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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:34 pm 
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Full title: A Short History of Coins and Currency
Author: Lord Avebury, 1834-1913
Published 1902
Publisher: John Murray
184 pages
9.79 MB

THIS little book is founded on an Introductory Address which I had the honour of delivering some years ago, as first President of the Institute of Bankers. It was, however, almost rewritten last year as a Lecture delivered at the London Institution.

Mr Magnus has done me the honour of suggesting that it should be included as one of the volumes in the Home and School Library, which he is editing for Mr Murray. The second part is new. It deals with the weights of coins ; the standards adopted ; the means taken from time to time to secure a satisfactory currency ; and, I regret to add, those also perhaps even more numerous by which Kings and Parliaments have attempted to secure a temporary and dishonourable advantage, by debasing the standard and reducing the weight of the coins.

In this respect we may fairly claim that our own Sovereigns and parliament are able to show (with a few exceptions) an unusually honourable record.

In spite of all that has been written on the subject, the principles on which our currency is based are very little understood. We frequently hear Sir Robert Peel's celebrated question, " What is a Pound ?" put forward as if
it were some abstruse and mysterious conundrum, instead of having been long- ago clearly answered, and determined by Act of Parliament.

I have also endeavoured to explain in simple language the law which regulates the issue of Bank-Notes.

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