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…
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.
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.
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
Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app
With the release of the brand new Paddington 50p coin series in 2018, I’ve been thinking back over some of the UK’s top coin releases and of course nothing is quite as exciting as a whole series of brand new coins to add to your collection! But which series has been your favourite, Change Checkers…?
The results are now in and it’s safe to say that we have a clear winner with the coin series that started it all – the Olympic 50ps! That’s right, Change Checkers voted this hugely popular series as their favourite and it’s no wonder, as these coins created a collecting storm back in 2012 when coin collectors and Olympic enthusiasts alike looked to secure these coins for their Olympic collections.
Find out more about these coins below and take a look at the results of our poll at the bottom of this page.
Coming in a close second were the brand new 2018 RAF £2 coins, closely followed by the new A-Z 10p coins. It seems that Change Checker’s are really enjoying these new coins releases and whilst the RAF coins haven’t been released into circulation yet and the A-Z 10ps are proving tricky to find, they are clearly holding a lot of appeal for collectors.
Read all about these coins, and the other 50p and £2 coin series below.
The first series to really kick start coin collector’s of the nation was the Olympic 50p series, which has since become so popular that it’s now estimated that 75% of the coins have been removed from circulation by collectors!
So what made this coin series so special? The 2012 Olympics were of course a hugely exciting time for Britain and people were undoubtedly looking for a ‘free’ souvenir to mark this significant event.
Struck at the organisation’s headquarters in South Wales, the coins were designed by members of the public as part of a Royal Mint competition in which nearly 30,000 entries were submitted. They are the first ever UK coins to be designed by the public.
Each of the twenty-nine 50p coins features an Olympic or Paralympic sport on its reverse. These include sailing, cycling and basketball as well as less well-known sports such as handball and the Paralympic sport boccia.
The 50p coins are seen as a perfect souvenir to remember London 2012 due to their intrinsic value and quality which holds an interest and fascination for generations to come and have been officially voted by Change Checkers as their favourite coin series!
2016 Beatrix Potter 50ps
Following the collecting sensation of the Olympic 50ps, the Beatrix Potter 50p coin series quickly became the next big thing to get Change Checkers and coin collectors across the nation excited! There have been three series of these hugely popular 50ps, with each series including much-loved characters from the Beatrix Potter books.
The first series was released by The Royal Mint in 2016 to mark 150 years since the birth of the beloved children’s author and featured 5 coins including Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle Duck and a coin depicting elements that celebrate the life of Beatrix Potter.
The response from collectors was staggering, with The Royal Mint’s website crashing under the sheer weight of the public’s interest in the first morning of the 2016 Peter Rabbit 50p going on sale.
He has since featured in each of the following series, the only character to appear in all three, which just goes to show what a popular little bunny he is!
2017 Beatrix Potter 50ps
In 2017, much to the delight of coin collectors across the nation, The Royal Mint released a brand new series of Beatrix Potter 50ps to carry on the celebrations of some of Beatrix Potter’s most loved animals.
This series included Peter Rabbit (of course), Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten and Benjamin Bunny.
The huge popularity of the previous year’s coins meant that collector’s couldn’t wait to get their hands on these coins and build their collection of Beatrix Potter 50ps.
We are now starting to see these coins entering circulation, with Tom Kitten and Jeremy Fisher turning up in people’s change, so make sure to keep your eye out for them!
2018 Beatrix Potter 50ps
This year, we’ve seen another Beatrix Potter series released and collectors seem to be continuing to fall in love with the adorable characters on these coins.
Peter Rabbit returns for a third year running in the 2018 series, alongside his friends Flopsy Bunny, the Tailor of Gloucester and Mrs Tittlemouse.
These coins have not been released into circulation yet and mintage figures remain unknown for now, but all four coins are now available to buy in Brilliant Uncirculated quality and collectors remain eager to snap up these coins for their Beatrix Potter collections.
But that’s not the end of the story for 50p coin series, because in 2018 The Royal Mint also issued a brand new series celebrating the 60th anniversary of Britain’s most loved bear, Paddington™!
Coin collectors were whipped into a frenzy with the excitement of owning these new 50p coins and it has even been suggested that this could be the most sought-after 50p coin series ever!
Two coins have now been released and are available to purchase in Brilliant Uncirculated quality, the first featuring Paddington wearing his iconic mack, sat on his suitcase at the station and the second showing the delightful bear waving a Union Jack flag outside Buckingham Palace.
This is the first time Paddington has featured on UK coinage and the world of coin collecting has been abuzz with the news of the release ever since The Royal Mint announced the coins would be issued earlier this year.
Have you secured your 2018 Paddington 50p coins yet?
Following a review of the United Kingdom’s coinage in 1996, the decision was made that a general-circulation £2 coin was needed and so the bi-metallic coin we know today was introduced. Whilst these coins are now in circulation and not reserved just for collectors, they have still become increasingly collectable, with a number of £2 coin series being released over the years.
Commonwealth Games £2s
The 2002 Commonwealth Games £2 coins are known as some of the scarcest £2 coins now in circulation, with even the largest mintage (Scotland) set at just 771,750!
