This problem was created by Henry E. Dudeney and published in "Fireside Puzzles" in The Daily Mail on December 24, 1912.
Note: For more information on British currency and coins in circulation at that time, see British Currency.
Maud and Christine went into a shop, where, through some curious eccentricity, no change was given, and their joint purchases of Christmas presents amounted together to less than five shillings. "I find," said Maud, "that I shall require no fewer than six current [as of 1912] coins of the realm to pay for what I have bought."
Christine thought a moment and then exclaimed, "By a strange coincidence, I am in exactly the same difficulty!"
"Then we will pay the two bills together." But, to their astonishment, they still required six coins. What is the smallest possible amount of their purchases—both different.
Maud's purchase amount:
Christine's purchase amount:
If you need to enter fractions of a penny, for example 1½d, you can type "1 1/2". Solutions can also be written as decimals if required.
You may enter the two amounts in either order.
The two purchases amounted to 1s. 5¾d. and 1s 11½d., and their sum to 3s. 5½d. Not one of these three amounts can be paid in fewer than six current [as of 1912] coins of the realm.
URL: http://www.allfunandgames.ca/classics/christmasshopping.shtml.Last update: December 12, 2013.