The Bank of England and earlier proposals for a decimal coinage

Quarterly Bulletin 1970 Q4
Published on 01 December 1970

The introduction of a decimal system of currency in February 1971 makes it timely to recall earlier proposals for decimalisation with which the Bank were concerned. The establishment of a decimal coinage has long had its advocates in this country. As early as 1682 Sir William Petty was arguing in favour of a system which would make it possible to "keep all Accompts in a way of Decimal Arithmetick". But the possibility of making the change did not become a matter of practical politics until a decade later, when the depreciated state of the silver currency made it necessary to undertake a wholesale renewal of the coinage.

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