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The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint is a government-owned mint that produces currency and bullion coins for the United Kingdom. The mint is legally registered as a limited company called The Royal Mint Limited. Her Majesty Treasury owns 100% of the company and has a sole contract of producing all the coins used in the nation. [1]

The mint also produces coins in circulation in domestic and international markets. Additionally, the mint produces different types of medals, commemorative coins, planchets, and precious metal bullion. The Royal mint exports 70% of its bullion coins to countries around the world. [1]

The original mint that became the Royal Mint was established in 886 AD, which is more than 1,100 years ago. The original mint was housed within the Tower of London for almost 800 years before moving to the current Royal Mint Coat where it operated up to the 1960s. After Britain decimalized its currency like the rest of the world, the mint was moved from London to Glamorgan in Wales where it has remained up to date. [1]

In 2009, the mint was privatized and the Royal Mint became a state-owned limited company fully owned by Her Majesty Treasury. The mint has expanded from the time it was privatized and developed a visitor’s center worth £9 million. [1]

The history of the Royal Mint dates back to the 2nd century BCE when the Celtic tribes from the English Channel introduced coins to Great Britain. The pioneering coins minted in Britain are traced back to the Kentish tribes, for example, Cantii. This tribe produced coins through casting as opposed to hammering which was the common technique at the time. [1]

The Roman started to invade Britain in AD 43 and built mints all over England including London. The Roman mint produced coins for 40 years before it was closed. One of the mints was reopened briefly in 383 AD but was closed as the Roman rule quickly declined. Minting of coins stopped for over 200 years until English Kingdom emerged in 650 AD. Consequently, almost 30 mints were built across Britain with the biggest one located in London. [1]

In 1279, all the mints across Britain were unified under one system that was headquartered at the Tower of London. Other mints across London were shut, and only a few local mints run by the church were left to operate. By 1464, the government had come up with a document that stipulated the roles of the mints. [1]

The master-worker was a mint official with the responsibility of hiring new engravers and managing moneyers. The warden was a mint employee whose duty was to make sure that the dyes were delivered. In 1472, a special mint board was created and given the responsibilities of supervising the warden, the master, and the mint’s comptroller. [1]

Before the English Civil War, England signed a treaty with Spain in 1630. Spain agreed to supply England with enough silver to keep the Tower mint operational. Additional mint to back up the one in London was built with the most notable one being the Aberystwyth Castle in Wales. [1]

In 1642, the parliament took control of the Tower mint. This happened after Charles I tried to arrest five members of parliament that fled from London. The king went ahead to build 16 emergency mints across Britain. The mints were located in Carlisle, Chester, Colchester, Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh, Exeter, Newark, Pontefract, Salisbury, Scarborough, Cornwall, Truro, Weymouth, Worcester, and York. [1]

King Charles raised the standards of the Royal mint plant in Nottingham shortly before the civil war. Charles advised mining engineer Thomas Bushell, the owner of a silver mine to move his operation to the protected grounds of Shrewsbury Castle. The mint operated for three months before the king ordered it to be moved again to Oxford. [1]

The new mint at Oxford was opened on 15th December 1642 in New Inn Hall, where the present St. Peter’s College stand. The mint melted silver plates and foreign coins and hammered them to produce coins quickly. Bushell became the mint’s warden and master-worker. He collaborated with famous engravers like Nicholas Briot, Thomas Rawlins, and Nicholas Burghers. [1]

After King Charles I was executed in 1649, the Commonwealth of England started to produce its coins. For the first time, the coins were engraved in English and not Latin. The coins were also plainly designed compared to those issued under King Charles. The French engineer Peter Blondeau was invited in 1649 and given the task of modernizing the minting process in the Royal mint. France had already banned the production of hammered coins and replaced them with milled coins. [1]

The construction of the modern Royal Mint at Tower Hill started in 1805 after the Act of Union that brought England and Scotland together was passed. The new Royal mint was built opposite the tower of London and completed by 1809. The new mint was faced with controversies on quality and how to deal with the unrefined gold that was imported to England. [1]

Consequently, in 1848, the Royal mint commission was set up to deal with the issues. The solution was to outsource the refinery process to an external party. This would take away the process of refining precious metals from the mint. The responsibility of supervising the mint was given to Anthony de Rothschild, a direct descendant of the Rothschild family. His company multinational investment banking company NM Rothschild & Sons took over the operation of the mint. [1]

Rothschild registered the mint under the name Royal Mint Refinery. Britain’s power and influence grew as the country established more colonies abroad. In Australia, the local government passed legislation that would enable the establishment of a branch of the Royal Mint in Sydney. In 1966, the government came up with plans to decimalize Britain’s currency. This led to the withdrawal and reminting millions of brand-new coins. [1]

