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(or pound), a monetary unit of Great Britain. The pound sterling is divided into 100 pence (before February 1971, 1 pound sterling = 20 shillings = 240 pence).
Silver coins with the value of a pound sterling have been minted since the 11th century, and gold coins, since the mid-14th century. Banknotes in pounds sterling were first issued by the Bank of England in 1694. In 1816 a gold monetary standard was introduced in Great Britain, with the official gold content of the pound sterling set at 7.322382 g of pure gold. The standard remained in effect until August 1914. A gold-bullion standard was used from April 1925 through September 1931.
After the gold standard was abandoned and the conversion of banknotes to gold ceased, the pound sterling depreciated: its parity in relation to the US dollar declined from $4.86653 to $3.5 by 1932. The pound was subsequently devalued several times. In 1967 its rate of exchange with the US dollar was $2.4, the official gold content of the pound being equal to 2.13281 g. The currency parity of the pound sterling and the relatively narrow limits of the fluctuation of its exchange rate have not been officially supported since June 1972 (a floating exchange rate is now used).
In June 1977 the exchange rate of the pound sterling with the US dollar was $1.72, and the rate established by the State Bank of the USSR set 1 pound sterling equal to 1 ruble 28 kopeks.
E. D. ZOLOTARENKO