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Mark (English money)

The word mark (from an apparently non-Teutonic word found in all Teutonic and Romance languages, and Latinized as marca or marcus) originally expressed a measure of weight only for gold and silver, commonly used throughout western Europe and equivalent to 8 oz (ounces). Considerable variations, however, occurred throughout the Middle ages (see Du Cange, Gloss. med. et infim. Lat., s.v. Marca for a full list).

In England the "mark" never appeared as a coin, but as a money of account only, and apparently came into use in the 10th century through the Danes. It first equalled 100 pennies, but after the Norman Conquest equalled 160 pennies = 2/3 of the pound sterling, or 13s. 4d., and therefore in Scotland 31/2d. English.

The mark (merk) Scots comprised a silver coin of this value, issued first in 1570 and afterwards in 1663.

(Original text from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.)

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