Regarding the 1601 Scottish Sword and Sceptre coin described last week, Martin Purdy writes:The S&S piece was not worth 120 shillings English, but 120 shillings Scots; at the 12-to-1 ratio that applied at the time, that equated to 10 shillings English, or only half a pound, not six pounds. Still a lot of money, but not quite as much as the article would have us believe.
The lower valued pound north of the border also explains some of the odd denominations that existed in Scotland - the Scottish 60 and 30 shillings denominations look strange until you realise that they equated to a crown and a half-crown in England, respectively. Also the Scottish "pistole" or 12-pound piece: since that equated to one pound south of the border in the recently unified kingdoms, you can see the merger process starting to take place. It wasn't entirely consistent, of course, as the Scots still kept their "merks" (13s 4d), or slightly more than an English shilling, and the humble two pence, or 1/6 of an English penny. The matching denominations between about 1600 and 1700 are fun to spot, all the same.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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