Balance Half Merk
A Scottish coin which owes its origin to the mediaeval Mark, which was originally a weight, next a money of ac- count, and lastly a coined piece.
The Merk first appears in the Scottish series of money, as a coin, in 1591, where a " Balance Half Merk " of James VI is mentioned. See Patrick, Records of the Coinage of Scotland (i. introd. and pp. 118, 177, 253, ii. pl. 9). These were fol- lowed by the Thistle Merk (q.v.) of 1601 and later.
The value of the Merk continued to be two thirds of the Pound (i.e., 13s. 4d.), but when James VI ascended the English throne the Scottish money had so deteri- orated that it compared to the English as one to twelve. The Double Merk was also known as the Thistle Dollar. See Noble.
See Also: Merk
Source: Frey's Dictionary (American Journal of Numismatics, Vol. 50, 1916)