Standing strong for over 1,100 years throughout Britain’s wars, political upheavals, social and economic progress and technological and scientific advances, The Royal Mint’s history can be traced back through our country’s coinage.
But it was on the 17th of December 50 years ago that The Queen herself opened the new site for The Royal Mint, which was moved to a purpose-built site in Llantrisant following 157 years at Tower Hill, London.
This was the first time since its inception that The Royal Mint had been based outside of London, and marked an incredibly important moment in the history of our coins.
The move to Llantrisant
In 1966 it was announced that Britain would adopt a new decimal currency. This meant that hundreds of millions of new coins would need striking and Tower Hill simply didn’t have enough space to cope with this demand and so the decision was made to find a new location for The Royal Mint.
Llantrisant made it onto the shortlist of the top 7 locations, and as James Callaghan (Chancellor of the Exchequer, Master of the Mint and an MP for Cardiff) supported a move to Wales, Llantrisant was chosen for the big move.
Britain’s new Mint
The announcement was made in 1967 and construction soon began on the new site. For the Llantrisant area, the move meant more work and a regeneration of the town, as well as adding to the sense of history and tradition. It was estimated that the move would provide 10,000 jobs to South Wales.
It was in 1968 that the site was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen when she switched on the coining presses to begin production of decimal bronze coins.
Llantrisant was built to house the most advanced coining machinery in the world and have a larger capacity than any other mint in Europe, necessary to cope with the amount of new coinage needed.
When the site opened, the circulating coin presses could strike up to 200 coins per minute, however the latest generation of presses today strike around 750 coins per minute!
Decimalisation of Britain’s coins
The 15th of February 1971 is known as the day that Britain “went decimal”.
Whilst this was the official ‘Decimal Day’, three years before this, the new 5p and 10p coins were actually introduced. These coins were the same size and value as the existing one and two shilling coins to make the transition easier for the British public.
It was in 1969 that the first seven sided coin – the 50p – was introduced to replace the 10-shilling note as a more economical alternative and then finally, on Monday 15 February 1971, the transition was complete when the half penny, 1p and 2p coins were also introduced.
The new Mint at Llantrisant successfully transformed hundreds of years of everyday currency from 12 pennies to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound, to the new pound made from 100 new pence.
Today the Royal Mint is the market leader and the largest single supplier of plated coins and blanks in Europe. They can produce 90 million coins and blanks a week – that’s almost 5 billion coins a year!
And all this has been made possible thanks to the advanced facilities at Llantrisant, as pictured above, without which the move to decimal coinage simply wouldn’t have been possible.
Own this Historic Royal Mint anniversary DateStamp™
To mark the move of The Royal Mint to Llandistrant, you have the opportunity to own the Royal Mint in Wales 50th Anniversary DateStampTM.
Featuring the 2016 Wales £20 coin with the iconic Welsh dragon design, and postmarked 17th December 2018, exactly 50 years since The Royal Mint moved to Wales.
It’s official! A Brexit 50p WILL be issued by The Royal Mint next year to mark the UK’s exit from the EU!
Within his budget, the Chancellor unveiled his advanced plans for the 50p coin, which will be released in Spring next year.
As such a controversial issue, which has created much disruption across the UK and the EU since the referendum in June 2016, Philip Hammond hopes that this new coin, which is expected to bear the phrase ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’, will promote the positivity of the event.
In our previous blog, we asked Change Checkers if they would like to see a Brexit coin and 68% of you believed that such a significant moment in Britain’s history should be commemorated with a 50p coin. The Government has now finally conceded to create a gesture for this landmark moment and recognise its importance, although Treasury sources say the department has secretly been working on plans for the coin for months now.
The importance of Brexit can now be likened to Britain’s entry to the European Economic Community, which was then incorporated into the EU in 1993. A 50p coin was issued in 1973 to mark the occasion, featuring nine hands clasping each other in a circle, symbolising the nine member states of the community, intended to represent the trust, assistance and friendship which comes with EEC membership. So important was this event, that in 1998 the first “new sized” commemorative 50p was issued to commemorate 25 years of the UK in the EEC.
89,775,000 of the 1973 50p coins were struck for collectors but is no longer in circulation, whilst the 1998 coin has a mintage figure of 5,043,000 and can still be found in circulation.
It seems that the idea of commemorating Brexit in some way is popular amongst collectors, as commemorative 50p shaped Brexit souvenirs are now available on eBay and are currently selling for £6.99. These are not legal tender, but go to show that a Brexit 50p coin is certainly in demand and could be incredibly sought-after.
An order has now been issued by Mr Hammond to The Royal Mint advisory committee to draw up a designs for the Brexit 50p coin, which should be signed off later this year. Just as the EEC 50p from 1973 intended to promote the development of new relationships, so too will the Brexit 50p, but what do you think about the plans for the new coin?
