By George Anthony Selgin

Stable funds tells the interesting tale of British brands' problem to the Crown's monopoly on coinage. within the 1780s, while the economic Revolution was once accumulating momentum, the Royal Mint didn't produce adequate small-denomination coinage for manufacturing facility vendors to pay their staff. because the foreign money scarcity threatened to derail business growth, brands started to mint customized cash, known as "tradesman's tokens." quickly gaining vast attractiveness, those tokens served because the nation's most well-liked foreign money for wages and retail revenues till 1821, whilst the Crown outlawed all moneys other than its own.Economist George Selgin provides a full of life story of enterprising brands, technological suggestions, replacement currencies, and struggles over definitely the right to coin criminal money.George Selgin is Professor of Economics within the Terry collage of commercial on the collage of Georgia and learn Fellow on the self reliant Institute in Oakland, California (

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Extra info for Good Money: Birmingham Button Makers, the Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern Coinage, 1775-1821

Sample text

Between Newton's reform and 1760, fewer than two million ounces of silver (about £500,000 worth) were sent there for coining (Ashton 1955, 171). Of this amount, £136,431 consisted of the spoils from George Anson's voyage around the world, while another £79,198 in shillings and sixpences was commissioned, at a loss, by the Bank of England to be handed out to its customers at Christmastime (Craig 1953, 246). For the remainder of the century, the mint made no silver coins at all-apart from minuscule (£60) batches of Maundy money-except on two occasions: in 1762-63, it produced £5,791 in threepennies and shillings using silver booty taken at sea; and in 1787, it once again obliged the Bank of England with £55,459 worth of Yuletide 18 GOOD MONEY 35,000 62,586 55,459 I_ Copper fZJ Silver I 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 I - [ ~ I 1- - ~~~~~~~~~~~~¢~~~~~~~~~~~~ ° - Fig.

Mint prices and equivalents for silver and gold were reckoned in terms of the troy pound of 5,760 troy grains, which replaced the mint (or Tower) pound of 5,400 troy grains in 1526. 14 GOOD MONEY 1. strike both large- and small-denomination coins from the standard metal, with the coins' weights corresponding to their face values; 2. resort to bimetallism, with low-denomination coins made from the less valuable metal, and large-denomination coins made from the more valuable one; or 3. issue avowedly fiduciary or token small-denomination coins, on government account.

Legitimate copper coins were sometimes melted down and turned into a larger nominal stock of lightweight fakes. The mint thus found itself inadvertently boosting the output of spurious copper coins whenever it tried to add to the quantity (and improve the average quality) of genuine ones. Second, both real and counterfeit regal coppers tended to make their way from publicans' tills to the strongboxes of London brewing companies, where they piled up. Banks wouldn't take them, and the mint never seriously entertained the idea of providing for their redemption.

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