Geek Trivia

The Oldest Currency Still In Use Is The?

Pound Sterling
Until The 1970s, X-Ray Machines Were Used For Which Of These Decidedly Non-Medical Uses?

Answer: Pound Sterling

The pound sterling, typically just referred to as the “pound”, is the official currency of the United Kingdom and several former and current British territories. While there are many old currencies in the world, the pound sterling is the oldest currency still in use (and which has been in continuous use since its inception).

The name of the currency dates back to its very literal origins in Anglo-Saxon England over twelve hundred years ago. The original pound was a unit of accounting equal to 240 silver pennies which, in sum, equaled one pound of silver. Over the years, the size of the coin and the purity of the silver has changed. In 1158, for example, King Henry II had the composition of the coin changed from pure silver to 92.5 percent silver to increase the durability and longevity of the coins. Over the next few centuries, the coin was further adjusted and reduced in size.

In 1694, with the establishment of the Bank of England, British currency was modernized and paper currency issued, although coinage was, and continues to be, a prominent part of the currency system in the UK with one and two pound coins widely used.

Image courtesy of the Royal Mint.