New Welsh Review

Winner of the Royal Mint Museum Remembering Decimalisation Competition

Ten-year-old Rhys Davies of Ysgol y Bannau, Brecon, wins short story competition celebrating decimalisation

PUBLISHED ON: 03/05/21


TAGS: The Royal Mint Museum, ageing, capital, renewal, story, young people

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The Life of an Old Shilling

I may be old but I have my own story to tell and this is it.

I used to be so helpful but now I am lost. Once bright and shiny. A lovely silver one shilling coin. Made in 1935 with King George V’s head looking back at everyone whose hands I went through. I used to pass from one person’s hand to another. From the housewife to shopkeeper, to shop managers, to the banks. I even been in the hands of famous people! Round and round across the UK, travelling in people’s hands and helping people every day.

I was used during the war to help buy material to make a bomb shelter and after the war I helped to rebuild the country. All the coins were so important, pounds, shillings and pennies. All working together to help the country.

When the Royal Mint made the new coins in February 1971, I was no longer needed. I wasn’t a useful coin any more. I no longer paid for food or rent. I wasn’t needed to pay for anything. No more travelling from hand to hand across the country. I was thrown in the back of a drawer and didn’t see the light for years.

But today I am back out of the drawer. I am back in the light. It has been 50 years since the new coins came along. But it is time to remember when coins like me were so important. I am going on a new adventure. Collectors everywhere and museums trying to grab hold of me. I may not be useful now but I am very special again.


The Royal Mint Museum’s Remembering Decimalisation competition winner, Rhys Daviesstory was chosen by judge Eloise Williams, the Children’s Laureate Wales, from hundreds of entries by young people between nine and eleven years. Rhys is ten years old and attends Ysgol y Bannau, Aberhonndu/Brecon.