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David McCann wrote:
> 
> In the days when coins were worth their weight in precious metal, you
> could get interesting complexities by using two metals. In Britain, from
> the late Middle Ages to the early nineteenth century, we used both gold
> and silver, and so had two parallel systems whose relationship
> constantly changed with the bullion prices. The problem was solved in
> the nineteenth century by making the silver semi-token: the coins had
> enough silver to be taken seriously, but not so much that the value of
> two silver crowns would ever be likely to overtake that of a gold
> half-sovereign.

Isn't that how Britain ended up with a coin 
worth one pound plus one shilling? As I 
understand it, the guinea was a gold coin 
and the number of silver shillings it equaled 
varied as the relation between the two 
metals varied. Eventually it settled down to
twenty-one shillings.

Perhaps the United States could issue a 
coin worth one dollar plus five cents. 

--Ph. D.