by James Rickards
The U.K. pound sterling held the dominant reserve currency role starting in 1816, following the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the official adoption of the gold standard by the U.K.
During the glory years of sterling as a global reserve currency, the exchange value of sterling was remarkably stable. In 2006, the U.K. House of Commons produced a 255-year price index for sterling that covered the period 1750–2005.
The index had a value of 5.1 in 1751. There were fluctuations due to the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War, but even as late as 1934, the index was at only 15.8, meaning that prices had only tripled in 185 years.