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Fractional sub-units

Started by <k>, December 10, 2012, 09:26:39 PM

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We just had an appraisal request for this Swedish 1/2 öre coin over at CoinQuest. Quite a nice design that would eventually become a staple of Swedish coins well into the beginning of the 20th century. They were minted from 1856 to 1858.


If not restricted to current coins, this is my favourite.

British India 1 Pie, also issued as 1/12 anna or 1/3 Pice.


Jersey ¼  shilling 1957.jpg

Jersey ¼  shilling 1964.jpg

Jersey, one fourth of a shilling, 1957 and 1964.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.


After the Prussian coinage reform of 1821 the Silver Thaler was divided in 30 Silber Groschen of 12 Pfennig each. The denomination on the copper coins is both stated in pfennigs and in the fraction of a thaler. The latter is indicated as: (number) EINEN (=one) THALER.

The 3 Pfennig coin shown has the denomination both as 3 PFENNIGE and 120 EINEN THALER. Which is just another way of saying 1/120 Thaler.

There also were issued:
1 Pfennig, 360 one Thaler;
2 Pfennig, 180 one Thaler;
3 Pfennig, 120 one Thaler (shown)
4 Pfennig, 90 one Thaler


I agree with Henk and others. There is an overlap between fractions, especially weird fractions and denominations, especially weird denominations. Here is one more example. On Cyprus, the sovereign was fixed at 180 piastres. A shilling was therefore 9 piastres. A coin with the denomination of 4½ piastres (a weird fraction) could have been denominated as a sixpence, while the 45 piastres coin could have been denominated as a crown. These denomination were therefore not weird after all, but rather a bridge between the traditional Cypriot coin system (derived from the Turkish piastre) and the British system (developed from Carolingian times money). Decimalisation was another opportunity for double denominations: Dutch 2½ gulden pieces were at decimalisation a continuation of the familiar rijksdaalder of 50 stuivers, so, a decimal denomination was added on the coin: 250 cent.

While some fractions were issued, like multiples, to avoid introducing yet another denomination or to bridge a gap between denominations (like the UK ½ crown), others were bridging a gap between two sets of denominations.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


The coinage of Great Britain was legal tender in the Bahamas from 1825 until the issuing of a definitive coinage in 1966. The tokens sizes were equivalent to US coins at the time when £1 equalled to $2.80 and would have corresponded with these denominations:

3/6  = 50c  US

1/9  = 25c  US

9d    = 10c  US

4½d  =   5c  US

The other tokens and more information may be seen on my website here
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.