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.