As of 2021, what is the oldest currency in the world that is still in use?
Existing for more than 1,200 years, the British pound is the world's oldest currency still in use in 2021. Since the 8th century, the pound has been in circulation across the United Kingdom. The pound gets its name from the historical equivalent of the value of a pound of silver, hence the official name "pound sterling". Today, the weight of pound coins do not equate to a pound of silver (454g), yet the name remains. Multiples of pounds are also printed on polymer notes.
The term "pound", both in relation to the weight and the currency, can be traced to the Ancient Roman era. It derives from the Latin word 'libra', which means 'weight' or 'balance' (as in scales), and the phrase 'libra pondo', meaning 'pound weight'. 'Libra' may no longer be used, but it remains the shorthand for the unit of mass (lb). The £ symbol also derived from 'libra'. It is a stylised writing of the letter L. Up until the 1970s, it was common to write "L" instead of "£".
As well as in the UK, the pound is also used in British overseas territories, such as the Isle of Man, and the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey. The pound is divided into 100 pence, although before the decimal system was introduced in 1971, the pound was split into quantities of other coins, including farthings, florins, threepence pieces, crowns, half crowns, and guineas.
As of 13th December 2021, one pound is equal to 0.7566 US dollars.