Kingdom of England
A shilling was a coin used in England from the reign of Henry VII (or Edward VI around 1550). The shilling continued in use after the Acts of Union of 1707 created a new United Kingdom from the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, and under Article 16 of the Articles of Union, a common currency for the new United Kingdom was created.
Kingdom of Scotland
The term shilling (Scots: schilling) was in use in Scotland from early Middle Ages.
Great Britain and the UK
The common currency created in 1707 by Article 16 of the Articles of Union continued in use until decimalisation in 1971. In the traditional pounds, shillings and pence system, there were 20 shillings per pound and 12 pence per shilling, and thus there were 240 pence in a pound.
Three coins denominated in multiple shillings were also in circulation at this time. They were:
- the florin, two shillings (2/–), which adopted the value of 10 new pence (10p) at decimalisation;
- the half-crown, two shillings and sixpence (2/6) or one-eighth of a pound, which was abolished at decimalisation (otherwise it would have had the value of 12½p);
- the crown (five shillings), the highest denominated non-bullion UK coin in circulation at decimalisation (in practice, crowns were commemorative coins not used in everyday transactions).
At decimalisation in 1971, the shilling coin was superseded by the new five-pence piece, which initially was of identical size and weight and had the same value, and inherited the shilling's slang name of a bob. Shillings remained in circulation until the five pence coin was reduced in size in 1991.
Between 1701 and the unification of the currencies in 1825, the Irish shilling was valued at 13 pence and known as the "black hog", as opposed to the 12-pence English shillings which were known as "white hogs".
In the Irish Free State and Republic of Ireland the shilling coin was issued as scilling in Irish. It was worth 1/20th of an Irish pound, and was interchangeable at the same value to the British coin, which continued to be used in Northern Ireland. The coin featured a bull on the reverse side. The first minting, from 1928 until 1941, contained 75% silver, more than the equivalent British coin. The original Irish shilling coin (retained after decimalisation)) was withdrawn from circulation on 1 January 1993, when a smaller five pence coin was introduced.