Sunday, 5 October 2014

Museums and Objects

In museums you get used to old objects lying around.  Penny farthings, looms, Roman vases and occasional old members of staff asleep in back offices.  The shop therefore attempts to stock goods that will sell and reflect the aspects of history that are the main reason for the museums existence and this is always a good thing.  However, and I am not one to grumble as you know, when you look at the imitation Trench Whistle, the key ring made from a pretend bullet and a cut out castle you do not wish to see a copy of a shilling (priced at £2.40) that once formed part of your everyday experience!
We now sell part of my past as HISTORY!
Now I may be on a pension, I may remember Black & White television and steam engines form a fond memory for me but to place my youth into a museum is not acceptable I say.  Lets face it I only look 25, my mind tells me I am 15 and while my body insinuates I am 87 it should not be believed, though it might make a noise tomorrow when I restart the exercise programme!
The shilling, which today equals five pence, has been around for hundreds of years.  Back in Anglo Saxon times, that covers the lower half of England today, a shilling of twelve pence was the price of a sheep. What you got for the money and what you did with it was not recorded.  No actual shilling coin was around until the late fourteen hundreds when a coin called a 'testoon' appeared.  No I don't know why either, but in the fifteen forties Edward VI issued a coin called a shilling and put the date on it. Whether he made them by hand himself or employed a lackey I have not bothered to check, but I suspect he counted them all just in case, Kings were like that.  Since then shillings as such, worth twelve pence, were in circulation right up to decimialisation in 1970 (or was it 71?). Not only but as they were worth five pence they continued until the early 1980's before being finally replaced by the five pence coin. Today smaller five pences carry on the tradition of lining the pockets of the rich and falling down the back of couches or filling children's piggy banks.  
The designs have changed constantly over the years, however it was only George VI who bothered to ensure some shillings had a design on the back representing Scotland, only England had mattered before, but you will guess that.  He of course married a Scot.  Today Lizzie still sits on all these coins while the designs today have a modern absurd appearance which pleases the daft folks.  
Strange to say that often when discussing prices I fall back onto shillings.  If something is a mere 80 pence I might refer to it as sixteen shillings and many a customer acknowledges that is what they were also thinking!  It makes understanding prices much better you know.    



Carol in Cairns said...

My grandma used to put threepences in our Christmas pudding. But I have always been a decimal girl. I think we went decimal in 1966. I was only three, so I wasn't the spending kind at that age. Interesting that they are talking about phasing 5 cent pieces out here. They are just shrapnel. My purse is always full of them and nothing else much mind you.

Carol in Cairns said... you might enjoy this piece of history Adullaman.

Jenny Woolf said...

Terrifying to think that 80p is sixteen shillings which is a very reasonable sum of money with which you can buy ....well all the usual, a fish and chip supper, a night at the theatre, etc. etc.

Lee said...

You just reminded me...I have a pile of old coins here ...they're pretty worthless because I did do a check on the values a few years ago.

I then offered them to a friend for him to give to his young son, but he wasn't interested.

So now I might give them to my nephew's little boy as a gift and set him on the path of coin collecting...or not.

Sometimes people don't appreciate things like that and can be offended....oh well...perhaps I'll hand them in gradually at the supermarket! ;)

Adullamite said...

Carol, Occasionally we got silver threepences in a Xmas pud. Now we get IOUs.
That was an interesting little film. Some folks never got the hang of decimilisation.

Jenny, 80 p does not go far today.

Adullamite said...

Lee, How could you...?
Sell them on e-bay!