Where does the term sterling as in 'pounds sterling' originate?
Pound sterling, the basic monetary unit of Great Britain, divided (since 1971) decimally into 100 new pence. The term is derived from the fact that, about 775, silver coins known as "sterlings" were issued in the Saxon kingdoms , 240 of them being minted from a pound of silver, the weight of which was probably about equal to the later troy pound. Hence, large payments came to be reckoned in "pounds of sterlings," a phrase later shortened to "pounds sterling.".
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