Sir Isaac Newton was the towering intellectual giant of the ‘Scientific Revolution’ of the seventeenth century. He changed our understanding of mathematics and physics and redefined the way we see the world. But many people may not know that, for more than three decades, he also played a vital role at The Royal Mint.
As Master of the Mint he made a considerable contribution to our coinage and economy, helping to make Britain’s currency one of the most respected and admired in the world. His meticulous report of 1717, commonly known as ‘the valuation of the guinea’, was pivotal in establishing gold coin as the pre-eminent currency of the United Kingdom. It suggested establishing the gold guinea’s value at 21 shillings which paved the way for the introduction of the gold standard a century later. Newton remained Master of the Mint until his death in March 1727, by which time British coins could claim to be the best-made and most trusted in the world.
In 2017 we celebrate a pioneer of science, master of minting, Sir Isaac Newton on a UK 50p coin, with a design created by Royal Mint designer, Aaron West. We recently caught up with Aaron to find out a little more about his design.