How many of us have ever asked ourselves the question – what’s in my change? Those of us who have will know the answer, of course, which is – more history, art and treasure than you could imagine! Let me elaborate…
ill you be celebrating Father’s Day this year in a similar way to Mother’s Day? We all know Father’s Day is not celebrated on the same scale as Mother’s Day generally, and while I’ve read some articles that try to explain why , I think the reason is simple – it’s because Fathers and Mothers are so different! What delights your Mum may well not please your Dad so much, especially those sentimental and openly affectionate gestures usually welcomed by Mums.
I’ve made a sweeping generalisation there, so let’s take a look at how Father’s Day started and see where it takes us…
Within the drawers of The Royal Mint Museum lie many rare coins, and the 1937 Edward VIII Gold Proof Sovereign is certainly one of the rarer. Another, of the few in existence, recently made headlines when it went to auction and sold for a record £516,000 – the highest sum ever paid for a British coin! Surprisingly, the Edward VIII Sovereign wasn’t the only Sovereign to shock at this auction; a rare 1953 Elizabeth II Gold Proof Sovereign also fetched a staggering £384,000.
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:
The Museum holds a cabinet said to be Sir Isaac Newton’s when 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.
I’ve felt surrounded by Georges and Dragons lately! So my friends in our Museum have helped me pull together these Top 10 Facts about them, that I think you really need to know… Our flagship coin, the Sovereign, is known and recognised throughout the world. It’s our most famous coin and shows St George, the … Read more…
From the Restoration of the monarchy to the Napoleonic Wars, the guinea was the coin that characterised an increasingly wealthy Britain. It was one of the most popular British coins for 150 years, during which Britain became the world’s major colonial power.
Due to Britain’s influence on the international stage, the guinea became known all over the world, occupying the position of universal acceptance that the dollar occupies today. The guinea was, for almost 150 years, the standard gold coin of the British currency. It therefore stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Sovereign as one of the greatest British coins in history.
The Royal Mint is one of the world’s oldest companies. The Sovereign is the oldest bullion coin still manufactured to this day. However, The world’s leading export Mint is still able to bring innovation to the bullion market. New bullion coins and storage options announce our intent to become a serious player in the market. … Read more…
There are only TWO shopping days left on The Royal Mint website this Christmas. If you still can’t decide what you want, here are our suggestions!
Respected, and recognised all over the world, the Sovereign became synonymous with Britain herself.
At the turn of the century it was one of the world’s most trusted and respected coins. Yet even the Sovereign could not fail to be shaken by a conflict as devastating as the First World War which saw the end of the Sovereign as a coin in daily circulation. Production of Sovereigns in Great Britain almost stopped from 1917, only recommencing briefly in 1925. The coin would not be issued in great numbers again until 1957.
The guinea was the major coin of the eighteenth century, but during the long war with France the banks began to issue notes in place of coins.
The issuing of bank notes helped Britain to pay for its long war, but it caused inflation and national insecurity and a spate of forgeries took hold. You can view many of the old records of cases brought at the time on The Old Bailey website.
Following the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 the decision was taken to undertake a ‘great reform of the coinage’. Gold was adopted as the ‘sole Standard Measure of Value’ and bank notes were taken out of use.
In a new weekly series of articles focused on bringing The Royal Mint’s history to life, we focus on our flagship coin, the sovereign.
The original sovereign was struck on the 28 October 1489 by The Royal Mint in the Tower of London.
Henry VII ordered the striking of the largest gold coin yet issued in England. The King wished to issue them as gifts to foreign dignitaries to impress upon them the strength of the Tudor dynasty.
He would have had no idea that the coin he issued would, in time, become renowned around the world.