To view this media, you will require Adobe Flash 9 or higher and must have Javascript enabled.

Duration 01:00

Decimal Currency – The System

February 15 1971 marked the official date the United Kingdom decimalised from its historic pounds, shillings and pence to the new system of 100 new pence to the pound.

Known as Decimalisation, Decimal or simply ‘D’ Day, it ended the centuries old tradition of using 12 pence to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound. Although work on the new system began in earnest in March 1966, new coins were gradually phased in up to D-day in 1971.

In April 1968 the first of the new coins, the five and ten new pence, were introduced with equal value to the old shilling and florin coins respectively. A year later the new 50 pence coin was released, replacing the ten-shilling note. The remaining decimal coins – the one, two and halfpenny coins – were all introduced on 15 February 1971.

The introduction of the halfpenny was only a short-term measure to slow potential inflation as the decimalised new penny, equal to 2.4 old pence, was introduced. Whilst banks never accepted transactions involving the odd halfpenny their production was felt necessary, despite the considerable cost of minting them. In December 1984 halfpenny coins were withdrawn.


The new decimal money will be with us on D-Day – Decimal Day – the 15th of February 1971.

The pound will be divided up into a hundred new pence.

And we’ll do our decimal shopping in pounds and new pence only.

Here are the new coins – 6 of them.

Then 3 silver ones are already in use.

The 50 new pence – equal to 10 shillings.

Then 10 new pence – equal to 2 shillings.

And the 5 new pence – equal to 1 shilling.

The 3 copper coins will be introduced on D-Day.

The 2 new pence, the new penny and the new half penny.

Remember: the pound stays the same.

Only the coins which make up the pound are changing.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We will not be able to respond to personal family history research questions on this platform.
See our moderation policy for more details.