The shilling (or informally: bob) was an English coin first issued in 1548 for Henry VIII, although arguably the testoon issued about 1487 for Henry VII was the first English shilling. more...
These English issues were preceded by Scots coins, groats valued at twelvepence, issued in the reign of James III.
Before decimalisation in 1971, a shilling had a value of 12d (old pence), and was equal to 1/20th of a pound: there were 240 (old) pence to the pound. Post-decimalisation, "shilling" refers to the 5p coin, which is still worth 1/20th of a pound, because there are 100 new pence in a pound.
The name shilling is believed to come from the old Scandinavian word skilling, meaning a division, or a mark on a stick.
The abbreviation for shilling is "s", from the Latin solidus, the name of a Roman coin. Often it was written informally with a slash, e.g., "1/6" as 1 shilling, 6 pence or when there were no pence, with a slash then a hyphen, e.g., "11/-".
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II shillings were minted featuring both the English "three lions", technically three leopards couchant, coat of arms, and the Scottish lion rampant coat of arms (see illustration above).
A slang name for a shilling was a "bob" (which was invariant in the plural, as in "that cost me two bob").
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