A groat refers to a historical European coin that was used as currency during the medieval and early modern periods. The term "groat" originated from the Old English word "grot," which meant both a grain and a small coin. It was first minted in the 13th century and circulated in various European countries like England, Scotland, and France until the 17th century. Initially made of silver, the groat often featured a distinct design on one side, typically depicting the reigning monarch of the issuing country, while the reverse typically displayed a symbol or crest.
The groat had significant value in its time and was often used for larger transactions or as a form of savings. Its worth varied depending on the economic stability of the issuing country. The coin's size and weight also changed over time, as governments sought to devalue or control their currency. Groat denominations varied, but it generally represented a quarter or four pennies. In some cases, larger denominations were minted, such as the later English three-pence coin.
Today, the groat is predominantly considered a historical artifact. Although no longer in circulation, it serves as a valuable historical reference and is often collected by numismatists for its aesthetic and monetary significance. Through studying the groat and its role in currency history, one can gain a deeper understanding of the economic systems and cultural practices of the past.
The word "groat" originated from Middle English "grote" which was derived from Old English "grōt", meaning a small piece of money. It is ultimately derived from Proto-Germanic "grautaz", meaning "tiny particle" or "grain". The term was used to refer to a small coin in medieval England, typically made of silver.