The same scarcity of silver coin that has so long prevailed in the United States, extends throughout the European Continent, as will be seen by the following paragraph Irom the London Times:— There never was known for many years so great a scarcity of silver currency as at present, in consequence of the very large expor-tations of silver that have recently taken place to Port Philip, Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney, and other ports of Australian colonies for the convenience of the adventurers at the gold diggings. Not a vessel leaves the ports of London, Plymouth, Bristol, Liverpool, c, but takes out a considerable amount of both gold and silver specie, either by speculators who are proceeding to the above colonies for the purpose of making large purchases of gold from the emigrants now working at the diggings, or consigned by capitalists and bullion dealers to their agents at Port Philip, c, for the same specific purpose. It is with much difficulty that the bankers in the city and West End can obtain silver currency to any amount either at the Bank of England or at the Royal Mint, to accommodate their correspondents in different parts of the United Kingdom with silver change. At Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and other large commercial towns, the demand at the various banks for silver is so great that they are unable to supply parties with more than .100 to .200, as not only is a vast quantity being shipped off to Australia and India, but the demands for silver bullion and specie for France, Belgium, Holland, Hamburg and the Continent, are also very extensive. In consequence of this immense call for silver, it appears that the authorities at the mint ijitend having a considerable sum coined into specie, and likewise gold currency of half sovereigns for the convenience of the emigrants, who are placed in great difficulties from the want of a small circulating medium in exchange for their gold.
This article was originally published with the title "Scarcity of Silver Coin" in Scientific American 8, 9, 66 (November 1852)