HC Deb 17 June 1902 vol 109 c838

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the profit on the coinage of the shilling and the half-crown at the present price of silver; and will he explain why, in the case of the Australian Commonwealth, the British Government appropriates the entire profit on the coinage of silver for Australia, while in the case of the Dominion of Canada the Canadian Government mints its own silver and secures the profit; and, whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that Australia is a silver producing country; and that, in view of the great fall in the price of silver, Australia sells her silver for less than two shillings and buys it back when it has passed our Mint at the rate of nearly six shillings per ounce.


At the present price of silver, the gross profit on the coinage of silver sterling from bullion is in the case of a half-crown approximately Is. 7d., and in that of a shilling 7½d., but from this gross profit the cost of manufacture, etc, which is considerable, should be deducted to arrive at the net profit. I have no accurate estimate of this. The law provides that the Exchequer shall receive the profit on the silver coinage for sterling-using Colonies, of which the Australian Commonwealth is one; and we bear the loss on the gold coined there. The Dominion of Canada is not a sterling-using Colony, but has a local token coinage of its own. The last paragraph of the question is a matter of argument.