I'm not sure if the whole series of Uncle books were published in the USA but I do know that 'Uncle' and 'Uncle Cleans Up' were published by Coward-McCann, Inc. of New York. The Chicago Tribune described them as "magnificent nonsense".

The Uncle stories all include humour that revolves around Uncle's wealth and Beaver's attempts to get hold of it.

In one story in 'Uncle Cleans Up' Uncle is tricked into staying at Skinner's Hotel and is presented with a fraudulent bill from the hotel. The hotel turns out to be another of Beaver's scams.

 

In order for American readers to appreciate this humour the American edition includes a foreword which attempts to explain the arcane monetary system used in the UK at that time - £.s.d

Uncle's Money

 

In Uncle's country they use pounds, shillings and pence. As the Old Monkey does Uncle's accounts, we asked him what they were worth in U.S. money.

"A farthing," he said, is so small that it's only used nowadays by the dwarfs. It's worth the fourth of a penny."

"How much is a penny?"

"Oh,sir that's easy! A cent - you also call a cent a penny! Then twelve pennies make a shilling."

"Twelve pennies? So a shilling's rather more than a dime?"

"That's right, sir. And a two-bob piece - I mean, a two shilling piece - is rather more than a quarter. Then, of course, twenty shillings make a pound-"

"Of course? How much is a pound worth? Let's see - about three dollars?"

"Very roughly. And I always reckon, sir, that a million pounds is worth about three million dollars." The Old Monkey added: "Very roughly."

"But what about these others - half-crowns, guineas?"

"Half-a-crown is two shillings and sixpence, and a guinea is a pound and a shilling. This is how you write them down."

He took his slate and wrote:

Half-a-crown - 2s 6d

A guinea £1 1s od

Return to Books links