In 2012, London won the bid to host the Summer Olympics. The Royal Mint won a bid to mint medals for Olympic and Paralympic games. Consequently, the Royal Mint struck 4,700 gold, silver, and bronze medal. Each medal was struck 15 times with 900 tones. [1]

The Royal Mint in 2004 announced plans to develop a visitors’ center in Llantrisant. The center allowed the public to have a guided tour of the mint and learn about the mint’s history. In 2015, when marking 50 years of operation, the mint started to produce its bullion coins and bars under its new name Royal Mint Refinery. [1]

In 2020, the mint listed its financial product in the stock market. The Royal Mint introduced gold commodity exchange-traded funds, which are listed in the London stock exchange. [1]

Bullion Coins and Bars from the Royal Mint

There are several gold and silver bullion coins from the Royal Mint. These coins come in different series. The Sovereign coin is one of the pioneering coins from the mint. Sovereign bullion coins bear the iconic image of Saint George slaying the dragon. The coin is struck in 22-karat gold. [1]

The second coin in the series is the Britannia fine gold coins and bars. The coins bear the classic image of Britannia as designed by Philip Nathan. The Royal Mint also produces the Lunar coins. These coins are struck in fine gold and belong to the Shengxiao collection. The last coin in the series is the Queen’s Beasts that bears the Royal Coat of Arms. [1]

Britannia 2021 ½ Oz Gold Bullion Coin

The iconic Britannia coin is one of the best seller products from the Royal Mint. The coin has undergone an evolution since Roman times. Britannia is a symbol of the British nations. In the 2021 version of the coin, Britannia is depicted leading the way as usual. The new version also includes four high-security features. [2]

The new Britannia coin is based on the design done by Philip Nathan in 1987 and was created by the team responsible for the most secure coin in the world the United Kingdom £1 coin. The coin has surface animation that reflects the flow of waves behind Britannia if the coin is moved. [2]

The Features of the Britannia 2021 Gold Coin

Britannia 2021 1 Ounce Silver Bullion Coin

The Royal Mint has created beautiful and secure coins for more than 1,000 years. The Britannia 2021 1 ounce silver bullion coin bears the same design and security features as the Britannia gold bullion coin. [2]

The Features of 1 Oz Silver Bullion Coin

The Royal Arms 2021 10 Oz Silver Bullion Coin

The British Isle used banners and shields as a symbol of identity for many years. However, the kingdom came up with a coat of arms that represented the spirit of its people. The Royal Arms inscribed on the silver bullion coin is the official coat of arms for the reigning monarch.

This symbol can be seen in all the official documents and monuments in the UK and the around the world. In 2009, Timothy Noad, a heraldic artist redesigned the royal coat of arms inscribed on the new bullion coins. [2]  

The Features of the Royal Arms 2021 10 Oz Silver Bullion Coin

The Queen’s Beast 2021 Gold 1 Oz Bullion Ten Coin Tube

When the ceremony to coronate Her Majesty the Queen was held in 1953, a statue of ten heraldic beasts was placed at the entrance to the Westminster Abbey. The beasts have been inscribed on the coins that are part of the Queen’s Beasts Collection. The creatures are part of ancient symbols of ancestry and power. [2]

The Features of the Queens’ Beasts 2021 Gold 1 Oz Gold Coin

The Queens’ Beasts 2020 the White Lion of Mortimer 2 Oz Silver Bullion Coin

This coin is part of the Beast Collection and it features the White Lion of Mortimer.

Features of the White Lion of Mortimer 2 Ounce Silver Coin

Other bullion coins and bars from the royal mint include:

Revenue and Sales Patterns

In 2019, Royal Mint’s revenue increased to £568.5 million compared to the previous year. The operating profit also fell to £1.3 million compared to £2.7 million in 2018. The mint’s consolidated profits also fell to £0.5 million compared to £1.9 million in 2018. The decline in operating costs was anticipated and it was an improvement against the budget. [4]

Royal Mint’s Distribution Channels

The Royal Mint has distributors in more than 20 countries around the world. The mint has an international sales department that is solely responsible for the wholesale of its collection. [5] The key Royal Mint distributors include:

References and Links

[1]Wikipedia, “Royal Mint,” 4 May 2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 14 May 2021].
[2]The Royal Mint, “Bullion,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 14 May 2021].
[3]The Royal Mint, “Bullion Coins,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 14 May 2021].
[4]The Royal Mint, “The Royal Mint Limited Annual Report 2019-20,” 2019-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 14 May 2021].
[5]The Royal Mint, “Looking for a Royal Mint distributor in your country?,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 14 May 2021].



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