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Pounds Shillings and Pence

Pounds Shillings and Pence

Didn't find your answer?

Looking through a 1959 magazine I noticed you could buy a TV for 19 Guineas cash, or 20/7 deposit plus 19 weeks at 19/11.

I wonder how many of you can work out how much more the TV would cost if bought on credit.

See how long it takes you to work it out!

Of course it would show your age (it took me 3 minutes with a calculator)

Calculators are allowed although we didn't have them back then.

Replies (55)

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
27th Jan 2015 09:00

Ask again in 5 days

Seriously, you're asking a trivia question in the closing week of January?

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
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By ugdiv
27th Jan 2015 17:43

Thanks for all the replies, nice to know we still have people who can switch number systems between base 12, base 20 and base 21.

And if we include halfpennies and farthings, bases 2 and 4.

I miss the good old days!

(not)

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
27th Jan 2015 09:16

The answer is

19 guineas, the same cost for credit as for cash.

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By thomas34
27th Jan 2015 09:30

Agreed

So they had interest-free inducements in 1959 as well (but confess it took me a little more than the 3 minutes).

 

 

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Woolpit Gus
By nutwood
27th Jan 2015 09:36

No, we didn't have calculators

Well I was still in Junior school in 1959 but when I entered Articles we didn't have calculators but we did have comptometer operators who you could book to check additions etc. on larger clients.  On small jobs you had to use your brain!

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Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
27th Jan 2015 09:59

I did not

nutwood wrote:

Well I was still in Junior school in 1959 but when I entered Articles we didn't have calculators but we did have comptometer operators who you could book to check additions etc. on larger clients.  On small jobs you had to use your brain!

I did not quite exist in 1959 so must be part of the last school cohort to be taught £, shillings and pence.

The only reason I am familiar with guineas (not sure when they ceased really being used as a unit of money) is because my Father told me that his law firm used to bill in same. Per my Father the Firm's part was the pound and the clerk's office got the shilling.(how distributed no idea)

I was told at the accountancy firm I started with in 1985  that it  had  comptometer operators up to a couple of years before I started, so that would be circa 1982/83.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By ver1tate
28th Jan 2015 23:40

comptometer operators

As a youngster I was a wages clerk for a large lociafirm. Actually there were over a hundred of us, though not quite a gross. It was easy work, mainly checking that the workers time sheets added up to 40 hours, and noting this down on the main wages sheet. The problems arose when they did not work a full 40 hours, or worked overtime. The calculations were simple, such as 30 hours at 8 bob an hour, or 40 hours at 8 bob an hour plus 8 hours at time and a half. but the management in its wisdom had installed comptometers and staff to work out these simple sums for us, and mayhem was caused every week with scores of wages clerks waiting in line for one of the half dozen comptometer operators to work the sums out for us. 

Naturally the turnover in wage clerks was fairly high as we all saw the dangers in not being allowed to use our brains.

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By dnicholson
27th Jan 2015 09:45

No calculator, but quite a while
Also 19 guineas.

19 x 19/11 is £19 less 19p = £18-18-5
Assuming 20/7 is £1-0-7, total is £19-19-0.

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By andy.partridge
27th Jan 2015 09:51

Decimal currency pedant alert

Not 19p, surely 19d.

Actually it's not even that.

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By TerryD
27th Jan 2015 10:42

Took me about 5 seconds - probably rather sadly, I can still think in £sd, and I still have in my drawer a few old pennies and a tanner for the purpose of shove ha'penny football.

I remember very well the changeover to decimal currency. We were having a man come in to change all the office adding machines to decimal. At that time there was an old chap called Albert that worked in the office (I think he'd been there for about 200 years) and he was terrified of this whole decimalisation business. Rather cruelly, we teased him about it and, amongst other things, told him that when this engineer came, not only was he going to change the adding machines, but he would also have to chop 2 inches off the 12-inch rulers to comply with the new regulations.

The engineer duly turned up with his screwdriver and began playing around with the adding machines, when in walked Albert, looking very pleased with himself. "Here, you'll be needing these!" he proudly announced as he handed over all the office's 12-inch rulers to the bemused engineer!

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By andy.partridge
27th Jan 2015 10:50

Memory lane

I remember the first day and excitedly getting my sweeties from the corner shop.

Anyone remember the BBC information programmes? Altogether now, 'Decimalisation, decimalise, decimalisation will change your lives.'

Roll on February   . .

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By JDBENJAMIN
27th Jan 2015 11:08

I remember that BBC programme. It was called Decimal Five....

...as it was five minutes long. I couldn't understand why everyone thought the new currency was hard to adapt to. One of the programme's jingles was 'One pound is a hundred new pennies, a hundred pennies make a pound', played over and over again, as if that were a difficult concept to grasp.. As a six year-old in 1971, I began to wonder if the adult population were simpletons!

