Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuppence Ten pence for your thoughts?

Your humble Devil is, once more, back in London. Having been unable to pay various cheques in (and having had to fork out for various unforeseen expenses in Edinburgh), your humble Devil is a little short of cash for a couple of days.

However, he was delighted to find that he had 48p in 2p and 1p pieces which, accompanied with his 30p in silver, would allow him to buy some milk and cheap noodles. Hoorah!

Alas, it was not to be: the shopkeeper at the local corner shop would take nothing smaller than 10p pieces. Is this allowed? One must imagine so.

It does raise an interesting question, however, and one which I have been considering for some time: are coppers about to become entirely redundant? After all, penny sweets do not really exist anymore and even tuppenny sweets are becoming ever rarer. Inflation did away with the 1/2 penny piece back in the 80s: are pennies and two pennies going to go the same way?

Surely, when it gets to the point when traders will no longer accept the relatively small quantity of coppers that I proffered, this small change has already become—effectively—worthless.

And if traders stop taking coppers as payment, at what point should we stop accepting them in our change?


Daily Referendum said...

We should have a 99p coin along with £4.99 and £9.99 notes etc.

Devil's Kitchen said...

I believe that the Monster Raving Loony Party campaigns for a 99p coin...


Elmer Quigley Gooseburger said...



Coins are legal tender throughout the United Kingdom for the following amounts:

£5 (Crown) - for any amount
£2 - for any amount
£1 - for any amount
50p -for any amount not exceeding £10
25p (Crown) - for any amount not exceeding £10
20p - for any amount not exceeding £10
10p - for any amount not exceeding £5
5p - for any amount not exceeding £5
2p - for any amount not exceeding 20p
1p - for any amount not exceeding 20p


Daily Referendum said...

Yes they do, but it does have a kind of twisted logic.

Tito said...

Elmer Quigley Gooseburger is correct about the legal tender amounts.

Of course, any such limits on what is legal tender is absurd, surely traders are allowed to set their payment methods how they choose.

It does pose an interesting conundrum though. All of our sterling is worthless. In fact, a £20 note has less value than a 50 pence piece. All sterling has the same backing as does Monopoly money, nothing.
The money we trade in is the equivalent of gift vouchers, these gift vouchers used to entitle you to the real money, the gold. But now we are trading in gift vouchers with no gift.
In the words of Ron Paul "Money does not come out of a printing press".

If you could exchange your pennies for something of value, bullion, then the shopkeeper would be eager to accept them. But with more and more coins minted from scrap metals and no commodity backing it is little wonder that our pennies are worth so little.

Vindico said...

The Monster Raving Loonies also campaigned for 24 hour licensing laws!! Funny how these things end up as government policy. I think they should bring back £1 notes. I have so many coins it is amazing.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"The money we trade in is the equivalent of gift vouchers, these gift vouchers used to entitle you to the real money, the gold."

It's not quite as simple as that. Once we came off the gold standard, the money in our pockets ceased to be pegged to the value of gold in our bank vaults.

As I tried to explain, a pound is worth a fraction of the perceived value of our economy. Think of it as dealing shares, i.e. a share of our economy, every day of your life.

However, when there are more and more shares, each share becomes worth less and hence inflation. When the share, e.g. the half-penny, becomes effectively worthless (it is never totally worthless) then it is time to remove it.

As each pound becomes worth less, so does each fraction of the pound until some fractions are, in financial parlance, forced to cease trading.


the doctor said...

Dear D.K. , Let me have your address
and I'll let you have a tenner , enough for a cup of tea and a pack of biscuits , I really would not like you to starve . I enjoy the blog too much .

Anonymous said...

Daily Referendum ...the something .99 coin is a none starter, especially as it was intended to make the sales assistant actually go to the till to give a penny change, instead of pocketing a round sum e.g. 5 pounds.

Banks are moving fast to bring in this new contactless card technology, which will negate the problem of handling cash transactions. This will probably be for purchases under 15 pounds.

The Remittance Man said...

Methinks the shop keeper has no idea about the legal tender specs as defined above. Rather I think he's just an idiot not prepared to take lots of little coins because it would mean he'd have to count them all at the end of the day.

Personally if I were a trader I'd be like the Swiss and take any valid form of payment (foreign currency, luncheon vouchers, postage stamps, you name it). Still, everybody is different and entitled to be stupid if they wish. If DK's local shopkeep is happy to lose business that's his lookout. I'm sure there's another shop where the staff will accept pennies and so on.

Isn't free trade and free choice wonderful?

Tristan said...

Its interesting.

I think legal tender must be accepted if offered for payment of a debt, but since there is no debt in this case as exchange is simultaneous then I think he could refuse.

Doesn't stop him being an idiot though.

I agree with The Remittance Man though. I wonder if there's any reason you can't do that though.
Could you set up a local currency for local trade purposes (as exists in some parts of the US) or even a gold standard money of your own (like the Liberty Dollar - although the US Mint is giving them some problems)?

Neal Asher said...

I read an interesting comment in a book about ancient coinage. Historically, when a civilization ceases to have precious metals in its currency, it's on the slide into oblivion. I'm not so sure that applies now, but one does wonder...

Neal Asher said...

Oh, and this happened with us around about WW I when crowns and half-crowns etc ceased to be made with Sterling silver.

Roger Thornhill said...

1. Banks charge for handling coins from businesses.

2. The 6d still had silver in it until it was phased out (it was worth 2 1/2 "new pence" IIRC) and gold sovereigns were requested to pay the Yanks in WWII.

3. In some remote mining and mill communities I heard t'owner used to pay people in tokens, not legal tender.

4. I am sure Brown, New Labour and the EU are itching to dispense with cash - they can then tax all manner of transactions.

Buy gold.

Neal Asher said...

Make that 'general' currency. Six pence pieces certainly contained silver until they were phased out, but I believe it wasn't Sterling silver unless the coin was minted in the period I mention.

Anonymous said...

Elmer Quigley is quite right.
My previous cuntbag employer wouldn`t let us take any more than 40p in copper. Apart from anything else a cashbag with a quidsworth of pennies is a pain in the arse to count.
I once had some smartarse want to pay £5 odds in fucking 5Ps. Being a complete bastard I waited until he had emptied the lot on the counter before telling him I wasn`t taking it.
Best I ever did though was give a kid £18.95 change from a £20 note all in pound coins. Surprisingly enough, her wee pal had exactly the right money... hehehe!

No doubt the Bastards In Brussels will get rid of pennies & tuppences prior to the implementation of The Cashless Society [witness the subliminalism of the recent Maestro billboard campaign] which will most likely be heralded by the Chinese cashing their dollars for Euros, thus fucking over the American economy bigtime.
If petroleum was sold in Euros, where would Uncle Sam be then? And don`t tell me those Saudi bastards haven`t thought about it.

Roger Thornhill said...

angus: And don`t tell me those Saudi bastards haven`t thought about it.

Saddam was pursuing that very idea and look where that got him.

Daily Referendum said...


I didn't think about all the thieving twats there are about. Good point.

Oh yeah? So what has happened for the last ten years, exactly?

Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...