Monday, January 3, 2011

Pieces of Eight

From the 15th Century to the 19th Century, Spanish silver coins or pieces of eight were used as legal currency. They were all made by hand and weighed about 1 oz.

The US used them till 1857 and they were like our dollar today.

What was interesting about them was that they could be cut into 8 pieces to make change as well as quarters.
So if you sold something for two bits it meant 25 cents or quarter of a dollar.

It's unbelievable that the American currency was based on that of the Spanish dollar.
Pirates popularized it by stealing it and traders carried them on their ships to Manila, England and China.

American coins were minted in 1792 but the Spanish coin was preferred until 1857 when it was outlawed.

People knew a quarter as two bits. A dime was a short bit
15 cents was a long bit.
50 cents was 4 bits and 75 cents was known as 6 bits.

N.Y, Stocks were sold in 1/8ths of a dollar until 1997.

Today if you tell someone something is worth two bits, you basically tell them it's worth nothing.

People do not know the history of coins but I think the history is interesting, especially when told by the pirates who fought for trunks full of pieces of eight and to this day it is considered good luck to hammer one into the front of your boat . Luck is probably why the Chinese give children red packets with gold coins on New Years.

So ahoy thar maties argh! argh! argh!
Don't ya be a tryin to cheat me of my two bits of ale nor stealin me treasure map to Captain Blackbeards' Island where he be hidin his pieces of eight.

It's Pirate treasure and pirate treasure it will stay.


Money Jokes

What happened when the cat swallowed a coin? There was money in the kitty.

How can a can you double your money? By folding it in half.

Three animals were having a drink in a cafe, when the owner asked for the money. “I m not paying,” said the duck. “I’ve only got one bill and I m not breaking it.” “I’ve spent my last buck,” said the deer. “Then the duck ll have to pay,” said the skunk. “Getting here cost me my last scent.”

Dad, would you like to save some money? I certainly would, son. Any suggestions? Sure. Why not buy me a bike, then I won’t wear my shoes out so fast.

I hate paying my income tax. You should be a good citizen – why don’t you pay with a smile? I d like to but they insist on money

A doctor had been attending a rich old man for some time, but it became apparent that the old chap had not long to live. Accordingly, the doctor advised his wealthy patient to put his affairs in order. “Oh yes, I’ve done that,” said the old gentleman. “I’ve only got to make a will. And do you know what I m going to do with all my money? I m going to leave it to the doctor who saves my life.”

Have you heard about the new aftershave that drives women crazy? No! Tell me about it. It smells of $50 dollar bills.

At the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce meeting the treasurer reported a deficit of two hundred dollars. One of the chamber members stood up and said, “I vote that we donate half of it to the Red Cross and then give the other fifty dollars to the Salvation Army.”

A business man called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him he needed a visa. “Oh no I don t, I’ve been to China many times and never had to have one of those.” I double checked, and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, “Look, I’ve been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express.”

An English teacher asked her class to write an essay on what they do if they had a million dollars. Alec handed in a blank sheet of paper. Alec ! yelled the teacher, you’ve done nothing. Why? Because if I had a million dollars, that’s exactly what I would do !


George said...

Thanks for the jokes about money -- I enjoyed them.
I also enjoyed reading about Spanish pieces of eight. I knew most of that, but it is always a pleasure to read history.

A Lady's Life said...

George - I thought the pieces of eight was a good story to tell for New Years. Of course one could get a lot deeper into it but then it would become dry. lol

Baron's Life said...

an excellent piece of historical facts...very informative indeed...good jokes

Akelamalu said...

How interesting - I didn't know that!

A Lady's Life said...

Baron - we always hear about pieces of eight and now we know why they are called so. I thought it was interesting. lol

A Lady's Life said...

Akelamalu - I never knew how popular this coin was

Mama Zen said...

That last joke is hilarious! Smart kid!

A Lady's Life said...

mama zen - ya me too.
I'd sit there and get used to the idea first lol