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Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Posted: 1348409078000
Classification: Query
Greetings. I am having some trouble understanding a 1778 tax assessment in America, where the British pound sterling unit was utilized. I just want to be certain that I am transcribing the assessment correctly.

My real problem is with this statement:

This assessment made by the assessors of Walpole June ye 23 1778 containing the continental rate being £620 ” 2 and also £18 ” 4 for the town treasurer.

I get the £ symbol, of course. My question is about the use of the quotation mark between numbers. What would that have meant in this context in 1778?

The following pages contain columns with the following headings:

Name - Poll - Real - Personal

Then, beneath each of the Real and Personal headings, I find the following abbreviations:

L s d q

I have taken those abbreviations to mean pounds, shillings, pence and quarter pence (farthings).

Re: Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Posted: 1348509068000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1348509151000
in old money

G = Guinea = £1 + 1s (£1 + 1 shilling)
s = shillings (20 to the £1)
d = pence (12 to the shilling)
½d = half of one penny
¼d = a farthing - (4 to a penny)

there was also 5s = one crown
ditto 2s6d = ½ crown

re: the " - I dont know - its not a "ditto" is it?

Re: Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Posted: 1348513502000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1348513526000
Well, I don't know what the " mark represents. That's my problem. The way that I copied it in my initial post is an exact transcription from the original document. I don't think that the " being a ditto makes much sense in that context. Thank you for the information that you provided, but I still would love input from anyone that might be able to guess the meaning of the " marks.

Re: Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Posted: 1348523563000
Classification: Query
I am guessing that the " stands for what we would today use as a point/forward slash to separate the £ amount from the shilling amount - ie £620.2 (six hundred and twenty pounds and two shillings) and £18.4 (eighteen pounds and four shillings. Until decimalisation in the 70s it would have also stated how many pennies too - £620.4.0

Re: Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Posted: 1348525705000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1348576736000
Thank you, TeamOwen. That was my best guess, too, but I have so much trouble figuring out old British currency, as far as denominations and abbreviations, that I figured that I'd better ask. I appreciate your thoughts. =)

Re: Re: Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Posted: 1350039401000
Classification: Query
I don't think this will add anything to what's already been suggested, but it's an interesting explanation of English monetary units nevertheless. It brings to mind the Monty Python question "What did the Romans ever do for us?"


Re: Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Posted: 1350678106000
Classification: Query
I've just picked this query up whilst browsing the board. My best guess is that the " may stand in place for the shillings. As someone who can remember 'real' money, before this decimal rubbish came in, we were taught, if the amount included pounds, to always include pence,even if there were none - the amount would be written as say £1.1s.0d.(and that's a guinea - racehorses are still sold in guineas, not pounds)
A sum of just shillings and pence was written as 1/6 or 1/6d.
This is why I think the " stands for the missing shillings - but I was taught to write £1.0s.0d.,if there were no shillings. I've not seen the " used as a substitute. Could it be a mark used in legal documents only, rather than everyday writings?

Re: Re: Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Posted: 1351518716000
Classification: Query
If you go to Christine's suggestion and start trawling - Mss. and Special Collections > Accounting > Bills and Receipts > Receipts, Vouchers and Quittances > Bills and Receipts for the Marquis of Titchfield > Enlarge p.1. The sum at the bottom is quite clearly written £50"15"6, although the "quotation marks" are at the bottom, not the top. I would think this is a clear indication that at some point these marks were generally used just to separate the pounds, shillings and pence. In your case probably just the pounds from the shillings because there were no pence involved. There might be even more examples if you trawl around. Hope this is useful.

Re: Re: Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Posted: 1353833635000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1353833812000
Having been at school in England a very, very long time ago, we used to use these marks in all of our maths work involving money. The " was written between £ s and d., as I recall. I think I used to write it slightly raised up from the bottom of the line, but perhaps it should have been on the line and I was just a bit sloppy with my work! I believe they were simple separators, used to ensure there was no confusion as to which number referred to £s and which to shillings etc. and were particularly valuable as column separators when performing additions and other calculations.

Re: Question about Abbreviation - British Currency

Posted: 1355580265000
Classification: Query
I've arrived late into this intriguing coversation, but, my observation may be of interest.

As you have correctly been advised the marks you've noted are merely dividers; the reason you consider them as quotation marks may be down to the limitations of A.S.C.I. code ~ there's not one for the sterling currency divider markers.

We used double dots, side by side, but NOT placed on the line; they were placed halfway up the height of the numerals. I have a vague recollection of that particular lesson, to this very day. [ Mrs. Stratton, I believe.]

Of interest, may be the treatment, in Britain, of the decimal point. We place the decimal point midway up the height of the numerals. On 'the continent', [Europe b.t.w.] they use a 'comma' thus:[ , ] placed upon the line, to divide the units from the tenths.
That took me a while to get accustomed to.

I'd return to the old method in a heartbeat, if it were my decision. But that's just me.
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