Author Topic: Cyprus & pounds  (Read 6043 times)

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BC Numismatics

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Cyprus & pounds
« on: July 05, 2007, 05:39:14 AM »
Cyprus & Malta are the only 2 British Commonwealth (& European Union) member states in which the Pound was divided into both 100 Cents & 1,000 Mils.

In Cyprus,the Pound was divided in the following ways;

1879; 9 Piastres = 1 Shilling (1/-) & 180 Piastres = 20/- = 1 Pound.

1955-82; 1,000 Mils = 1 Pound.

1983-2007; 100 Cents = 1 Pound.

In Malta,the Pound has been divided since 1972 in this way;

10 Mils = 1 Cent,& 1,000 Mils or 100 Cents = 1 Pound.

Aidan.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Cyprus & pounds
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2007, 09:47:59 AM »
Cyprus' coins were infinitely complicated. In theory, the system was 4000 paras = 100 piastres = 5 mejidi? = 1 (gold Turkish) pound. In practice, there were three kinds of piastres (in Turkey proper there were five): the officially described silver piastre of 18.6 grains with a fineness of 830/1000, which had largely become a unit of account, the silver plated copper piastre, occurring practically only in Limassol and Papho and the copper piastre actually used in trade on the rest of the island. The copper piastre was valued at 1 silver piastres 15 paras, but the mejidi? went for 30 coppers (1/20 copper for the silver) and the gold lira for 160 coppers (1/24 copper for the silver). Moreover, the Ottoman bank used different rates than the shopkeepers, because it no longer accepted very old, worn coins that the shopkeepers continued to use. The major gold coin in practice was the Napoleon, valued at 93 silver or 140 copper (1/1-7/40 copper for silver).

There was no way to introduce British money in this maze without inducing smuggling and heavy profit taking at the expense of the British Treasury. The first attempt was to value the Napoleon at 15s.10d., the Turkish pound at 18s. and the mejidi? at 3s./7d. Naturally, this overvalued the mejidi?, so that rate was juggled. In October 1878, the High Commissioner made another attempt, setting the sovereign at 180 piastres, the napoleon at 142 piastres 20 paras, the Turkish gold pound at 160 piastres, the mejidi? 30 piastres and the silver piastre at 1 piastre 20 para (all in terms of copper piastres). This overvalued the sovereign and the mejidi? and undervalued the pound, so the mejidi? was devalued to 20 copper piastres. British gold replaced Turkish gold, which was allowed to happen. However, the shopkeepers valued the sovereign at only 175 piastres, so it was used only to pay soldiers at 180, who'd have to spend it at 175 to shopkeepers who'd pay their taxes at 180. This way, the soldiers subsidized the shopkeepers.

The British, in desperation, started minting colonial piasters, halves and quarters for Cyprus, officially valued at 180 to the UKP. At first, these coins were refused, especially in Limassol and Papho, but in 1879, the Turkish pound started deteriorating. In April, the new coins arrived, but smugglers immediately exported them to Turkey, taking back light copper piastres. The turning point came when the bakers of Nicosia announced they would only accept British piastres. They got police protection, but now the poor finally learned to reject Turkish copper. In July, British silver arrived. The main point of resistance was the presence of large quantities of overvalued Indian rupees. The British devalued the rupee and demonetized it. In September 1879, only Cypriot, Turkish (except the copper piastre) and British coins (except the half crown), as well as gold Napoleons were received and paid out by the treasuries. Only in 1880 could the High Commissioner report that these reforms were accepted. In 1882 the tender of silver coins was restricted to 540 piastres (3 pounds sterling) and the copper could be tendered only up to 27 piastres (3 shillings).

The holdouts remained in Limassol and Papho, where plated silver piastres went for 132 to the pound sterling. This was an excellent opportunity to swindle money out of travelling Brits, so British issued money made no inroads there, until in 1884, the British used the force of arms to foist the official coins on the shopkeepers, who were forced to sign declarations that they would not deal in (imaginary) plated silver piastres any more.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 05, 2007, 09:51:06 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Cyprus & pounds
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007, 01:16:32 PM »
Between 1972 and 1983, Malta used that "three step" system, with 1000 Mils = 100 Cents = 1 Pound (?M). In mid-1983 the country replaced that with a "two step" system, with 100 Cents = 1 Lira (Lm). The current coins can be used until the end of January 2008.

Christian

Offline PureCoinage

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Re: Cyprus & pounds
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2007, 01:01:56 PM »
Christian, the maltese currency has but one name. The Maltese Lira or Lira Maltija. There is no such thing as the Maltese pound. The Maltese bank notes are not recognised as Pounds but as Liri.

Unfortunately, some royal-happy people will try to convince you otherwise. When Malta saw the British monetary system, it was under the English. As in, the English were occupiers of our land. When we got our country back, we had our own money and that money is called the Maltese Lira. Some people still referred to it as the pound, but that was just out of habit of using british pound sterling. This is an incorrect name for our currency. The correct name is Maltese Lira.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Cyprus & pounds
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2007, 03:20:52 PM »
Frankly, when it comes to such questions, I rather rely on the information provided by the central bank.

