Life Inside The Royal Mint – History & treasures surround us!

It’s hard to be brief about the treasures held safely for the nation behind the anonymous door that opens to The Royal Mint Museum, but I’m going to try, so here are some snippets:

cabinetThe Museum holds a cabinet said to be Sir Isaac Newton’swhen he was Master of the Mint from 1699-1727; pistols from the Tower of London that provided the security of those times and literally thousands of coins from all over the world. Plasters of coins and medals from the late 19th Century, wax impressions of the Great Seals of the Realm and other official Seals from the start of the 20th century, are all preserved here.

One of the great treasures, the Waterloo Medal Roll, lists the names of all those who fought at the Battle of Waterloo. Medal-making is an area of our work that is perhaps not very well-known. It began here in 1817 when we made the Waterloo Medals, and continues to this day with production of medals for the Armed Forces and many other organisations.

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Some fast Friday coin facts

In our post yesterday we talked about some research we recently conducted into how much the population at large know about the coins in their pockets. We will share some of those results with you next week, but in the meantime we used some of the facts we uncovered to put together this great visual guide to UK coins…..hope you find it interesting!

Fast Facts On Your Change v4 90

How much do we know about the coins in our pockets?

Everyone who works here at The Royal Mint, and all you coin fans out there, know that the coins of the United Kingdom are beautiful, intricate works of art, everlasting storytellers of the great events and figures of our history and culture.

But how wide does that knowledge go? How much do the general public really know about the coins in their pockets, the coins they use every day to buy a paper, pay for parking, or help them make decisions?

We were intrigued. So, we decided to ask.

We recently conducted a survey of some 2,000 adults in the UK, asking them questions such as how many different £2 coin designs there are in circulation, how many sides does a 50p coin have, and how many portraits of Queen Elizabeth II can currently be seen on the coins in everyday use.

The results were fascinating, and we will share some of them with you all in our blog next week. Needless to say, the results show we have some work to do in order to increase people’s knowledge of, and love for, the coins they use everyday.

To help people get to know their coins better, and to gain a greater appreciation of their beauty and diversity, we have recently launched three new collector albums, which are available now from our website

Following on from the hugely popular London 2012 50p collector albums, these new folders are the same size and format, but are designed to help people collect all the other circulating commemorative 50p, £1 and £2 coins that are out there in everyday use.

50p front

This 50p album has space for 16 50p coins, from Britannia to Benjamin Britten. One of the rarest and hardest to find is the Kew Gardens 50p coin from 2009, as only 210,000 went into circulation.

50p inside

At the other end of the scale, some 3.4 million of Matthew Dent’s WWF 50p coins have entered circulation since 2011!

The £1 coin celebrated its 30th birthday this year, and since its introduction in 1983 there have been 21 different designs that celebrate the symbols, nature and engineering achievements of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom.

£1 front

Again, the different amounts of the coins that have gone out into public use means that some are more difficult to find than others. Nearly 100 million of 2005’s Menai Bridge design were produced….

£1 inside

…while just over 2.5 million of 2010’s ‘London’ coin made it out into the world.

Finally, the £2 album encourages people to hunt down all the different £2 designs that have been released up to and including the hugely popular 2013 London Underground coins, one of which (the logo design) was designed by the same people who created the iconic torch for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

£2 front

Each album also includes space for a special completer medallion for each collection, with more details to come on those very soon. We hope they will prove very popular, and that they might prompt a greater appreciation of and interest in the coins we use every day.

Do you have a favourite coin out there in circulation today?

We’ll share some more of the research results with you next week, but in the meantime, here are the answers to the questions we posted above.

Q. How many different £2 coin designs there are in circulation? A. 23

Q. How many sides does a 50p coin have? A. 7

Q. How many portraits of Queen Elizabeth II can currently be seen on the coins in everyday use. A. 3

Happy hunting!

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…

Educational

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.

Profitable

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.

Exciting

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.

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Royal shield of arms coins

Affordable

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,

Pound
Plentiful
Old
Useful
Nickel Zinc Copper
Delightful

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!