The Royal Mint is the body legalised to mint all coins in the United Kingdom. The Royal Mint also mints and exports coins to many other countries and is known as the world’s leading exporting mint. Other items such as military and commemorative medals are also manufactured for governments, schools and businesses.
The Mint has had a number of names and has operated at different locations but it first became a single institution in 886, during the reign of Alfred the Great. By 1279 it had moved to the Tower of London, and remained there for the next 500 years. Although there were other mints in the country, the Royal Mint eventually held a monopoly for producing coinage of the realm in the 16th century.
Sir Isaac Newton held the office of Master of the Royal Mint from 1699 until his death in 1727. Being responsible for investigating cases of counterfeiting, he unofficially moved the Pound Sterling from silver (the monarch’s preferable metal in the previous centuries) to the gold standard in 1717. Later the Royal Mint in London gave its know-how to the world’s largest mints (in Australia, South Africa and North America) within the Empire.
The Royal Mint in the Industrial Revolution Era and beyond
The Royal Mint moved from the Tower of London to modernized premises at an adjacent site in East Smithfield around 1809, and that was where the first Modern gold pound sterling (namely the gold Sovereign) was struck to replace the guinea. The building was rebuilt in the 1880s to accommodate new machinery which increased the capacity of the Mint and by the 1960s little of the original mint remained, as technology changed with the introduction of electricity and new space was needed for machines to meet growing demand ahead of decimalization.
In 1967 it was announced that the Royal Mint would once more move to new premises, and in 1968 its operations began to transfer from Tower Hill in the City of London to new buildings on a single 38 acre site in Llantrisant, Mid Glamorgan, Wales. Since 2010 it has operated as Royal Mint Ltd, a company owned by HM Treasury, under an exclusive contract to supply all coinage for the UK.
The Royal Mint museum holds an extensive collection of coins dating from the 16th century onwards; this amazing collection is housed in eighty cabinets made by Hugh Swann, the cabinet maker of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Royal Govern-mint
The Royal Mint has evolved to become a sophisticated industrial concern operating since 2010 as a government company. In the long years of its existence it tracks the history of Britain through its wars and political upheavals, its social and economic progress, its technological and scientific advances.
Although the Royal Mint’s principal task is to mint coins for circulation in the UK, it also manufactures and circulates coins for over 60 other countries as well as collectors’ coins, military medals and civilian decorations for the British armed forces and orders of chivalry.
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