HC Deb 26 August 1907 vol 182 cc160-1
MR. ESSEX (Gloucestershire, Cirencester)

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will have placed in the Library or other room of this House, for the inspection of Members, specimens of all the nickel, or other inexpensive alloys, coins now in use in the various Colonies and Dependencies of the Empire.


The coins may be inspected at the Mint; but if there is any general demand to have them exhibited in the Library, I will arrange to have specimens shown there next session. I would, however, point out to my hon friend that the alloys of which those coins are made are more costly than bronze, and cannot therefore be strictly described as inexpensive.


I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will in all future issues of British coins of low values now minted in bronze have such coins made of similar light and cleanly form and metal as the new nickel coins recently minted for the use of the British Colonies in Eastern and Western Africa.


The new nickel-bronze coin (10 cents) now being issued for Uganda is heavier than the Imperial bronze penny, and the nickel-bronze penny for West Africa is of the same weight. My right hon. friend does not believe that the substitution of nickel-bronze for bronze would be satisfactory to those who use most largely the existing subsidiary bronze coinage. Aluminium would not be a satisfactory metal for our coins, and both nickel-bronze and aluminium would be more costly. A concurrent issue and circulation of nickel and bronze coins would lie attended with great practical difficulties, and the substitution of nickel for bronze in a coinage in which silver pieces of small denomination are so largely used would probably lead to much confusion and inconvenience.

In reply to a further Question by Mr. ESSEX,


said the possibility of confusion was a very serious one, particularly with people not accustomed to make the distinction. The West African nickel coins were distinguished by being perforated. The statement as to comparative cost was based on the actual cost of the bronze, nickel-bronze, and aluminium coins now being issued by the Mint.