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Posts Tagged ‘The Royal Mint’

The coins born from war and ice…

During its lifetime, The Royal Mint has struck coins for over 100 different countries from around the globe.

But do you know the story of how they came to strike Icelandic coinage?

The ‘inauguration’ of Iceland’s coinage

The story of how The Royal Mint came to strike Iceland’s coins began in World War Two.

After a night where the windows and roofs of The Royal Mint at Tower Hill had been destroyed by enemy action, the very first British-struck Icelandic coins were born as “a glacial wind whirled round the coining presses to inaugurate this coinage of Iceland” (explained by John Craig, The Deputy Master of The Royal Mint, in his annual report).

Prior to World War II, Iceland was ruled by the Danish crown and Icelandic coins had been struck by The Copenhagen Mint.

But the fall of Denmark into enemy hands during the war meant that Iceland had to look elsewhere for its coinage requirements…

First ever British-struck Icelandic coins

It was in 1940 that The Royal Mint received its first order to strike the five Icelandic denominations from 1 Eyrir (0.01 Krόnur) to 25 Aurar (0.25 Krόnur).

The coins born from war and ice...
1940 1 Eyrir. Credit: Numista

This was soon followed by additional orders for Krόnur and 2 Krόnur coins.

Not only did The Royal Mint experience damages to the building during WWII, but the price of nickel also rose substantially as the metal was in extremely high demand for munitions.

This meant it became necessary to strike the 1942 dated 10 and 25 Icelandic Aurar coins in the ‘poor metal’ of zinc rather than the now commonly used Cupro-nickel.

The coins born from war and ice...
1942 10 Aurar made from zinc. Credit: Numista

The new coins series

In June 1944 Iceland became a republic. A new series of coins were introduced in 1946, which remained in use for the next 35 years.

A full rendering of the national Coat of Arms appeared on the Krόnur and 2 Krόnur, complete with the bull, eagle, dragon and giant supporters.

The coins born from war and ice...
1 Krόnur coin depicting the national Coat of Arms. Credit: Numista

Four new denominations were added in the late 1960s, including the 50 Aurar, 5 Krόnur, 10 Krόnur and 50 Krόnur.

Iceland’s first commemorative coins

Iceland’s first commemorative coin was struck at The Royal Mint in 1961 – a gold 500 Krόnur marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of the scholar and statements, Jόn Sigurdsson.

The coins born from war and ice...
1961 Gold 500 Krόnur. Credit: CoinArchives.com

Iceland became a free and sovereign nation in 1918 when the Union Treaty with Denmark came into effect on the 1st December. To commemorate 50 years since this historic moment, a 50 Krόnur coin was issued.

In its first year of issue in 1968, the reverse design of the 50 Krόnur included a representation of the Althing (Parliament) building and carried an inscription marking the 50th anniversary of the achievement of Icelandic national sovereignty.

The coins born from war and ice...
1968 50 Krόnur. Credit: Numista

In 1974, The Royal Mint issued a three coin series of gold and silver coins, designed by Throstur Magnusson to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the settlement of Iceland.

The coins born from war and ice...
1974 Gold Proof 10,000 Krόnur. Credit: Numista

A major reform to Iceland’s coinage

The Icelandic financial market suffered hyperinflation in 1981, which was settled by a major reform of the coinage, resulting in a complete redesign and revaluation of the circulating coins.

100 old Krόnur was now worth just 1 new Krόna. As well as 1 and 5 Krόna coins, denominations of 5, 10 and 50 Aurar were also introduced.

The new obverses, in keeping with Magnusson’s designs, depicted the traditional protector spirits (“Landvættir”) of Iceland.

The coins born from war and ice...
1 – 100 Krόnur. Credit: Numista

Each reverse portrays a variety of aquatic life, including dolphins, cod and northern shrimp.

As Iceland’s economy has been founded on fishing for so long, the pungent smell of fish smelting came to be known as “money smell”.

It’s great to discover more about different coins from around the world, and I’m sure you’ll agree that the stories behind Icelandic coinage are really fascinating.

