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!
Your questions answered…
1. Are there any plans to design a fifth portrait of the Queen?
I asked around for you…and there are no plans as yet.
2. How many countries do you print (currencies) at the Mint?
We don’t print, we mint! Coins are struck by mints, and banknotes are printed. We have made coins for more than 120 countries.
3. What was the best selling Olympic 50p?
Although the complete collection of London 2012 50p coins, and the Completer medallion were the best overall sellers, the Football 50p (also know as the ‘Offside rule’ 50p) was the best selling individual coin.
Football is a very popular sport, and the design is very creative and unusual so I think that explains why it was so popular!
4. What is the rarest coin in circulation at the moment?
Currently, among the rarest £2 coins are the London Underground 150th Anniversary coins, of which only a few thousand entered circulation in January 2013. More may be issued in future, but for now it’s very rare. Around 65,000 Olympic Games handover £2 coins were issued…making that another very rare one! The rarest 50p is the 2009 250th anniversary of Royal Botanical (Kew) Gardens.
(These figures don’t account for error or withdrawn coins!)
5. How many 2008 undated 20p pieces are estimated to be in circulation?
Fewer than 250,000 coins – Visit the Royal Mint website to find out more about the 20p pieces!
6. Are the Scottish banknotes legal tender south of the border? If not, why?
Scottish banknotes are not legal tender anywhere! You can read more about their status on The Committee of Scottish Bankers website
7. How many pennies were circulated in 1996?
723,840,060 new pennies were put into circulation – Visit the Royal Mint website to check out the figures :)
8. How much copper is in your coppers?
From the Royal Mint website:
Traditionally bronze coins were made from an alloy of copper, tin and zinc. Since September 1992, however, 1p and 2p coins have been made from copper-plated steel. The change was made because of the increasing price in world markets of base and non-ferrous metals. The copper-plated coins are the same colour, weight, diameter and design as those struck in bronze and circulate alongside them. There is one notable difference. Copper-plated coins are attracted to magnets because of the iron content of the steel core, whereas bronze coins are not magnetic.
In 1998, 2p coins were struck in both copper-plated steel and bronze. We may decide to do this again because, by having this flexibility to produce in either material, the Royal Mint can better meet customer needs promptly and cost effectively.
9. Does the Royal Mint have a flag pole and does it fly the Union flag all year?
I e-mailed James Attridge who takes care of the flags here at the Royal Mint and he gave this response:
Yes we do have a flag pole, in fact we have 3! We fly the Welsh flag and our own ‘Royal Mint’ flag all year round. The 3rd flag pole is for the Union Flag. This is only flown for special occasions. These dates are set by the government and are published on line by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on an annual basis.
10. When will the 2012 Charles Dickens £2 coin enter circulation?
I contacted Cheryl Morgan who forwarded the e-mail to Ceris Price who is the Account Manager here at the Royal Mint to see if she knew the answer to this question
Cheryl got back to me and told me that:
We should be issuing some of these coins in the autumn onwards depending on the requirements from the UK banks.
11. What are the reasons for not having a 99p coin?
Apparently a lot of people ask this question. I thought I’d better go straight to the experts so I contacted The Royal Mint Museum and they gave me this answer!
Perhaps the major problem with the proposal to introduce a 99p coin is that, although it would be useful for buying items priced at that particular amount, the £1 coin would need to be retained for other transactions. The introduction of a 99p denomination, without the removal of the £1, would result in millions more coins being in circulation at greater cost and inconvenience to the public.
Like many countries around the world, the United Kingdom has a circulating currency based on a series of denominations following the 1,2,5 pattern – 1p, 2p, and 5p; 10p, 20p and 50p etc. It is highly unlikely that any new circulating denomination would be introduced with a value which broke from this pattern.
So there you go!
12. What is the oldest complete usable set of dies that exist and what are they for? (Type…Year…etc.)
The Dies from the 1350’s are the oldest complete usable set of dies that exist. You can see the Dies at the Coins and Kings exhibition at the Tower of London.
13. How much is the 1950 sixpence worth?
A British 1950 cupro – nickel sixpence (George VI) which is uncirculated and in absolute mint condition would be worth about £10. A British 1950 cupro – nickel sixpence (George VI) which is circulated but still in good condition would be worth £3. A British 1950 cupro – nickel sixpence (George VI) which has proof of FDC and is uncirculated and in mint condition would be worth £15. A British 1950 cupro – nickel sixpence (George VI) which is Matt proof FDC is considered extremely rare and would be worth a lot more.
14. What year did the mint stop making silver coins for circulation?
1946. The Royal Mint issued the first copper nickel coins in 1947.
15. Why are hammered coins called that?
The reason why they are called that is because hammered coins were made by manually striking a coin blank (usually of silver or gold) between two hand cut dies. The lower die was normally fixed in a wooden block and the upper one struck with a mallet or similar weight.
16. Has the Royal Mint kept one of each coin that they have made?
I e-mailed Chris Barker who works at the Royal Mint Museum and he gave this response:
The Royal Mint Museum try to keep one proof version of every coin minted.
17. As well as ones on the website, has the Royal Mint got any other unused coin designs to show us?
The Royal Mint Museum has an archive of coin designs going back to late 19th century. Some of which were not used for coins.You can find new ones being added all the time at their website – The Royal Mint Museum website
18. Information about this coin please!
All we can tell you is that this coin was not created by the Royal Mint.
You could possibly visit the British Museum and ask them to find out more about it!
Thanks everyone, from Leah
Thanks to everyone who asked questions! You all kept me very busy yesterday! I hope this post gives you the answers that you were hoping for and please leave any comments below :)