"The Malta pound, which was renamed Maltese lira (Lm) in 1983, was retained as the currency unit."
http://www.centralbankmalta.com/site/currency1f.html

(Emphasis by me. :) So just this one name is "valid", but of course anybody can call any currency whatever s/he likes. And since the name of the Maltese currency will soon change anyway, this is almost a non-issue ...

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Cyprus & pounds
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2007, 01:38:55 AM »
PureCoinage, when it comes to coin names, anglophones are notoriously sloppy. In English, a gulden is for mysterious reasons called a florin (both are gold coins that eventually became silver coins, other than that, I can't think of a connection). They even issued coins denominated in stiver, which is a very obvious spelling error for stuiver. For another good laugh, consider the Belgian Congo 2 francs 1943 struck in Philadelphia inscribed BANK VAN BELGISH CONGO, where there should have been a C between S and H. US coin collectors have struggled for ages against compatriots who call a US cent a penny. A Chinese "cash" coin should actually be called tsien...the list goes on.

It's not limited to coins either. Elephant and Castle, a part of London, used to be Infante de Castilla, Brooklyn, a part of New York, is named after the Dutch town of Breukelen and all the streets in central York called "gate" should actually be called by the Norse word for street: "gatan". Not that others are any better. A French or Flemish imitation of a silver penny is called a sterling, a piece of 6 stuivers is known in French as an escalin, which is nothing but a tongue-twisted version of the Dutch word schelling (same root as shilling) and a Patagon has nothing to do with Patagonia.

I guess laughing (or at least smiling) is my point. If someone makes a bad mistake, you may want to try to help. If they don't get it, you don't get angry. You laugh. Not at individuals or even nations, but at the world. It's a very imperfect place and we probably like it better that way. And of course, if you persist massively in a bad mistake long enough it becomes part of the language and it's correct, though not necessarily intelligent.

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

Offline chrisild

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Re: Cyprus & pounds
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2007, 02:54:19 AM »
In English, a gulden is for mysterious reasons called a florin (both are gold coins that eventually became silver coins, other than that, I can't think of a connection).
Ah, now Wikipedia comes to the rescue. ;)
"De eerste gulden (betekent "gouden") werd florijn genoemd, naar de Florentijnse lelie uit het wapen van de stad Florence, waar in 1252 de eerste belangrijke gouden munt sinds de Karolingische tijd werd geslagen. Daarmee is ook de herkomst verklaard van het altijd gebruikte f-teken voor de gulden, en de aanduiding fl.."
http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geschiedenis_van_de_Nederlandse_gulden

Similarly, the symbol for the British (pre-decimal) penny was a "d" while in Germany (until the mid-20c) the S?tterlin script style "d" http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U20A0.pdf (see 20B0) was fairly common. Both are short for Latin "denarius", except that nobody used that word to refer to the penny or pfennig ...

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Cyprus & pounds
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2007, 03:22:05 AM »
"De eerste gulden (betekent "gouden") werd florijn genoemd, naar de Florentijnse lelie uit het wapen van de stad Florence, waar in 1252 de eerste belangrijke gouden munt sinds de Karolingische tijd werd geslagen. Daarmee is ook de herkomst verklaard van het altijd gebruikte f-teken voor de gulden, en de aanduiding fl.."

"The first gulden (which signifies golden) was called florin, because of the Florentine lily from the arms of the city of Florence, where in 1252 the first important gold coin since Carolingian times was struck. This also explains the origin of the always used f-sign for the gulden, and the fl.-cypher."

Well, yes, that is the numismatic legend, but consider the facts. The first gulden was introduced by Charles V, almost three centuries after the introduction of the "fioriono d'oro". Charlie was a Habsburger. He wouldn't have imitated an Italian coin and he didn't. He imitated the Rheinische goldgulden, a coin from his own lands. Sane Dutchmen never called the gulden florijn (but there is a popular comic strip, Tom Poes, in which the currency is the florijn :)). In fact, there was a Dutch coin called florijn. It was tariffed at 28 stuivers (a gulden is 20) and struck on German, not Dutch standards. The f and Fl signs became of importance only after decimalization pushed the previous unit of account, the rijksdaalder, out of the way, so they don't date from either the 13th or the 16th century, but from the 19th century.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 11:23:03 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline a3v1

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Re: Cyprus & pounds
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2007, 09:53:35 AM »
The name "Florin" for British 2/- pieces dates from centuries ago, as I recall having read someplace.
At that time the British learnt about the Dutch Gulden (Guilder) but, instead of translating it as Guilder, they preferred to call it Florin. And as the shilling at the time was worth exactly half of it, they called the new 2/- pieces "Florin".
Regards,
a3v1 
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Offline Bookworm

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Re: Cyprus & pounds
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2007, 11:33:45 AM »
...when it comes to coin names, anglophones are notoriously sloppy. In English, a gulden is for mysterious reasons called a florin...

Peter, that particular case isn't limited to anglophones. In Portugal, a gulden is (and always has been) called a florim.

Aldo