Front Page Titles (by Subject) Supply of Gold Coin. - Money and the Mechanism of Exchange
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Supply of Gold Coin. - William Stanley Jevons, Money and the Mechanism of Exchange 
Money and the Mechanism of Exchange (New York: D. Appleton and Co. 1876).
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Supply of Gold Coin.
It is the theory of the English monetary law that every individual is entitled to take gold to the mint and have it coined gratuitously, all the expenses being borne by the public revenues. It is intended that the coin shall be rendered identical in value with an equal quantity of gold bullion, so that it shall, in short, be so much certified bullion, and shall be reconvertible into ingots without loss. Though this theory is simple and sound in some respects, it is not perfectly carried into practice. The mint never engages to deliver coin in immediate exchange for gold sent for coining, so that there is a loss of interest during the uncertain interval of coinage. If, instead of sending gold directly to the mint, the owner pursues the customary mode of selling it to the Bank of England, he receives, according to the Bank Charter Act of 1844, only £3 17s. 9d. per ounce, instead of the full mint price of £3 17s. 10½d. Moreover, it has been pointed out by Mr. E. Seyd, that, as the bank used to conduct their bullion business, there was a series of small charges or profits made for weighing, melting, assaying, the turn of the scale, the difference of the assay reports, etc., which amounted on the whole, including, the above charge of 1½d. per ounce for demurrage, to 0.2828 per cent. on the value of the gold. The bank has since made some small improvements in the mode of conducting the business, but it may still be considered that the cost of converting gold bullion into sovereigns is about ¼ per cent.
Though every person whatever has the right, under the Coinage Act, of taking gold to the mint and having it coined free of charge and in order of priority without undue preference, no one ever does use the privilege, except the Bank of England. During an inquiry into the Bank Act in 1857, Mr. Twells stated that he had once sent £10,000 to the mint, and was afterwards surprised to find his firm of Spooner and Co., mentioned in a parliamentary paper as the only private firm that had ever done such a thing. The directors of the Bank of England have naturally acquired the monopoly of transactions with the mint, because they have to keep large stocks both of coin and bullion to meet the demands of the Issue Department and of their customers, including, directly or indirectly, the whole of the bankers of the United Kingdom. They can convert portions of their bullion into coin without any loss of interest or cost, whenever they find the stock of coin running down. They feel the monetary pulse of the whole community, and they have all the requisite appliances for the custody, assay, or exact weighing of bullion. Even those persons who need to possess large sums of gold often employ the bank to weigh, pack, and warehouse it, and the bank is always willing to do the work for fixed low charges. Hence it is most natural and convenient that the bank should act as the agent of the mint. Though the bank makes a certain profit out of the business, it is hardly earned at the cost of the public, but rather comes out of the economy with which the work is managed. It could in no way improve the currency of the country if every one who owned a few ounces of gold were to run with it to the mint, throwing upon the country the cost of melting and assaying insignificant ingots, and complicating the accounts and transactions of the mint.