Foreign currency in the 1960s

1 peseta coin c1966

In the 1960s foreign exchange rates were fixed, but instead countries adjusted the rates from time to time. In 1967 Harold Wilson devalued the pound sterling against the US dollar from $2.80 to $2.40.

How far did the British pound go in the 1960s?

These are the exchange rates against a number of well-known currencies in 1964.

CountryCurrencyExchange rate (1964)Value in £sd
Australia (*) £A1.2516s
AustriaShilling72.153½d
Belgium/LuxemburgFranc138.61½d
CanadaDollar3.006s 8d
DenmarkKroner19.311s ½d
EgyptEgyptian £1.2216s 5½d
FranceFranc13.681s 5½d
East GermanyOstmark6.223s 2½d
West GermanyDeutsch Mark11.111s 9½d
GreeceDrachma83.53d
HollandGuilder10.042s
IsraelIsraeli £8.402s 4½d
ItalyLira1745less than 1 farthing
JapanYen1001.75¼d
LebanonLebanese £8.622s 4d
NorwayKroner19.971s
South AfricaRand210s
SpainPeseta1671½d
SwedenKroner14.341s 4½d
SwitzerlandFranc12.081s 8d
TurkeyTurkish £25.269½d
USADollar2.7957s 2d
USSRRouble2.527s 11d

Source: Collins Unique Gem Reckoner, revised edition 1964

(*) Australia changed to Dollars in 1966 with one Australian Pound worth two Australian Dollars.

Countries which used the pound

The highest value currency unit in the world was the Sudanese pound which was worth £1 6d. It was divided into 100 piastres or 1000 milliemes. Today 1 Sudanese pound is worth 4p.

Several other countries used the pound as their currency, but did not use shillings and pence. These countries used the same value pound as the UK

  • Ghana - divided into shillings and pence as the UK
  • Cyprus - pound divided into 1000 mils
  • Ireland - divided into shillings and pence as the UK
  • Iraq - pound of 1000 fils
  • Jamaica - divided into shillings and pence as the UK
  • Jordan - pound of 1000 fils
  • Kuwait - pound of 1000 fils
  • Libya - pound of 100 piastres or 1000 milliemes
  • Rhodesia and Nyasaland - divided into shillings and pence as the UK

Source: Whitaker's Almanack, 1964

Other countries used the pound, but with different exchange rates.

  • Australian pound (£A) divided into shillings and pence, but worth 16s
  • New Zealand pound (£NZ) divided into shillings and pence, but worth 19s 10d
  • Lebanese pound divided into 100 piastres, but worth only 2s 3¼d

Source: Whitaker's Almanack, 1964

Lowest value currencies

In 1964 all these currencies were worth less than a UK shilling (12d or 5p in decimal):

CountryCurrencyValue in £sd
ItalyLiraless than less than ¼d
ArgentinaPeso¾d
Persia (Iran)Rial1d
CongoFranc1¼d
SpainPesata1½d
AlbaniaLek1¾d
Belgium/LuxemburgFranc1¾d
IcelandKrona2d
IndonesiaRupiah2d
CambodiaRiel2½d
South VietnamPiastre2½d
GreeceDrachma3d
PortugalEscudo3d
PeruSol3d
AustriaSchilling3¼d
EcuadorSucre4d
ThailandBaht4d
UraguayPeso5¼d
MexicoPeso6d
ParaguayGuarani7d
HungaryForint7¼d
ColumbiaPeso8½d
NepalRupee11¼d
YugoslaviaDinar11½d

Source: Whitaker's Almanack, 1964

Article by Steven Braggs, August 2018

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