British Monetary system
The Bank of England has been issuing banknotes for over 300 years. During that time, both the notes themselves and their role in society have undergone continual change. From today’s perspective, it is easy to accept that a piece of paper that costs a few pence to produce is worth five, ten, twenty or fifty pounds.
The pound sterling, which strictly speaking refers to basic currency unit of sterling, now the pound, is the currency of the United Kingdom (UK). The sign for the pound is £ (or rarely just «L»). Both symbols derive from libra, the Latin word for «pound». The standard currency code is GBP = Great Britain Pound. One pound is divided into 100 pence, the singular of which is «penny». The symbol for the penny is «p»; hence an amount such as 50p is often pronounced «fifty pee» rather than «fifty pence». In the UK, in order to distinguish the unit of currency from the unit of weight, and perhaps from other units of currency that have the same name, a pound is sometimes referred to more formally as a pound sterling or sometimes simply sterling. The slang term quid is also substituted in informal conversation for «pound(s) sterling». The sterling was originally a name for a silver penny of 1/240 pound. In modern times the pound has replaced the penny as the basic unit of currency as inflation has steadily eroded the value of the currency. Originally a silver penny had the purchasing power of slightly less than a modern pound. As a unit of currency, the term pound originates from the value of a troy pound of high purity silver known as sterling silver. Sterling was introduced as the English currency by King Henry II in 1158, though the name sterling wasn’t acquired until later. The word sterling is from the Old French esterlin transformed in stiere in Old English (strong, firm, immovable). The pound sterling, established in 1560–61 by Elizabeth I and her advisors.