Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:24 UK

7 questions on coins, notes and cash in general


The use of cash is in steady decline in the UK and will make up less than half of all transactions within five years, research from the Payments Council suggests. So test yourself on the history of coins and notes.


1.) Multiple Choice Question

Sir Isaac Newton is perhaps best known for his work on gravity, but late in life he also took charge of the Royal Mint. What monetary change was he responsible for?

Isaac Newton
  1. Adoption of paper money
  2. Move towards gold standard
  3. Face of monarch on all coins

2.) Multiple Choice Question

Which of these is not a term for the blank metal discs which get turned into coins?

  1. Planchet
  2. Flan
  3. Blank
  4. Coinette

3.) Multiple Choice Question

According to the Greek historian Herodotus, which people was the first to produce gold coinage?

Herodotus contemplates some spending
  1. Lydians
  2. Carians
  3. Persians
  4. Egyptians

4.) Multiple Choice Question

Many US coins carry mint marks. These are usually the letters P for Philadelphia, S for San Francisco, D for Denver and W. For what?

US coin
  1. Wilmington
  2. Washington DC
  3. Worcester
  4. West Point

5.) Multiple Choice Question

Which ancient culture regularly produced coins that were round but with a square or rectangular hole in the centre?

Coins with holes
  1. Ancient China
  2. Ancient Greece
  3. Ancient Egypt
  4. Ancient Babylonia

6.) Multiple Choice Question

Where are the first banknotes usually said to have come from?

  1. Egypt
  2. China
  3. India
  4. Japan

7.) Multiple Choice Question

The current Bank of England £20 note carries an image of Adam Smith and a quote from his most famous work. Which is it?

  1. The division of labour in pin manufacturing
  2. The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour
  3. Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money


  1. It was the gold standard - essentially a commitment that all money is backed up by gold reserves. In 1717, a report written by Newton fixed the relationship between gold and silver at a rate that shifted Britain inexorably towards the gold standard
  2. We just made up "coinette". All the rest are real words.
  3. He said it was the Lydians. This innovation may have been the work of the famous King Croesus or a predecessor. Who invented the concept of coinage itself is a much disputed subject.
  4. It is West Point, New York. Each is the location of a mint.
  5. It was ancient China. People were able to string coins together using the holes while travelling.
  6. The first widely circulated banknotes are thought to have been produced by the Song Dynasty in 10th Century China.
  7. The full quote on the £20 note is: "The division of labour in pin manufacturing: (and the great increase in the quantity of work that results)".

Your Score

0 - 3 : Brassic

4 - 6 : Take note

7 - 7 : Coining it

For a complete archive of past quizzes, including the Curriculum tests and our weekly news quiz 7 days 7 questions, visit the Magazine index and scroll down the page.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific