I could maybe have this comment about Great Britain and not just England. But I would probably tell this wrong. This all started me thinking when I was in the TV room of the Hostel and someone asked,
"What is a Quid?"
Good question, and before the Brits get a chance to make fun at your expense.
They always say,
"You got to understand their humour." I disagree.
BUT... Here goes.
1 Pound = 1.66 USA dollars
As best I understand without driving myself crazy trying to research this is that you have various types of paper money. It starts with the 5 pound note and goes up. Under 5 and they give you coins. The have for sure coins of 1 - 2 Pounds, 50 - 20 - 10 - 5 - 2 - 1 Pence.
What this does is makes sure you have a lot coins in your pocket. Because you always have a few 1 pound coins in your pocket. I always look at 1 pound as being 1.50 US dollars. Easier to calculate in my mind the value.
So they could say,
“It cost 1 pound.” or 1 pound sterling,
Because it was once the one “Pound of Sterling.”
So if I buy something that cost 1.50 pound.
They could say,
“1 Pound and fifty P” (Pee)
or they could say “one Pound, fifty Pence.”
The conversion problem. Not really a problem in England. You do not need to convert. You are using pounds 100 percent of the time. So there is no conversion problem. Except if you bought pounds. Then it may help to know the conversion rates. I do not carry Travelers Checks or exchange money. Only when I have too much of the local money and leave the country. I have 2 debit cards or bank cards. The ATM or Automatic Tell Machine Cards. Traveler checks will cause you to have a big conversion problem. You will lose money on the conversions and you will loose money because it will cost you more because you have traveler checks. Get 2 debit cards. That is my advice. If you are afraid. Get 3.
The word that confused me is the word “Quid.”
It means pound. So 1 Quid is 1 pound. A person in England could talk about Sterling. This just mean in English money. Sterling is interchangeable for English money.
These terms are old and not really used. Farthing, shillings, and pennies, They use pounds and pence now.
SMALL NUMBER PROBLEMS
My eyes are getting bad. I use glasses to read. The numbers on the coins are very small and difficult to see. This is a problem. I am slowly learning the differences by the size, shape, or color. But for the first week I would just hope up a hand full of change and say take the correct money. This works pretty good in England, because their basic value system is honest. Do NOT do this in 80 percent of the world. I normally will only give correct change to people in most countries because they will not give you the correct change back. Or they do not have change and thing I should just donate the balance.
ENCYLOPEDIA BRITANNICA EXPLANATION.
“the basic monetary unit of Great Britain, divided (since 1971) decimally into 100 new pence. The term is derived from the fact that, about 775, silver coins known as “sterlings” were issued in the Saxon kingdoms, 240 of them being minted from a pound of silver, the weight of which was probably about equal to the later troy pound. Hence large payments came to be reckoned in “pounds of sterlings,” a phrase later shortened to “pounds sterling.” After the Norman Conquest the pound was divided for accounting purposes into 20 shillings and into 240 pennies, or pence. In medieval Latin documents the words libra, solidus, and denarius were used to denote the pound, shilling, and penny, which gave rise to the use of the symbols £, s., and d.
On Feb. 15, 1971, the pound sterling was officially decimalized into 100 new pence. The symbol £ was retained for the pound sterling; the letter p. was chosen for the new penny.”
NOTE: I collect converters and things like that on this page.