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By TerryD
27th Jan 2015 10:55

And the adverts on telly 

And the adverts on telly "give more, get change"! Of course, it was all fully explained in The Archers (that well-known public service programme).

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David Winch
By David Winch
27th Jan 2015 18:02

An easy one

If eggs a two shillings & three pence a dozen how much does each egg cost? (To the nearest farthing, obviously!)

David

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Replying to Accountant A:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
27th Jan 2015 22:52

My Two-penneth Worth

davidwinch wrote:

If eggs a two shillings & three pence a dozen how much does each egg cost? (To the nearest farthing, obviously!)

David

Well at twopence ha'penny each a dozen would cost half a crown, so I reckon twopence farthing each.

 

footnote:

19 guineas = £19/19s

20 x £1 = £20 then adjust for the pennies -(19 x 1d) + 7d= 1 bob; so that also comes to £19/19s

6 seconds: I claim second place! Why would anyone need a calculator for that?

btw, prior to decimilisation every barrow boy versus housewife transaction involved similar mental agility from both parties :)

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By TerryD
27th Jan 2015 18:04

Depends if they're being sold by a grocer or a baker.

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By BKD
27th Jan 2015 19:53

.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
27th Jan 2015 22:51

Housewife v Barrowboy, 1960

Which bananas are the best buy?

7oz for 2/11d

or

1/2 lb @ fourpence farthing an ounce.

Assume no ration book is needed.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
27th Jan 2015 23:21

6d cheaper is....

...the wrong answer! You've slipped up, Basil.

tip: always work in pennies. And there are no straight bananas; they're all rather a gay yellow.

EDIT: Correction, is the right answer "on a purchase of 1/2 lb".  Give that boy a Mars bar!

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By Marion Hayes
28th Jan 2015 22:15

@DJKL

Guineas are still used at sales - Bloodstock auctions as well as fine art I believe

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
29th Jan 2015 01:04

Cross Modular Question

Somewhere back in the distant 'eighties, we had a savvy gal to input everyone's debit and credit sheets in a three partner firm with a structured heirarchy of serfs; so that if you were a middle of the road audit senior then your inputs would be constantly relegated to the bottom of the pile, more often than not out-trumped by the partners and other special cases jumping the queue.

The trick was to give our blonde bottleneck a wink and a winning smile - all the more so if you were prone to mixing up your debits with your credits. Otherwise you'd wait a week or so just to get back to square one.

Similar to your comptometer operator bottleneck, I guess.

None of which has much to do with the original LSD post. Let's bring it back to bear: apples cost 3d (three old pennies) a lb (pound) in the local market, but in the price war Fine Fare supermarket is able to purchase them for a crown (five shillings) a score.

Q1 How much is Fine Fare's discount?

Q2 What part of speach is "war"?*

*For mentally challenged readers or those born post-1990, speach is generally divided into constituent nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other components. Google Wikipedia's "Parts of Speach for Retards and under 25's" for a synopsis.

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Out of my mind
By runningmate
29th Jan 2015 07:34

Speach

What part of speech is a "speach"?

RM

P.S. Bellum gero is a verb.

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Replying to Matrix:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
30th Jan 2015 08:18

Triumphs of Substance Over Form?

runningmate wrote:

What part of speech is a "speach"?

RM

P.S. Bellum gero is a verb.

Arghhh! I've been urbanised mate, innit?  http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Speach

P.S. "war" in the given context of a supermarket price war is an abstract noun. Full marks for style, though.

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By ugdiv
29th Jan 2015 08:31

Original advert

For those interested, here is the advert.

Was an average customer supposed to calculate the first payment?

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Replying to Pukka:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
30th Jan 2015 09:01

Just Looking?

ugdiv wrote:

For those interested, here is the advert.

Was an average customer supposed to calculate the first payment?

And, more importantly, would the average customer spot these were clapped-out second-hand sets with a new tube fitted? The "salvaged but reconditioned" valves - the equivalent of modern-day chips - demonstrate how adept we were at recycling back then ("Make Do and Mend"). Not sure how you reconditioned a valve though - that's rather like reconditioning a lightbulb. No wonder they carry only a 3 month guarantee.

There are a lot of hidden extras to jack up your instalments: delivery 30 bob; legs 25 bob; and 7/6d for extra coils. (That latter extra is I suppose for optimists who expected the number of broadcast channels to exceed 12 during the set's lifetime).

So thank you for posting the advert, but I don't think I'm interested in one.

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Replying to gainsborough:
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By ugdiv
30th Jan 2015 11:34

And the first payment will be?

"4 weekly payments in advance plus 30/- carriage."

So will the first payment be 20/7 + (4x 19/11)  + 30/- ?

