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§ 176. “Currency.”

Currency in this connection means the acceptance, reception, passing or circulation from hand to hand, from person to person, of metallic money, or of government or bank notes as substitute for metallic money.




  ― 573 ―

The only gold coin now current in England is that coined during the present reign at the London Mint, or the Australian branch mints. Pre-Victorian gold was decried by proclamation in 1890. The designs current are those of 1838, 1870, 1887, and 1893. The Pre-Victorian gold has been called in in several colonies; in Australasia and in New Zealand in 1890; in the Cape and Fiji in 1893. All silver coin coined since 1816 is still current and legal tender. The designs now legally current are those of 1817 and 1893. Besides this general currency, in 1849 florins were made current coin. The design was altered in 1852, and double florins were made current under the proclamation of 1887. Until 1861 copper coins of the face value of ld., ½d., and ¼d. were coined as part of the currency. They were then superseded by bronze money of the same denominations, and the copper coinage was decried as to the United Kingdom in 1869, and as to all colonies in which they were current in 1876. The designs adopted in 1861 were superseded by a new design in 1895. (Encyc. of Laws of England, iii. p. 75.)

The Federal Legislature has power, by suitable legislation, to restrain the circulation, as money, of any notes not issued by its own authority. (Veazie Bank v. Fenno, 8, Wall. 533. Baker Annot. Const. p. 46.)

The Federal Legislature has power to provide by law for the punishment of the offence of counterfeiting notes of foreign banks, or for having in possession a plate from which such counterfeit notes may be printed. (United States v. Arjona, 120 U.S. 479. ld.)

This clause does not prevent a State from passing laws to punish the offence of circulating counterfeit coin of the Union. Counterfeiting and circulating counterfeit coin are offences essentially different in their character. The former is an offence against the government; the latter is a private wrong. (Fox v. Ohio, 5 How. 410. Id. p. 47.)

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