Just after decimalisation in 1971, a pint of Okell’s bitter cost 11½ new pence.
We recently saw a bar tariff from a pub in Douglas from that time.
Now a pint of Okell’s bitter is around £4 in some Douglas pubs.
So why are we telling you this?
Well, it sheds some light on the proposal to withdraw pennies, 2ps and 5ps from circulation.
Back in 1971, the smallest denomination of currency was ½p. (The halfpenny was withdrawn in the eighties.)
In 1971, it meant that there were 23 of smallest-denomination coins in the 11½p cost of a pint.
If 10p becomes the lowest denomination coin after the consultation, it will take 40 of them to buy a pint.
That means that we’d still actually have more small change in our pockets than in 1971 if the suggestion is supported.
Many of our readers might be astonished that the two bob bit could become our smallest coin.
But nobody can be unaware of the massive effect inflation has had on the currency in the last 50 years.
The real problem might come if the coins are removed from the Isle of Man but not in the UK.
Surely holidaymakers will expect to spend ‘English’ pennies here.
Will Manx shops have to refuse them?
Our spending habits have changed a lot in recent years – and that has been exacerbated during the Covid crisis, when people were encourage to ‘tap’ with their credit or debit cards rather than handle cash.
Cash machines are being removed as people draw out money less frequently than they did.
Against this backdrop, the withdrawal of small change just seems inevitable and totally logical.