Pound sterling

Pound sterling

The British pound is the currency of the United Kingdom and 9 British overseas territories. Its name comes from the Latin “libra”, which was a weighing unit used in the past.

The pound is the third currency in circulation in the world after the US dollar and the Euro. The pound sterling is divided from the 1971 decimalization process into 100 pence.

Orígenes de la libra

Origins of the British pound

Origins of the British pound

The pound was originally the value of the weight of a Pound Sterling Silver Tower (hence it is called “pound sterling”). Specifically it was the basic Roman unit of weight, which was derived from the Latin “libra” (scales).

Symbol of the pound

The ISO 4217 code of the pound sterling is GBP (Great Britain Pound) also known as pound (singular) or “quids” (plural).

The symbol of the pound is today £. Although originally it was this other one, ₤, with two crossbars. This symbol is formed from the letter “L”, of the abbreviation LSD (librae, solidi, denarii) which was used respectively for pounds, shillings and pennies in the original duodecimal monetary system.

For its part, the penny symbol is a pe “p”. Colloquially, the 50 pence coin (£ 0.50) is usually pronounced (in English) as “fifty pee” instead of “fifty pence” (this to help distinguish between new and old pennies during the changeover of one monetary system to another).

Pound banknotes

Today you can find in circulation British pound banknotes of these denominations: £5, £10, £20, £50. There are also, although circulation is poor notes of £1 and £100.

Billete de 10 libras

Billete de 10 libras

The agency responsible for issuing these pound notes is the Bank of England. You can read more on the pound legal tender today in case you are planning a trip to the UK.

Pound coins

As for coins, the present denominations in circulation in the UK are as follows (including pence):

  • 1p,
  • 2p,
  • 5p,
  • 10p,
  • 20p,
  • 50p
  • £1 and
  • £2.
Monedas de libra

Pound coins

The agency responsible for coining these coins us “The Royal Mint“, which also produces coins por other 60 countries.

The pound in the world

The pound is used today in some British Overseas Territories as Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (1390 km southeast of the Falkland Islands), the territory British Antarctic or in Tristan da Cunha.

In the remaining ones, other currencies that are referenced to the pound sterling are used. We talk about the Gibraltarian pound (Gibraltar), the Falkland Islands pound (Falkland Islands) or the Santa Elena pound (122 km2 archipelago west of Africa).

On the Caribbean island of Anguilla the Caribbean-East Dollar is used, in Bermuda the Bermudian dollar, in Pitcairn Islands the New Zealand dollar and in Cayman Islands its local dollar. In Montserrat the East Caribbean dollar is the circulation currency.

Compara precios hoy: bancos, casas de cambio y aeropuerto

Finally, in Acrotiri and Dhekelia (sovereign bases of the United Kingdom on the island of Cyprus) the euro is used. And in the Caribbean Turks and Caicos Islands and in the British Virgin Islands, despite being British overseas territories, the US dollar is used.

Euro to pound exchange rate

The Euro to Pound rate oscillates at all times. If you search Google for “Euro to pound rate” you will find dozens of websites that offer a “price” of the day, even with the prices of Google Finance. Something like this (prices from the last 12 months to October 23rd, 2019):

Euro to pound exchange rate Google Finance October 23 2019

Euro to pound exchange rate Google Finance October 23 2019

As you can see, the exchange rates last year has ranged between 0.86 and 0.93 pounds per euro, but keep in mind that this graph represents the value of the “currency” against the euro, and not that of the banknotes, which is lower (worse). In fact, in the currency suppliers in Spain you can buy pound sterling at an exchange rate of between 0.85 pounds for each euro, nothing to do with the euro to pound currency exchange.

But keep this in mind:

-This is an unreliable rate. That is, if you click on the “Disclaimer” link, you get this Google Finance warning:

“Google cannot guarantee the accuracy of the exchange rates shown. Confirm the current rates before making a transaction that can be affected by changes in exchange rates. “

-These rates you see on the Internet are usually wholesale prices of the pound currency versus the euro currency;

-These rates are only accesible to high street banks. That is, it is impossible to get them as an individual.

If you need pounds in banknotes you will have to go through the retail market (bank or cuurency supplier). This market means that the pounds have had to be “transported” by someone for you to enjoy them. In other words, moving notes from one place to another has logistic costs that will make their selling price more expensive (the exchange rate that will be applied to you by the supplier).

-The pound is a very common and abundant currency in Spain, so it is easy to find it always available for sale, since the exchange suppliers that receive tourists using the British currency, change it for euros when they visit us. Therefore suppliers and high street banks have abundant stocks and dispose of the currency at reasonable exchange rates.

-You will find the best pound to euro and euro to pound rates in very touristic areas that receive thousands of British tourists (Mediterranean coast, Balearic Islands, Madrid and Barcelona).

Where to change pounds in Spain

The 3 most popular places to exchange pounds in Spain are high street banks, currency suppliers and the airport. You could also exchange from peers but it is not worth it because, being Spain a country that receives about 80 million tourists a year, of which 25% British citizens, there are shortages in pound sterling supplies.

However, the least recommended places in Spain to exchange euros for pounds are, in this order:

  • airports because they share revenue with the airport owner and are really very expensive (as you probably know well);
  • high street banks: because practically every single one charges you a spread as well as a commission of around 3% of the volumen you change, with a minimum of about 10 euros;
  • any cuureny supplier that charges you a commission in addition to a “margine” (difference between the price for which it bought the currency and the price for which it sells you). That is why Cambiator is an interesting option for you: our collaborators do not charge commissions and have competitive rates.

Euro to pound exchange today in Spain

To know the euro to pound exchange rate today (and pound to euro) in Spanish exchange suppliers, high street banks and airports, the best thing you can do is use our currency rates comparison engine, absolutely free for users. Click on the link of your interest if you want to buy pounds or sell them in exchange for euros:

Compara precios hoy: bancos, casas de cambio y aeropuerto

Other popular currencies

Best rate of the day (exchange euros to another currency)

1 EUR = 0.928 USD
1 EUR = 0.878 GBP
Cech koruna
1 EUR = 21.867 CZK
Turkish lira
1 EUR = 15.316 TRY
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