and two shillings (florin).
  6. Five pence.
  7. New.
  8. One penny and two pence.
  9. The Royal Shield of Arms, as on the original one pound coin.
  10. Decimal Day, the day the UK decimalised.
  11. A portcullis and crown.
  12. The 25th (Silver) Wedding Anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1972.
  13. Sixpence.
  14. Britain joining the EEC.
  15. 5p, 10p and 50p.

Difficult questions

  1. What is a ten bob bit?
  2. On what day did the UK convert to decimal currency?
  3. Who designed the portrait of the Queen on the decimal coins?
  4. Who designed the reverse of all the coins? (The side without the Queen's head)
  5. Which was the first country to introduce decimal currency?
  6. Who was appointed to run the Decimal Currency Board, which oversaw the UK's conversion to decimal?
  7. Australia replaced the UK pound with the Australian dollar worth 100 cents in 1966, but how much was an Australian dollar worth in UK pounds?
  8. The Royal Mint gave people a preview of decimal currency in 1968. You could buy some decimal coins in a wallet. Which coins could you spend immediately?
  9. What was the last year you could spend a ten shilling note?
  10. What was the date on the last normal old money coins minted?
  11. The Post Office issued three decimal stamps ahead of decimalisation in 1970, which were they?
  12. The bank of which country declared the new ½p, 1p and 2p coins to be not legal tender in 1971?
  13. Which old money coins were withdrawn from circulation in August 1971?
  14. One shopkeeper continued to price his goods in pounds, shillings and pence for several years after decimalisation. What line of business was he in? Bonus: Where was the shop?
  15. What happened to cheques written in pounds, shillings and pence after decimalisation?


  1. A fifty pence coin.
  2. Monday 15 February 1971.
  3. Arnold Machin.
  4. Christopher Ironside.
  5. Russia.
  6. Lord Fiske.
  7. Ten shillings (or 50p).
  8. 5p and 10p (there was no 50p in the set).
  9. 1970.
  10. 1967.
  11. 10p, 20p and 50p.
  12. Malta.
  13. Penny and threepence.
  14. Tailor. Bonus: Gorleston-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth.
  15. You could still cash them provided they were dated before 15 February 1971. The banks had conversion tables.

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Richard Duployen
Decimalisation did not go smoothly.Those of us who changed properly have complained about inane mistakes for fifty years or more. Coins were retained from £. s. d.. The new coins were not graded and were heavy. People still confuse the coins because the margin is still too small. The Board did some good but also told lies and gave contradictory advice. The new half-penny was "not temporary". It was. They preferred "pee". Decimal countries don't say that. Abbreviations aren't pronounced like letters unless it's a long expression. We can still say e.g. "British Broadcasting Corporation" if we wish. We need something done as it's a disgrace. Obviously the prosecutions alone aren't good enough. There shouldn't still be a guinea which involves convertion according to 1971-1972 dual pricing. Ignoring the pound (including nines instead of noughts (decimal = tens) (also wrong use of the decimal point pence and parts of a penny instead of the legal pounds and parts of a pound etc.). pound and p are not used together, exception G.B.P.. Much money is lost through minting valueless coins. Russia changed over three hundred years ago. This country is still bothering about paltry amounts. An Austrakian told me recently the cents go 10,20, 30 etc.. Half the U.K. don't know about rounding & are decimally and generally illiterate. I can expand because I'm an expert on this.
Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★