chapter  6
14 Pages

Silver in England 1600–1800: Coinage Outputs and Bullion Exports from the Records of the London Tower Mint and the London Company of

WithGoldsmiths – Nicholas J. Mayhew

Debasement has always commanded a high degree of interest among historians, and rightly so. Strong currencies of high intrinsic worth are associated with successful trading nations, but also have connotations of probity and high moral worth. Reductions in the intrinsic content of the coinage seem in contrast to speak of spendthri government policies, and dissolute behaviour born of lax personal and national standards of behaviour. Debasement is also o en associated with deception and downright fraud, since the extent of the reduction in intrinsic content was o en concealed from the public. Nevertheless, despite such attempted secrecy, debasements usually resulted in some (unpredictable) degree of price in ation, which was almost always widely unpopular.