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Coin of the Realm

Here is some information about the coins in circulation in England in Sherlock Holmes' day. The three columns on the right show, in decimal form, the relative value of the of the coins.

CoinMetalPounds Shillings Pence
Guinea*Gold1.05 21.00 252.00
SovereignGold1.00 20.00 240.00
CrownGold/Silver0.25 5.00 60.00
FlorinSilver0.10 2.00 24.00
ShillingSilver0.05 1.00 12.00
Six PenceSilver 0.50 6.00
Four PenceSilver 0.33 4.00
Groat*Silver 0.17 2.00
PennyBronze 1.00
Half PennyBronze 0.50
FarthingBronze 0.25

* These coins were not minted in Sherlock Holmes' day, but some were still in circulation.

In 1860 the penny and the half penny were changed from copper to bronze. Many people still referred to them as being copper.

[Printable Verson of Chart]

Some slang terms for money used in the Canon:
  • "Bob" = shilling
  • "Fiver" = five pound note
  • "Tuppence" = 2 pence (not necessarily in the form of one coin)
  • "Quid" = pound
Additional money slang can be found here:

Here are some Victorian coins.

Victorian Coins - Sherlock Holmes
  1. The middle one is a silver Florin dated 1873.
  2. Directly below it is a bronze Half Penny dated 1862.
  3. Proceeding clockwise the next is a bronze Half Penny dated 1839.
  4. A bronze Half Penny dated 1839.
  5. A copper Half penny dated 1834.
  6. Very worn, but the date looks like 1862. Probably a Penny.
  7. A silver Shilling dated 1887.
  8. A bronze Half Penny from 1899.
  9. A copper Half Penny from 1857.
  10. One Cent dated 1872 - minted in New Foundland

©2005 Darlene A. Cypser