Striking facts – the art of minting coins

Proof coins are struck using special dies and using more labour-intensive methods, they are inevitably more expensive but they offer qualities than cannot be matched by other coins.

We can produce up to 750 circulation standard coins a minute at The Royal Mint. That enables us to deliver millions of coins a year both to the UK and to a large number of international customers. We are the world’s leading export mint, so we need to be able to produce high volumes with a high standard of accuracy to retain our reputation and standing. We are able to do this because we have sophisticated processes and machinery, and a skilled workforce with years of experience.

From left to right, Brilliant Uncirculated, Proof and Piedfort Proof Coronation crowns
From left to right, Brilliant Uncirculated, Proof and Piedfort Proof Coronation crowns

The striking difference

Circulating coins are only struck once. Our process is sufficiently advanced to ensure that coins struck once are of very high quality. The rarity and collectability of error coins speaks for itself…we don’t make many mistakes!

The process for striking collector coins is quite different. Our entry-level commemorative collectable is called ‘Brilliant Uncirculated’ or ‘BU’. BU coins are processed in a similar way to circulating coins, but take over twice as long to produce.

Proof coins are a level above BU, and can be struck several times to ease the metal into every detail of the die. They take far longer to strike and require a skilled craftsman to manage the process.

The Royal Mint puts a huge amount of skill, craftsmanship and experience into every coin we produce. The coins we make are prized by collectors of all types, from those who collect the change in their pockets, to those who collect precious metal Proof coins that represent the pinnacle of the minter’s art.

Have your say

Have you ever seen a Proof coin ‘in the metal’? Let us know what you think of the difference between Proof and other coins in the comments below.

Want to know more about what makes Proof coins different – read our article on The Royal Mint website

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