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The New Coinage

Volume 344: debated on Monday 5 May 1890

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I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the new coinage, if, in view to the maintenance of the Union, he will re-consider his intention of substituting for the arms of the three Kingdoms the St. George and the Dragon, which is an emblem of one Kingdom only?

No; I cannot undertake to abandon the St. George and the Dragon. It is sanctioned by tradition and recommended by the great beauty of the design.

I beg to give notice that I will take the earliest opportunity of calling attention to this subject, and of moving that, in view of the separatist tendencies developed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it shall not be the practice to place upon coins of the United Kingdom an emblem which is only recognised in one part of it.

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, before finally deciding upon the designs for the proposed new-gold coinage, he will afford the Members of this House an opportunity of seeing them; and whether he has come to any decision as to withdrawing from circulation, either or both the four shilling and five shilling pieces?

As regards the second question, I have never thought of withdrawing the new five shilling piece. So far as I learn, it is growing in popularity. Fresh demands for considerable quantities have lately been made. As to the four shilling piece, it is premature to come to any decision. Time alone can show what is the real use of a coin. As to exhibiting the design for a new gold coin to Members of the House, there is something to be said for such a course, and something against it. There is sure to be no unanimous verdict in favour of any design. There are more differences of opinion in questions of art even than in questions of politics. I will consult my Colleagues on the point.

Is there any increase in the circulation of four shilling pieces?