HC Deb 25 March 1892 vol 2 cc1821-2

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the serious inconvenience arising from the small number of shillings in proportion to florins and half-crowns now in circulation, and to the universal dislike of double florins and crown pieces; and whether he will direct a larger proportion of shillings to be issued in future, and limit the supply of double florins and crown pieces to the wants of coin-collectors?


The question of the hon. Member ignores what I have so often pointed out, that the Government have little power or influence in determining what class of coins should circulate, but that it is the public, and largely the bankers, who determine what silver shall circulate. The Bank, who act in this matter for the Mint, deliver to all the bankers or their other customers silver coins of such denominations as they ask for. If there is inconvenience through an insufficient number of shillings, employers of labour, tradesmen, clubs, railway authorities, publicans, or any bodies dispensing change, have simply to ask their bankers, or the Bank of England, for any additional amount of shillings and they can get them. At the Mint and at the Bank of England together there are at this moment 3,500,000 shillings at the disposal of the public if the public will only ask for them. On the other hand, if there are many florins and half-crowns in circulation, it is because these coins have been asked for and put in circulation by the persons who fetch silver from the Bank. There were 8,500,000 shillings issued to the Bank of England by the Mint in 1890–91, as compared with 4,500,000 half-crowns and florins together. With regard to double florins, no more will be issued. The hon. Member is entirely in error as to the dislike of crown pieces being universal. If the dislike were universal they would not be asked for at the Bank of England, but the Bank is continually asked for further quantities of that coin. These quantities go mainly to the large wage-paying centres. If I were to limit the issue of these crown-pieces, I should be thwarting the desire of the public in many parts of the country.