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Replying to NatashaIEL:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
30th Jan 2015 11:43

You Wouldn't Have a Leg to Stand On

ugdiv wrote:

"4 weekly payments in advance plus 30/- carriage."

So will the first payment be 20/7 + (4x 19/11)  + 30/- ?

Don't forget the legs. The 3 month guarantee is invalid if you position the TV on the floor.

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Replying to Pukka:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
30th Jan 2015 11:52

Great investment

ugdiv wrote:

For those interested, here is the advert.

Was an average customer supposed to calculate the first payment?

 

Great investment given what some of the old TV's now go for.

I like the fact that a rough drawing of what it looks like is sufficient for the advert, none of this photo nonsense to let the customer see what he/she is buying. Still, the buying experience in store was probably more pleasant than today, lots of sirs/madams.

 I also like the fact that it has salvaged but reconditioned valves, very environmentally friendly.

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By Ken Howard
29th Jan 2015 09:18

Shows the effectiveness of rote-teaching up to 12 times tables doesn't it?

If you know the times tables, all the imperial measures are dead easy.  Back in the day, the times tables were taught by rote so basically everyone knew them and were then "functionally numerate" even if they were poor at arithmetic in other respects. 

Funny how that the factor of 10 and metrification was supposed to make things easier, and now of course we all have computers and iphones to do the sums, so don't even need to use our heads, but in reality, more people than ever at carp at everyday sums!

Just pondering the other day with my older generation of clients who still use hand-written account books that more often than not add up and cross cast properly (many will have been added mentally rather than by calculator).  Then I thought of my younger clients who produce spreadsheets with columns and rows that more often that not don't add up nor cross cast properly!  Makes you think doesn't it!

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By TerryD
29th Jan 2015 14:33

I recognise that television! If you bumped into it, it would gently sway atop those spindly legs (which were black: the rest was teak effect).

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By David Winch
29th Jan 2015 15:21

Ahhh, D-Day!

My strongest memory of that day in February 1971 was that the price of a pint in our College bar went down from half-a-crown to 12p!

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Replying to CARyan:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
30th Jan 2015 08:22

Picture Perfect

David Winch wrote:

My strongest memory of that day in February 1971 was that the price of a pint in our College bar went down from half-a-crown to 12p!

And that explains why you looked so happy in your avatar.

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By Brian Gooch
30th Jan 2015 11:22

No problem

I was born in 1972 but can't see a problem with this - I calculated in shillings to compare rather than pennies, but same difference really.

The extra channels point is really interesting - even at analogue switch off the frequency spectrum in use couldn't, allowing for overlaps between regions, handle more than half a dozen channels!  I suppose they may have envisaged a cable network with distribution over the same frequency spectrum.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
30th Jan 2015 11:45

West Germany 0 Stalingrad Linesman 1

We watched the World Cup Final on one of these old 405 line jobs - the picture was much grainier than the 625 lines that came later and was prone to tumbling, sometimes freezing halfway so that the sky was in the bottom half-window and Geoff Hurst was scoring goals in the top half-window.

The only known cure was to bang sharply on the side of the cabinet, in the style of Arthur Fonzarelli. No wonder we all thought the ball was over the line!

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David Winch
By David Winch
30th Jan 2015 11:53

We must have had better eyesight back then to see what was going on on a 17" screen across the other side of the room!

David

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By Pastoral Worker
30th Jan 2015 11:57

Turnd

Easy questions really if you were at school in the 50's

At school my maths teacher had Turnd in his register as my surname was Turnpenney. (No forenames in those days of course). Surname certainly helped me to add up in the old coinage

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By chicken farmer
30th Jan 2015 12:16

A 17 inch tele David?

You were lucky - we 'ad to mek do wi' a 10 inch cardboard box!

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By pawncob
30th Jan 2015 12:43

I've donated

Several items to this museum. Lots of memories.

 

http://www.rewindmuseum.com/vintagetv.htm

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By stanbu
30th Jan 2015 17:09

Decimalisation

My mother was 56 when decimalisation came in and refused to think or talk in anything except £sd. She was convinced that it was merely a passing phase!! Who knows, she may still be proved right....

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By TerryD
30th Jan 2015 17:50

The landlady of a pub not far from us refused to accept decimalisation too, so all her prices continued to be in £sd. People thought she was just being "quaint", but when they paid in new pence coins, a translation difference often arose, and in whose till do you think all these fractions ended up?

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By Marion Hayes
31st Jan 2015 12:01

Redifusion

Why would anyone buy?

We had a rented TV service in Nottingham through Redifusion - it was a cable service and included TV and Radio.

