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How Many Pence in a Pound

Updated on August 12, 2015

This article will tell you how many pence in a UK pound and a few more fun facts besides.

First of all - some terminology.

The basic currency in the UK is the pound, sometimes called pound sterling.

The symbol is GBP.

The units contained within a pound are referred to as pence, pennies or "p" - as in 1p, 2p, etc.

How many pence in a pound?
How many pence in a pound?

There are one hundred pence in a pound.

Similar to the US dollar or the Euro - the smallest unit is 1% of the base currency.

So a penny, pence or p is worth one per cent of a pound.

How to work out how many pence in pounds

There are 100 pennies in a pound.

If you add two zeroes to each figure in pounds that gives you the number.

So if you have 20 pounds and want to know how many pence that is - add two zeroes.

2000.

That is two thousand pennies.

...

If you want to know how many pounds your pennies are worth, perhaps if you have been collecting them in a jar, then divide by 100.

Say you have 134 pennies.

Divide by 100 gives you 1.34.

That is 1 pound and 34 pennies.

"Pennies from Heaven" - one of many English expressions about money
"Pennies from Heaven" - one of many English expressions about money

Writing UK Currency in Words or Numbers

Let's take an example amount of money - one pound and twenty-three pence.

This can be written long-hand as above or in the following ways.

£1.23 - if you have the pound symbol available on your keyboard.

£1.23p - if you want to make absolutely sure where the pence are shown.

GBP 1.23 - generally for computer systems that deal in a range of currencies.

Common UK Currency in Use

Here are the standard coins in use in the UK.

1p

2p

5p

10p

20p

50p

One pound

Two pound

None of the above are notes - they are all coins. The smallest note in use is the five pound - £5 - note.

Photo of current UK coinage from one pound to one penny
Photo of current UK coinage from one pound to one penny

Old Pence and Pounds

Britain converted to decimal currency forty years ago.

Before then, each pound consisted of 240 pennies. Twelve pennies made a shilling and there were twenty shillings in a pound.

Using our example above of £1.23 this would have been written as..

£1 1s 11p.

This seems so complicated now, but the British were very unsure about decimalisation.

With the new system, shillings were dropped and the simpler 100 pence per pound method introduced.

Why Are English Pennies Sometimes Called Coppers?

The original pennies used to be made mainly from copper. Nowadays copper is far too valuable so only a tiny amount is used.

"See a Penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck"
"See a Penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck"

Checking and Counting Change

If you buy something for 87p and give the storekeeper a pound how much change should you get?

Thirteen pence.

...

Try counting up coins to use the smallest number for the right amount.

For example - if you want to buy something for 87p - what coins would be best to give the storekeeper if you wanted to give the correct change?

One fifty p piece, one twenty, one ten, one five and a two pence piece.

It is easy with practice!

...

A good way to get familiar with a different currency is to practice with your holiday money before visiting a country. You can think up simple counting or shop games to play with your children or husband.

English Currency Pound Pence Table

Coin
How Many in a Pound?
One p (1)
One hundred (100)
Two p (2)
Fifty (50)
Five p (5)
Twenty (20)
Ten p (10)
Ten (10)
Twenty p (20)
Five (5)
Fifty p (50)
Two (2)
The first column in the table shows English coins in words with numbers in brackets. The second column shows how many of these are in a pound.

Comments

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    • Easy Advice profile imageAUTHOR

      Easy Advice 

      3 years ago from UK

      Oh my goodness Mauro! Thank you very much for pointing that out.

    • profile image

      Mauro Hernandez 

      3 years ago

      On the last line of the last chart there is a mistake, there are two Fifty-pence coins in a pound.

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