Earlier today we posted a poll on our Facebook page to find out what Change Checkers think. So far, 66% of you think we should have a Brexit coin, compared to just 34% voted against the coin and the majority opinion seems to be that we had a coin for entering the EU, so we should also have one for leaving.
Check out the live results and vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the Brexit 50p in our poll on Facebook.
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The Prince of Wales is the world’s longest serving heir apparent, supporting Her Majesty the Queen as her representative while also playing an important role in founding and supporting numerous charitable causes. And on the 14th November this year, HRH The Prince of Wales will celebrate a landmark birthday.
To celebrate the 70th birthday of our future King, The Royal Mint has just announced the release of a brand new UK coin.The release of this coin is sure to be exciting for Change Checkers in the knowledge that the last UK £5 coin that featured Prince Charles turned out to be extremely rare.
The Prince of Wales has had numerous commemorative coins minted to mark special occasions throughout his lifetime, and to celebrate his 70th birthday we’ve taken a look back at the history of Prince Charles in coins. From his first marriage to Princess Diana, to landmark birthday celebrations and now in 2018 as heir apparent to the throne, he will celebrate his 70th birthday…
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer 25 pence – 1981
The first ever UK coin issued in the Prince of Wales’ honour, was for his wedding to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. The coin was struck by The Royal Mint and was a crown tariffed at 25 pence (although no denomination was actually inscribed on the coin).
It was the first time that three people were portrayed on a British coin simultaneously, with the reverse featuring the conjoined profiles of the bridal couple and the effigy of Her Majesty the Queen by Arnold Machin RA.
Prince Charles’ 50th birthday – 1998
To mark his 50th birthday, The Royal Mint struck a £5 coin issued in five metal versions, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Prince of Wales’ Trust.
This charitable organisation was established to further the interests of young people and also provides the theme for the reverse, which portrays the Prince alongside a 33 word inscription setting out the aims and ideals of the Trust. This inscription is so long that it actually takes the title as the longest inscription on any British coin!
The Wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles – 2005
This 1 Dollar coin from the Cook Islands was issued to celebrate the wedding of Charles and Camilla, however it actually features the wrong date following a last minute delay to the wedding of 24 hours, so that HRH Prince Charles could attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II as the representative of the Queen. The date was unable to be changed as the coins had already been struck!
The design features a portrait of the couple and the incorrect date ‘08.04.2005’ and has a very low mintage of just 5,000, making it a significantly scarce and collectible coin.
Prince Charles and Prince Charles’ 60th birthday – 2008
This £5 coin was released for Prince Charles’ 60th birthday and in fact has the lowest mintage figure in the history of UK ‘circulated’ £5 coins. Just 14,088 of these coins were struck by The Royal Mint in 2008 and was one of the last £5 coins to be issued at face value.
This coin features the portrait of Charles by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, whose effigy of the Queen has been used on British coins since 1998. The inscription ICH DIEN means ‘I serve’ and is taken from the Badge of the Prince of Wales.
This coin is extremely sought after by collectors but unfortunately we do not have any stock currently available. Are you lucky enough to have this coin in your collection?
Four Generations of Royalty
At the start of this year, The Royal Mint released this £5 coin which was highly anticipated from the moment HRH Prince George of Cambridge was born on 22nd July 2013 – The Four Generations of Royalty £5 coin.
This is the first time ever that The Royal Mint has issued a coin that celebrates all four generations in line to the throne on a single coin.
The reverse features an original design by much-loved calligrapher Timothy Noad, and ornately shows the initials of the current four generations, E, C, W, G, and represents the heritage of the House of Windsor.
Prince Charles’ 70th birthday – 2018
2018 has been a truly unforgettable year for the Royals, celebrating the Queen’s 65th Jubilee, the birth of Prince Louis, the marriage of Harry and Meghan and on the 14th of November, the 70th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales.
This brand new £5 coin celebrates Prince Charles’ 70th birthday this year, featuring a brand new portrait of the Prince, created by widely respected designer, Robert Elderston who was once an apprentice engraver at The Royal Mint at its previous home in Tower hill more than 50 years ago.
What makes this coin particularly interesting is that it could be very similar to the portrait of Prince Charles that will feature on all United Kingdom coinage once he becomes King.
The 2018 Prince Charles £5 has now been officially released and is available to order here >>
It’s clear that each coin commemorating a momentus period of Prince Charles’ life has proven to be a rarity in some way, whether it be due to having such a low mintage figure, an unusual design or fascinating story.
As we know, £5 coins are reserved for the most important Royal and Historical anniversaries, and this £5 is the perfect way to celebrate the birthday of our future King.