• Code 260524-2

The Splendid Shilling

James O'Donald Mays. Published by New Forest Leaves, 1982.  HB (black cloth, silver-lettered spine).165 x 240mm. 186 pages, illustrated throughout in b/w.  Spine of d/j faded, otherwise internally almost as new.

Here is the first book to be devoted to the history of the shilling, a coin that has circulated for over four and a half centuries, and was used as a money of account before it was struck as a coin.
With nearly 200 illusrations - 130 of them of shillings, the work relates how the English shilling evolved from the testoon of Henry VII and thereafter became the most useful denomination among British coins. It once paid for many hours of work and it would buy substantial goods and services. A shilling would enable a traveller to journey several miles by coach or train, and it would buy a ticket to the Great Exhibition of 1851.
In modern times it would purchase a "Shilling shocker" or sheet music of the classics. The coin also had infamous uses: the instrument for binding a young man into military service when employed by an unscrupulous recruiting sergeant, or the sum left by a disappointed father to a worthless son.
Since the seventeenth century the shilling has figures prominently in English literature. The book reproduces extracts from I poem by London's "water-poet," John Taylor, as well as essays on the coin by British and American
writers. There is also a selection of proverbs about the coin.
The illustrations embrace most major varieties of British pieces, and include the shilling of Edward VIII that just missed being issued. Here, too, are photographs of Bermuda's "Hog Money" shilling, the Pine Tree shilling of America, the Anglo Irish and the Irish "Gun-money" shillings, and the modern shillings of the British Empire and
the Commonwealth of Nations. There is also a chapter on the silver token shillings issued during 181l-12.

ISBN 0-907956-00 9

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