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. (August 2014)
|David II (1329–1371): penny|
|+DAVID DEI GRACIA, crowned head left; sceptre before||[REX] SCT TOR Vm+, long cross; mullets in quarters.|
|18mm; 1.31 g; circa 1351–1357.|
The pound Scots (Modern Scots: Pund Scots, Middle Scots: Pund Scottis) was the unit of currency in the Kingdom of Scotland before the kingdom unified with the Kingdom of England in 1707. It was introduced by David I, in the 12th century, on the model of English and French money, divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. The Scottish currency was later debased relative to sterling and, by the time of James III, the pound sterling was valued at four pounds Scots.
In addition to the pound Scots, silver coins were issued denominated in merk, worth 13 shillings 4 pence (two-thirds of a pound Scots). When James VI became King James I of England in 1603, the coinage was reformed to closely match that of England, with 12 pounds Scots equal to the pound sterling. No gold coinage was issued from 1638 to 1700, but new silver coinage was issued from 1664 to 1707.
In 1707, the pound Scots was replaced by the pound sterling at a rate of 12 to 1 (1 pound Scots equal to 1s 8d sterling), although the pound Scots continued to be used in Scotland as a unit of account for most of the 18th century.
Today there is no distinct Pound Scots; but Scotland's three largest clearing banks (the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank) still print paper notes denominated in pounds sterling. These notes may be accepted as payment throughout the United Kingdom, but are much more commonly seen in Scotland; they represent the same Pound Sterling value as do Bank of England notes in England and Wales.
In 2015 the New Economics Foundation think tank, in association with Common Weal, published a sixty four page report recommending the introduction of a digital Pound Scots, following inspiration from other digital currencies like Bitcoin and local currencies like the Brixton pound. The suggestion was supported by a number of SNPs, MSPs and MPs including George Kerevan, MP for East Lothian. The report recommended the digital "ScotPound" be implemented via an "arms length public" bank, and that use of the ScotPound could be encouraged via a small payment to every Scottish household. Despite enthusiasm from members of the Scottish government such a project has yet to be launched. A private enterprise however has started a project similar to the proposed ScotPound called "ScotCoin"