HC Deb 18 October 1946 vol 427 cc1246-8
Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)

I beg to move, in page 5, line 5, at the end, to insert:

examples. There are a few other things I would like to say about them. In the old days there was always an inscription "Decus et tutamen" on the edge of the coin instead of milling, although the last two issues have not had it. When it is issued in the new coinage it would be rather nice to have an inscription round it again. It would be the only British coin with an inscription round the edge. The last two issues have had on the reverse a representation of the Royal Arms. Several previous issues had very handsome representations of St. George and the Dragon. I think it is time that St. George and the Dragon returned to an honourable place in our coinage. It has always been a magnificent symbol of this country and never more than now when we have just emerged victorious from a great war, having slain the dragon. Let that be the symbol of our approach to the many difficulties of today.

I hope the crown will be retained in the list of coins, and I hope its circulation will be increased, with a new design on which our national patron saint shall play his historic part in the coinage of this Realm. I am told by those who know better than anyone else that the Amendment is correct. I very much hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept it. By doing so he will be doing a minor piece of work of historic value.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I am very happy to say that the Government are able on this occasion to accept this Amendment, and to see that it is embodied in the Bill. I ought perhaps to add that in actual fact no Amendment is necessary. The reason why the crown does not appear in the Schedule is that for sometime now crowns have not been made. But that does not mean that they cannot legally be made. They can be made under the original 1870 Act and power is taken by Proclamation under this Bill in Clause 3 for the crown to be made again. I look forward to the time when they will be made again. I remember as a small boy how fascinated I used to be by a crown piece, and particularly with the wording round the edge, and St. George and the Dragon on the reverse. I think we should show more imagination in what we put on the reverse of our coins. I was delighted when the little robin was put on the farthing.—[HON. MEMBERS: "A wren."]—It is a wren, is it? Of course it is. We should show similar imagination when we come to happier times than these.

I must warn the Committee that although we are inserting this in the Bill, and are happy to do so, it may be some time, for technical reasons, before crown pieces are made again. They are difficult to make. If hon. Members do not see crown pieces straightaway, they must not imagine the Government have gone back on their word. Sometime we hope to see crown pieces back again.

Mr. Nicholson

I am very pleased to thank the hon. Gentleman for having accepted my Amendment so courteously and I derive great satisfaction from the fact that the crown will be made again.

Mr. Skinnard (Harrow, East)

In adding my gratification for the acceptance of the Amendment, might I make a suggestion which might appeal to the numismatic interest of the hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. Nicholson)? It is that when the form of the new five shilling piece is being considered, the Financial Secretary might consider the possibility of a return to one of the earlier forms of the crown piece—the beautiful rose noble—

The Temporary Chairman

The hon. Member is a little wide of the mark. He is not speaking to the Amendment.

Amendment; agreed to.

Schedule; as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported, with an Amendment; as amended, considered; read the Third time, and passed.