There are times when I lose myself down an Internet browser rabbit hole. One of the most recent was when attempting to satisfy my curiosity about how the word ‘bob’ became slang for a shilling.
The above example was minted in the year of my birth. Back then there were 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings to the pound, but within that were farthings (quarter of a penny), halfpennies, thrupenny bits, tanners (six pennies), half-crowns, crowns and florins (two shillings).
This system was in use for over a millennium and had its origins in Roman times, when a pound of silver would be divided into 240 denarii.
On 15 February 1971, currency in the UK was decimalised. New coinage was issued alongside the old coins. 5p and 10p were the first to appear, introduced in April 1968. They were the same size, composition and value as the old shilling and florin coins, and circulated interchangeably with them. In October 1969 a 50p coin was introduced, and as D-Day approached, the old halfpenny, half-crown, and 10 shilling notes were withdrawn from circulation.
I found the following bob meanings:
- slang for a shilling, unit of pre-decimalised English (and other nations’) currency
- Abbreviation of plumb-bob
- Victorian era abbreviation of bob-stick, measure of gin
- A call (direction) by a conductor to bell ringers
- Up and down movement
- Abbreviation of the name Robert
Please feel free to add others in comments.