It was a horrible shock to move to Lincolnshire and discover the cable didn't reach and we had to get a TV  and a radio. That needed an aeriel too - thank heaven for Radio Rentals.

p.s. edited this was from the early 50's right through to 1976 when we moved

 

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RLI
By lionofludesch
31st Jan 2015 13:38

Shopkeeper

My uncle had a shop and one of his elderly customers used to just hold her purse out and let him take what he wanted.

Another uncle always converted his bets into £sd as it was easier to work out.   240d divides by a lot more numbers than 100p.

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By Caber Feidh
02nd Feb 2015 04:00

Sums in my village primary school

The headmaster in the Scottish village primary school that I attended many, many years ago “taught” the final year himself. He used to present us with shop bills containing lists of items like “2¼ doz eggs at 2/7¾ per doz”. The prescribed procedure was to convert the 2/7¾ to decimal, with three figures after the decimal point, on the basis that each farthing was one and one-twenty-fourth of a thousandth of a pound, giving £0.132 in my example. The 2¼ doz then cost £0.297. The reverse conversion into £sd, namely 5/11¼, was rather more challenging. (Before anyone comments, I do realise that straightforward multiplication, without the decimalisation, would give 5/11½.)

This kept the class busy for a couple of hours while the headmaster retired to deal with his admin. I only discovered many years later that his admin was all at the bar of the local tavern. As it was a village school only two of us could actually manage these calculations. The other lad later became an accountant. He must have become a good one for he took a first class degree at Glasgow University.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
02nd Feb 2015 08:11

Village School

Ah - I wondered about the name, Caber Feidh.  Shinty man ?

I went to a village school myself.  There were two in my class.  Nothing like a good grounding in Hard Sums using imperial measures.  An acre is a chain by a furlong - or furrow-length.  In mediaeval times, villeins would be allocated an acre and they'd want a long thin bit of land so that they didn't have to turn the plough so often. The village had - still has - ancient arrow straight, parallel footpaths, exactly two furlongs apart, which would have marked the ends of those acres. 

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By andrew.hyde
02nd Feb 2015 10:00

Duodecimal

There is talk now of making children learn 12x tables again.  The only point of this knowledge (traditionally) was that there were 12 pennies in a shilling, and 12 inches in a foot.  But it's surprising how often I still fall back on knowing that seven twelves are (hopefully still) eighty-four.

The answer I think is that the duodecimal base is more logical and useful than the decimal system that humans use.  We use decimal for the simple reason that we have ten fingers.  Ann Boleyn allegedly had more but was handicapped in her later career by having one fewer head than the average.

Duodecimal is actually more flexible because 12 is divisible exactly by 1, 2, 3 and 4.  Whereas 10, when divided by 3 or 4 (but not 5) gives awkward fractions.  When the little green men from Mars finally arrive and turn out to be far more advanced than we are, it will be because they have six digits on each hand.

Even octal (base 8) is a better system than decimal.  The only reason that arachnids have not been dominant in the field of mathemetics is that they find it difficult holding a piece of chalk or using a standard computer mouse.

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Replying to murphy1:
By johngroganjga
02nd Feb 2015 12:21

Fractions

andrew.hyde wrote:

Duodecimal is actually more flexible because 12 is divisible exactly by 1, 2, 3 and 4.

And - more to the point - 240 is divisible by many more numbers.

I still remember learning that a third of a £ was 6/8d, a sixth was 3/4d, a twelfth was 1/8d etc.  

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Replying to murphy1:
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By Vaughan Blake1
02nd Feb 2015 15:35

Duodecimal 4 me!

andrew.hyde wrote:

Duodecimal is actually more flexible because 12 is divisible exactly by 1, 2, 3 and 4.  Whereas 10, when divided by 3 or 4 (but not 5) gives awkward fractions. 

Which is why my new incorporations all have 120 shares rather than 100!

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By Exector
02nd Feb 2015 12:20

Old money but how much?

I was wondering what the equivalent of 19gns would be in current spending power equivalent. I have a suspicion somewhat more pro-rata than the cost of cheap modern LCD TVs.

Just got some figs from a web-based calcualtor  as at 2013:

 

real price of that commodity is £405.00
labour value of that commodity is £921.90
income value of that commodity is £1,071.00

Lots of brand new ( not reconditioned valves!) LCD TVs up to c 42" for under £200.

 

Interesting!

 

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RLI
By lionofludesch
02nd Feb 2015 12:30

Duodecimal

Bit late to change now, though.

Haven't seen octal for ages.  I think it's been replaced by hexadecimal.

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By rochabrava
02nd Feb 2015 14:06

Decimalisation = inflation

I remember the inflation caused by decimalisation.  I used to buy a lb of apples for a shilling, and fairly soon after decimalisation the cost was 10p.  To the non-mathmatical brain 1s. sounds like it should equal 10p, not 5p, so that is what the shopkeeper charged!  

 

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