Elizabethan Money

Table of Contents

Introduction

This article is intended to teach Elizabethan re-enactors a little bit about the money system in Elizabethan England. By learning the information contained herein, I hope to make the characters that the re-enactors portray a bit more three dimensional.

I'll start by asking a few simple questions.

Pretty easy so far, eh? Let's try some more. Not so simple.

The goal, though, is not to know the exact values (although that would be nice), but instead to have at least the knowledge of relative worth. We all know, for example, that there are four quarters in a dollar, not 40 or 400 or four million. Similarly, we should all know that a loaf of bread cost a few pennies, not a few shillings or a few pounds. We, as re-enactors, should know the basics of the Elizabethan monetary system like the back of our hands.

I'll start off by introducing the variety of coins that the Elizabethans had at their disposal. You'll learn what coins existed and what their worth to each other was. Next, you'll learn how much people made, and after that, how much things cost. This will give you a much better idea of the economics of Elizabethan era were, but to really drive it home, I'll lastly convert everything into modern dollars.
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Copyright © 2001-2008
by Gary Kephart