The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Silver Standard

  • Lawrence H. Officer
Reference work entry


Silver was the dominant monetary standard for many centuries. It was supplanted by gold, in England in the early 18th century, in the United States in 1834, and in almost all of western Europe and in most of the British Empire in the 1870s and 1880s. With France no longer bimetallic, the exchange rate between gold-standard and silver-standard currencies fluctuated. The consequence was more countries leaving the silver standard for gold. By the First World War, China was the sole major country still on silver. US silver-purchase policy in the 1930s caused the virtual demonetization of silver worldwide.


Bimetallism Bullion Central banking Gold standard Gold-exchange standard Monometallism Seigniorage Silver standard 

JEL Classification

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence H. Officer
    • 1
  1. 1.