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A Brief History of the Royal Mint

A Brief History of the Royal Mint

Bath Spa Capital sells a large number of British proof gold coins struck by the Royal Mint (who also make all of Britain's circulation coinage from two pounds through to pennies). 

The Royal Mint traces its origins to the 9th century CE when King Alfred the Great (871 - 886) sought to establish a more organised and controlled coinage system. Prior to this, coins were minted by various regional authorities, resulting in inconsistent quality and standards. Alfred established a central mint, possibly in Winchester (then capital of England), which became the precursor to the Royal Mint.

Silver penny of Alfred the Great with LONDONIA monogram on the reverse. 
Image courtesy of the Royal Mint Museum

Following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, William the Conqueror recognised the importance of maintaining control over coinage. In 1279, King Edward I established the first official mint within the Tower of London. The minting process took place in a specialised area known as the Mint House.

Over time, the Royal Mint expanded its operations beyond the Tower of London. It established additional mints across the country, such as those in Bristol, York, and Exeter, to meet the growing demand for coinage. However, during the English Civil War in the 17th century, the Mint faced financial difficulties, leading to its temporary privatisation in 1649. It was later restored to royal control in 1660.

One of the significant milestones in the history of the Royal Mint was the Great Recoinage of 1696. Isaac Newton, renowned physicist and mathematician, held the position of Master of the Mint at the time. He implemented a comprehensive reform of the coinage system to address widespread counterfeiting and debasement. The recoinage involved recalling old coins and issuing new, standardised “milled” coins of higher quality, which helped restore public confidence in the currency. 

Isaac Newton renowned scientist and Master of the Mint from 1696 - 1727 
Image courtesy of the Royal Mint museum

The Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century brought technological advancements that impacted the Royal Mint. Steam-powered machinery was introduced, replacing manual labour and improving efficiency. Innovations such as steam-powered coining presses and improved methods for assaying and testing precious metals revolutionised the minting process.

In 1810, the Royal Mint moved from the Tower of London to new purpose-built premises on Tower Hill. The new location provided a larger space and better facilities for expanding operations. It was equipped with modern machinery and technologies, further enhancing the mint's capacity to produce high-quality coins.

In 1971, the United Kingdom decimalised its currency, transitioning from the old system of pounds, shillings, and pence to a decimal system based on 100 pence to the pound. The Royal Mint played a vital role in producing the new decimal coins that were introduced. The decimalisation process required the creation of new designs, denominations, and sizes of coins, as well as the withdrawal of the old currency.
Newspaper dated 15th February 1971, the day of decimalisation, or D-Day

Today, the Royal Mint continues to operate as an important institution in the United Kingdom. It produces circulating coins, commemorative coins, and medals, often featuring significant events, anniversaries, or notable figures. In addition, it plays a significant role in the gold market, producing the limited mintage gold proof coins Bath Spa Capital offers. 

These limited mintage proof coins can be purchased in our online store by CLICKING HERE

*Please note. Any information relating to the past performance of an investment is not a guide to future performance. Values can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the original amount invested. Bath Spa Capital Limited is not authorised to offer investment or tax advice*

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