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Elizabethan Era Money and Currency
Transcript of Elizabethan Era Money and Currency
January 15, 2014
Money and Currency
What was Elizabethan Era Money like?
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, all currency was in the form of coins. These coins were made out of either silver or gold and the weight of the silver or gold determined its value. All coins were alloyed, or mixed, with another metal. The fineness of a coin is the amount of silver or gold contained in the alloy.
What was Elizabethan Money called?
The Elizabethan monetary system was comprised of, in order from least to greatest monetary value, the penny, shilling, and the pound. The abbreviation of the penny is "d", after the silver Roman coin, Denarius. The shilling was abbreviated to "s", after Sestertius, also a silver Roman coin. The pound was known as a "L", crossed with a bar, which is an abbreviation for the Latin word for pound, Libra.
What were the Units and Values
of Elizabethan currency?
240 pennies equaled one pound. Twenty shillings also equaled one pound. The units were further broken down using the basic unit of pennies, or the plural, pence.
Half crown/Quarter Angel
Typical Wages in the Elizabethan Era
In the Elizabethan age, wages depended on your job status, just as it does today. The lower class earned their wages in pennies, while upper class jobs raked in pounds annually. For example, a typical nobleman earned about 1,500 to 3,000 pounds per year. A carpenter usually only earned approximately 13 pounds per year. The queen was paid 60,000 pounds annually.
Elizabethan Currency Compared to Modern Currency
In the present, our currency uses paper bills and coins. However, our coins do not contain nearly as much silver and gold as Elizabethan coins did. This also means that Elizabethan money bought more back then, than our inflated currency does today. It is estimated that one pound of Elizabethan currency is equivalent to $400 U.S. dollars. This means the queen would have earned about $24,000,000 in today's currency.
Elizabethan Cost of Living
Elizabethan life was not very cheap, which made life difficult for the citizens struggling with poverty. The many necessities required in everyday life include clothing and fabrics, food and drink, fines, housing, and indulgences. Boots could cost four to ten pounds, cinnamon cost about 10s 6d (ten shillings and six pennies) per pound, and a doctor's visit cost one mark (13s 4d = 13 shillings, 4 pennies).