Like reading Thackeray edited by Elmore Leonard

Victorian Currency

Copper or Bronze coins
The smallest was the farthing, worth a quarter of a penny, then the halfpenny (pronounced ‘haypenny’) the penny, the two-penny piece (pronounced ‘tu-pence’) and a four-penny piece, previously known as a groat.

Silver coins
There was a three-penny bit (pronounced ‘thripenny’), a six-pence, a shilling, a florin (worth 2 shillings), a half-crown (worth 2 shillings and six pence) and a crown (worth 5 shillings). There were 12 pence to the shilling and twenty shillings made a pound,

Gold coins
There was the sovereign valued at a pound, and the half-sovereign.

After 1844 all bank notes were issued by the Bank of England, to the value of £5, £10, £20, £100, £200, £500 and £1,000.

There was also a unit of currency known as the guinea, for which there was no coin or note (how very British!) and it was worth one pound and one shilling. It was used for professional fees, such as for doctors and lawyers – and prize money for horse races!

You may have noticed in Alice in Wonderland the price in the Mad Hatter’s top hat – 10/6 – ten shillings and six pence – in other words, half a guinea.