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Economic Destitution

by Jeremiad1971 

Posted: 22 March 2007
Word Count: 328
Summary: It has been a hard life for the 5p

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The five pence piece has always struggled in the tough world of coinage. Introduced in 1968, inscribed with the bold declaration NEW PENCE, it was the same value as the shilling and issued to famalirise old money die hards with the dangerously logical world of decimalization.

For years it laboured, the evil twin of one of the nation’s favourite coins. By 1982, when the shilling was withdrawn, the 5p had its chance to shine but discovered its purchasing power could no longer buy a copy of The Beano.

However, by 1990, unloved at home, it had found unexpected popularity in German vending machines and payphones, which were easily fooled into believing it was a Deutschmark.
This proved to be short lived and for reasons that may have been about more than just the UK economy, it was forced to suffer the indignity of reduced diminsions.

The smaller version struggled to find friends.

Afficiandos of “Shove Ha’penny Football”, already devastated by the decline in popularity of the gentleman’s nylon comb, had found the large 5p a super-sub in games lacking the ha’penny, and so were as sick as a parrot when they discovered the new lad short of beef up front.

The nineties rolled forward, the pounds piled on and the 5p was all too often cursed as it slipped through the increasingly podgy fingers of an expanding nation.

And now, today, the loveless 5p finds itself subject to abuse from a new group of sniffy people, as the Chancellor increases the cost of a bottle of wine.

It has nowhere left to go: evicted from wallets, out of place in penny jars, rejected by fruit machines.

Unwanted at birth, unloved by its family, it is facing the end of its existence rammed down the nation’s sofas, aware that it makes little impression on the cushion and, even if discovered, would be cursed for not being one of its more valued brothers.

It is a tragedy of our times.

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Comments by other Members

roger at 19:58 on 22 March 2007  Report this post
Hi David,

This reads like a good piece of investigative journalism – by the end I felt devastated for the poor old 5p!!

I LOL'd at -

already devastated by the decline in popularity of the gentleman’s nylon comb


as it slipped through the increasingly podgy fingers of an expanding nation

Very telling, that!

Two minor nitpicks -

'value of the shilling' - value AS the shilling?

'and so were as sick as a parrot' - with your ability, I recon you can be mor imaginative than that!

Silly, but lovely stuff!


V`yonne at 22:47 on 22 March 2007  Report this post
Truly tragic stuff!

Jeremiad1971 at 14:08 on 23 March 2007  Report this post
Thanks for reading Roger and I have corrected the "as" thing.

The cliche was deliberate because it was an expression football managers used a lot in the eighties and it tied in with shove ha'penny but I concede it doesn't add a lot to it.

Anyway, as always, your time is much appreciated


Jeremiad1971 at 14:13 on 23 March 2007  Report this post
Thanks Oonah, I was aiming for a work of Shakespearean proportions, lol.

Thanks for reading!


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