There is the following sentence in the New York Time’s (July 24) article titled, “A Chinese gold standard?” written by its Op-Ed Contributor, Kwasi Kwarteng.
“For most of the 19th century the British pound had been the world’s “reserve currency," the currency in which trade and finance were denominated. “As sound as a pound” became a widely used expression. The pound was pegged to gold at a fixed rate of just under £4 per ounce”. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/25/opinion/a-chinese-gold-standard-renminbi.html
I am interested in finding out whether the idiom, “As sound as a pound” still holds its currency today or not, when the pound has given its post as the key currency to US Dollar, with Chinese Yuan at its heels now.
Although the author says “As sound as a pound” was a widely used expression, Google Ngram doesn’t show the record of any incidence of “As sound as a pound, ” over the past 170 years, but Urban dictionary gives the definition of this phrase as:
“The word sound showing approval and acknowledgement and pound to show whatever you are referring to. Therefore showing approval towards something. Originally from the days when the pound coin was introduced was said around London as there was a good exchange rate. Example: "The party was sound as a pound". Showing good humored feelings towards it.
Was the expression, “As sound as a pound” popular as the NYT article writer says, and still is current? If not, what word can I substitute for “Pound” with, e.g. dollar, gold, Federal Reserve Bank or something else to express a 100 % assurance by using 'sound as X' pattern?
BTW. We have a Japanese cliché to express a 100 per cent certainty – 大地を槌で叩くより確か- as sound (certain) as the chances of your hitting the ground with your hammer without miss.