If you’re lucky enough to have come across any Icelandic coins during your trips abroad, let us know in the comments below.


If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

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Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app

How are coins made? The 5 stages of coin production

Have you ever wondered how the coins in your change are made?

From the drawing board to your pocket, there’s a lot that goes into the production of UK coins, and so we’ve put together a 5 stage infographic to break it down for you…

How are coins made? The 5 stages of coin production

1) Designing

First, The Royal Mint’s marketing team look at possible themes and develop a brief for the designer. They work with internal artists, graphic designers and external artists such as competition winners.

The designer sketches a concept either by hand or on a computer and this is sent to The Royal Mint Advisory Committee for feedback and approval.

The final stage in design is to send the coin to the Queen for final sign off of the design.

It was actually revealed recently that the Queen took a particular liking to the 2019 Stephen Hawking 50p, which has proven to be a big success and a hugely popular design this year.

2) Moulding and Engraving the Master Die

Designs are transferred and sculpted onto a plaster mould 5 times the size of the coin.

This model will be scanned and stored as a digital image to be used by an engraving machine.

The transfer-engraver reproduces the design onto a master die the same diameter as the coin to be struck.

This will be used to make the dies that will actually strike the coins.

3) Blanking

Sheets of metal are pressed into the exact thickness of the coin required and then rolled into coils.

These huge coiled strips of metal are then cut into the correct shapes by blanking presses.

The presses punch out blank discs with a pressure of around 60 tonnes, creating coins at a speed of 850 strikes per minute!

The blanks are checked before being annealed and blanched to create a lustre suitable for coining.

4) Striking

To transfer the design onto the blanks to be struck, the coin blank is pressed between two dies using a hydraulic press.

The variable pressure of the press is up to hundreds of pounds per square inch.

This forms the shape and design of the finished coin, striking up to 25,000 coins every hour!

5) Inspecting, Sorting and Bagging

The final stage involves checking the coins for imperfections and sorting them into the correct denominations or designs.

They are wrapped and stacked in bags to be stored in ‘the long room’, ready for despatch.

The Royal Mint and cash distribution services regularly review the amount of coins in circulation and it’s only when they are short of a particular denomination that stocks will be called from The Royal Mint, and these coins will be issued into circulation, ready and waiting to be found in your change!

I don’t know about you, but the next time I check my change I’ll certainly be considering the journey the coins have been through to end up in my purse and the incredible production process that goes into creating UK coins.


If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

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Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app

Vote for your favourite 50p coins from the last 50 years!

This year the 50p celebrates 50 years since its introduction in 1969, when it was released as the first coin in the new decimal series.

In 1967, the Deputy Master of The Royal Mint approached the Decimal Currency Board to discuss the introduction of a new coin as a more economical replacement for the 10 shilling note or ’10 bob’, which was only lasting 5 months in circulation at the time, compared to the 50 year lifespan of a coin. With much difficulty and debate to decide upon the best shape, the seven sided design was finally chosen (the first of its kind) and released 2 years later.

The original reverse was designed by Christopher Ironside and featured the seated Britannia alongside a lion. This coin was issued between 1969 and 2008, after which The Royal Mint held a public competition to redesign the reverse of UK coins, with Matthew Dent’s winning shield design featuring on the reverse of definitive 50p coins since.

 

Vote for your favourite 50p coins from the last 50 years!

Vote for your favourite 50p coin!

There have been over 70 designs released on UK 50p coins over the last 50 years, and their longevity is testament to the 50 year lifespan claimed by the Deputy Master of The Royal Mint.

But with so many different 50p designs being issued, which one is your favourite?

We’ve split the coins up into the 4 categories below so that you can vote for your favourite from each before choosing an overall winner out of the top 4 shortlisted.

Click on the links below to vote for each category:

We’ll announce the top 4 coins shortlisted and give you the chance to vote for your favourite overall 50p coin next week.

 


 

If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

Change Checker Web App Banner 2 Amends 1024x233 1 1024x233 - The FIRST EVER A-Z 10p Scarcity Index!

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app