The Royal Mint
The origins of Britain’s Royal Mint are lost in the mists of antiquity, though records reveal that a mint was operating in London as early as the mid-7th century C.E. The London Mint was continuously producing coins for the Kings of England by the reign of Alfred the Great in 871. By the mid-1200s, the central mint was operating from the Tower of London for added security. During the glory days of the British Empire, the gold sovereigns and silver shillings of the Royal Mint became the major currency of international trade.
In 1968, the Royal Mint moved from London for the first time since the age of the Anglo-Saxon kings. A modern facility was constructed ten miles from Cardiff, in Wales. Today, the Royal Mint continues its proud tradition of striking circulating, commemorative, and collectible coins for the United Kingdom, as well as for many foreign nations.
Notable Coins of the Royal Mint
The following list highlights some of the most popular coin series offered by the mint.
Following the lead of several of its partners in the South Pacific, the Royal Mint embarked on its own series of coins celebrating the Chinese Lunar calendar beginning in 2014. The coins featured in these collections display artwork from Wuon-Gean Ho, an artist at the Royal Mint. Her presented works are influenced by the fusion of both her Chinese and British upbringing. This fusion of cultures can be recognized in both the 2014 Year of the Horse, 2015 Year of the Sheep and 2016 Year of the Monkey series.
The standard by which all gold trade coins are judged is surely the British Gold Sovereign. Sovereigns were first minted in 1489, just after the devastating War of the Roses. For a time, the Sovereign was a symbol of stability, but upon its reintroduction in 1817 it also became a symbol for Britain’s international growth. Today, Gold Sovereigns are prized worldwide amongst collectors.
Joining several other major government mints around the world, the Royal Mint also offers a 24-karat gold coin for precious metal investors. This gold coin pictures Britannia, a classic symbol of British independence. While Britannia was depicted on ancient Roman coins as a brave, but conquered sea goddess, her introduction to seventeenth century British coins depicted a more powerful figure. Seventeenth-century Britannia was introduced to copper coins as a justification of Britain’s claim to the seas surrounding the British isles. The image of Britannia has since become identifiably British and has been featured on Gold Britannias since 1987.
The most popular coin offered by the Royal Mint would certainly be the Silver Britannia, which is sold in even greater numbers than the modern Gold Sovereign. The Silver Britannia is an affordable, 1-ounce silver alternative to gold coins, making it possible for even the most humble investor to protect their assets with physical precious metals.