It’s the world’s oldest existing currency, but a pound sterling seems a bit smaller now. Originally 240 silver pennies weighed a pound, which is how our currency was named, this practice dated right back to the Anglo-Saxon king Offa in the eighth century AD.
“Sterling” silver was the basis of the pound until 1816, when gold took over – although the weight of a penny changed from 1.5g in Offa’s day to just 0.5g by the Tudor period and Henry II changed the silver used to make it more hardwearing.
But this fall was as nothing to what’s happened since the pound abandoned the gold standard in 1931. See how the value of the pound has changed below:
Source: Research from Leeds Building Society carried out for Yahoo! Finance