Australia: Shedding Shillings

No one has ever been able to discover exactly how, when or even why the British decided to divide a pound of silver into 20 shillings and 240 pence, but everyone agrees that the system is a bedeviling bother. It irritates international bankers, confuses tourists and even sends British shoppers away muttering in frustration. To escape from its complicated structure (£2 8s. 6d. for a bottle of Scotch), many Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries are switching to the decimal currency system used by 95% of the world's people. Barbados and other sterling bloc territories in the British West Indies converted...

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