§ 46. Sir B. PETO
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the value in gold of eight of the half-crowns of the new coinage; what is the annual saving due to the debased silver currency; and the annual cost of a silver coinage of the same fineness of silver as that which was in circulation before the War?
The silver content of eight half-crowns of the old pre-1920 standard of fineness is worth about 8s. at the present price of silver bullion. The silver content of eight half-crowns of the present standard of fineness is worth about 4s. 4d. On a total circulation of £60,000,000, the difference in fineness would represent a difference in value of about £11,000,000. It is not possible to 809 turn these figures into a statement of annual profit and loss, since the demand for silver coins, the rate of recoinage, and the price of silver, are continually varying. Broadly speaking, the position has been for many years past that the profits on recoinage have not altogether sufficed to meet the expense of redeeming surplus silver coin.