About James Owen

James has worked for The Royal Mint since November 2011 and brings his experience of Digital Marketing specifically, e-marketing, content marketing and copywriting. He loves to share information about The Royal Mint with as many people as possible and has started to develop a real fascination with coins.

Coin Collecting!

Is coin collecting the hobby for you?

What do former prime minister Tony Blair, Hollywood star Nicole Kidman, King Louis XIV of France and the Roman emperor Augustus have in common? They are all rumoured to share a passion for rare and unusual coins and collect them as a hobby.

And they are not the only ones. Coin collecting dates back to ancient Greece, when it was customary to present people with gifts of coins on festive occasions and now it is a popular hobby, with people seeking out rare ancient coins or more recent special editions to complete their collection.

Today, millions of people across the globe collect coins for fun. Read on to see if coin collecting is the hobby for you…


Coin collecting as a hobby suits anyone with a thirst for knowledge. It’s not just about finding coins and popping them in a folder or box. Coins can teach us lots about the period they were minted in and the notable figures of the time. If you find a particularly interesting coin, get Googling and try to find out more about it.


The rare 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens 50p

The rare 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens 50p

If you collect the right type of coins, it can be a profitable hobby. Some old and rare coins sell for thousands, or even millions, of pounds.

However, these coins are rare and you either have to be very lucky or really do your homework and research which coins are likely to rise in value.

It’s best to see coin collecting as a fun, interesting hobby and regard any potential profits from selling your collection in the future as an added bonus.


Regardless of the other benefits coin collecting can bring, for most people it is all about the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction when you finally complete a set after months of hunting for one elusive coin. To get the most out of your hobby, set yourself specific targets of coins you’d like to get your hands on and start searching.


Royal shield of arms coins


With so many hobbies requiring expensive pieces of kit, coin collecting is a relatively affordable pastime. Yes, you can spend hundreds if you are chasing after a particular rare coin, but for the most part there are interesting and unusual coins available at affordable prices.

How to get started

The chances are you already have the beginning of a coin collection in your pocket right now, or lying around the house in the form of a commemorative coin or some unusual foreign currency .

If you want to build up a collection, you just have to decide what it is about coins that interests you and start from there. Perhaps you’ve got the travel bug and want to collect coins from far away lands or maybe you are interested in a certain period of history and would like to find coins minted during that time? Other people simply like to build up collections of special edition coins, such as those released to mark the Olympics or the birth of Prince George of Cambridge.

The inside of the London 2012 50p Collector's Pack

The inside of the London 2012 50p Collector’s Pack

Whatever type of coins you want to start collecting; it is a good idea to buy a few coin folders to store your collection in. You can either buy blank folders or ones which are organised by date or type of coin. Royal Mint is launching new collectors’ folders for 50p, £1 and £2 coins this month, which are a great starting point for new collectors.

You are then ready to start hunting for coins. If you aren’t sure where to begin, join your local coin club, where you can meet up with other collectors to learn more about the hobby and trade coins. They are also bound to know the best places for picking up unusual finds.

The internet is a great tool for coin collectors, there are hundreds of sites where you can hunt out rare and unusual coins and it’s easy to compare prices to ensure you are not getting ripped off.

Remember, there are also numerous coin designs in circulation at the moment, so be careful to check your change for anything unusual before you spend it!

Happy collecting!


The Great Pound Coin Quiz – the Winning Poems

We asked you to send in poems as a tie-breaker. Here are our favourites.

Thanks for entering everyone! Leave us a comment to let us know which ones you like.

The Winner, from Luke

Luke’s poem was our favourite, and he got all the questions right as well…so he wins! Congratulations Luke, enjoy your UK Floral £1 coins set!

I’ve heard it was written,
Of a coin in our kingdom,
Adorned with the Queen and her crown!
That symbol of Britain,
Forever we’re smitten,
With our Beauteous, golden pound!

From Bhavini,

I found a pound, it was super round, all coloured in gold, so big and bold.

From Elizabeth,

Nickel Zinc Copper

From Kimberley,

The one pound coin was here to join,
All the other coins in circulation, in our nation.
Since the first pound coin in 1983,
There have been many coins including the diamond jubilee,
Now it’s 2013 there have been 21 designs,
Is it a crime to want this design, I want it to be mine.

From Charlotte,

So here we are 2013,
The design has changed again.
From note to coin in ’83,
And now a floral design.
Alloy of copper, then some nickel,
And a little zinc too.
No one can deny that in everyone’s pocket, When it comes to the ‘1pound coin’ we all always carry a few.

From Michael,

Most people just see it as change
Foreigners see it as strange…
Some call it a pound, a quid, the dough, But not a lot of people know, That the pound coin is named after silver…
It won’t buy a lot today,
Just a Mars or 1/1000 of a car
But the £1 is worth collecting to me.
I wish I could write a proper Poem and win this competition… But unfortunately I am a numismatic not a poet.

From Gregory,

A royal head one side is found, One coin with British symbols bound, Within a golden circle round, Our noble currency, the pound!

The great pound coin quiz!

Would you like to win a set of the UK’s latest £1 coins? The Floral set features designs representing England and Wales and retails for £18.

You can buy them in Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof Precious metal finishes on our website – click here to buy Floral £1 coins

The Floral 2013 UK £1 Two-Coin Set England and Wales

The Floral 2013 UK £1 Two-Coin Set England and Wales

If you would like the chance to win a set, simply answer the following questions and complete our tie-breaker poem! The winner will be selected by Leah, our Summer 2013 intern.

(This competition is open to UK residents only)

Competition now closed…Winner to be announced shortly!

A penny for your thoughts…

Well ok, it’s actually a no longer available London 2012 Handover to Rio Silver Proof £2 Coin for your thoughts…but we’re sure you don’t mind!

As we are giving away a Silver penny to every baby born on the same day as the Royal baby, we have decided to run a quick competition to test your penny knowledge!

All you have to do to enter, is to answer the three questions below correctly and submit the form to us.

The competition closes on the 19th July 2013 at 17:00pm and is open to UK residents only.

How to find the answers?

You can find the answers to each of the questions on The Royal Mint website, The Royal Mint Museum website, and on this blog!

The winner!

The winner is (drum roll please)

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Your Royal Mint Facebook questions answered!

The Royal Mint’s social media team were lucky enough to have a work experience placement called Leah for a week in July 2013. We asked Leah to post on Facebook asking people to suggest questions that they would like to be answered. Leah researched and wrote the answers to your questions.

You can read her findings below!

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Gromit unleashed – the making of ‘The National Treasure’

When The Royal Mint was asked to take part in the ‘Gromit unleashed’ exhibition, we were excited by the opportunity to do something really special.

We knew we had a lot to live up to, being in the company of people like Aardman’s very own Nick Park and Peter Lord, iconic designers Sir Paul Smith and Cath Kidston, illustrators Sir Quentin Blake and Martin Handford (creator of ‘Where’s Wally’) and many more besides.

So what could we do? Well it had to include coins, of course, and with mosaic artist Stephanie Roberts involved the ideas quickly began to flow. To add a finishing touch to the masterpiece, the Royal Mint’s Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers was tasked with creating a medallion from a design crafted in plasticine by Nick Park himself!

Would it all come together? Read on to find out.

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