§ MR. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Chancellor, Whether, in view of the fact that, at the present moment, the supply of half-sovereigns in circulation is very largely in excess of the demand, as is evidenced by the unprecedentedly large amounts of these coins held by the private and joint stock banks, he will give instructions to suspend their further issue by the Mint for the present?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
, in reply, said, that the Queen had power to determine, by Proclamation, the denomination of coins to be coined at the Mint. Apart from that, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had no power to suspend the issue of half-sovereigns. So far, however, as the Mint was concerned, there was no fear of its issuing half-sovereigns in excess of the demand, because it only issued them when the Bank of England required a supply, and the Mint had no power to refuse such a demand. There had been no demand for half-sovereigns 1582 last year, and, consequently, none had been issued. He was aware that the half-sovereign was a most expensive coin; and it was, therefore, most undesirable that more should be coined than were absolutely required.