But the coin you really need to be looking out for is the Northern Ireland £2. Just 485,000 coins were ever struck making it officially the UK’s rarest £2 coin.
At first glance, you might struggle to spot the difference between them. They all feature the same running athlete trailing a banner behind, but each has a different cameo, representing each of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom.
Are you lucky enough to have these coins in your collection?
In 2016, three different £2 coins were issued to honour Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies and historical works and were released into circulation just in time for the 400th anniversary of his death on the 23nd April 2016.
The coins were certainly amongst the favourites of collectors that year with the Skull design in particular receiving a lot of attention, and not just from collectors.
Each coin pays tribute to one of Shakespeare’s major genres and the reverse designs take inspiration from his most famous plays, including Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth.
Which Shakespeare £2 is your favourite?
World War One £2s
To mark the centenary of the First World War, the Royal Mint revealed a five-year commemoration of the wartime journey from outbreak to armistice.
The first coin in the series bears sculptor John Bergdahl’s depiction of Lord Kitchener’s famous call to arms alongside the words YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU. The British Secretary of War became synonymous with the enlistment campaign when war was declared on 4th August 1914.
Following coins in the series have featured renowned military artist David Rowlands design for the reverse of the Navy coin, Tim Sharp’s Army design honouring the ‘Pals Battalions’, the Aviation design by ‘Tangerine’ and Stephen Raw’s interpretation of Armistice which features the words ‘The truth untold, the pity of war’, from the Wilfred Owen poem Strange Meeting.
As this year marks the centenary of the end of World War One, this coin series is particularly poignant.
In this special centenary year, the Royal Air Force has been commemorated with a series of five brand new £2 coins!
The Royal Air Force was formed on April 1st 1918, in the early years of aviation. It was the world’s first independent air force, and is recognised today all over the world for its capability, courage and innovation, which has been represented on these striking coin designs, depicting some of the most iconic RAF aircraft ever flown.
These coins haven’t been released into circulation yet, but are already proving to be hugely popular with collectors and RAF supporters alike.
The first coin in the series features the synonymous RAF Badge, whilst the other four coin designs represent aircraft including the Spitfire, Vulcan, Sea King and F35 Lightning.
This striking series has been voted in second place by Change Checkers which is a fantastic achievement for these brand new coins.
A-Z 10p coins!
26 new UK commemorative 10p coins were released into circulation this year and collectors across the country have joined the nationwide coin hunt to get their hands on these hugely sought-after little coins.
The coins each feature a different letter from A-Z and each letter celebrates a different Great British icon, from Angel of the North to Zebra Crossing and everything in between (my personal favourite is ‘G’ for Greenwich Meantime).
We know that 2.6 million have been released so far overall, but exact mintages for each design are not yet available and so collectors are desperately trying to build up their collection of all 26 coins.
Whilst reports have come in from people starting to find these coins, they are certainly proving tricky to get hold of and it seems that they are quickly being snapped up by eagle eyed collectors!
These little coins have made the top three as voted by Change Checkers, but have you found any in your change and which design is your favourite?
Results of the vote!
It’s always worth taking time to appreciate the fantastic designs we see on UK coinage and I must say that each of these series is truly unique and impressive in its own way.
So now you’ve been brought up to speed with the top UK coin series, take a look at which series Change Checkers have voted as their favourite.
See the results of the vote here:
Which UK coins are missing from your collection?
In the summer of 1768, British explorer, Captain Cook set sail for the ‘Great South Land’ on his famous Voyage of Discovery.
250 years on, The Royal Mint announced they would be commemorating Captain Cook’s extraordinary travels with a unique coin series to feature three beautifully designed £2 coins.
This is the first time Captain Cook has appeared on a UK coin and today, the BRAND NEW second coin in the collection has been released!
His famous ship, HM Bark Endeavour features on the design and, just like a secret map, when all three coins in the collection are placed together the design can be seen as a whole.
The first coin was released in 2018 and saw huge popularity from Collector’s and explorers alike!
Now the second coin has been released, collector’s only have one left to wait for – due for release in 2020 – to complete the collection.
Cook’s great expeditions to the South Seas had a hidden agenda – carrying secret orders from the British Admiralty who hoped for him to discover ‘a Continent or Land of great extent’ to take possession of ‘in the Name of the King of Great Britain’.
On each epic journey, Cook made spectacular discoveries which expanded the understanding of the world beyond known horizons.
Artefacts such as maps, logs, paintings and journals recorded during Cook’s voyages revealed a new and exciting world, transforming the European view of the Pacific Ocean.
By 1770, his first voyage aboard the Endeavour brought Cook to the southern coast of New South Wales and from there he continued northwards, charting Australia’s eastern coastline.
On the 22nd August 1770, Captain Cook fulfilled his mission and claimed the eastern Australian continent for Great Britain.
However, the intrepid voyager did not stop there. He embarked upon two more expeditions in 1772 and 1776 to find an inhabited southern continent in the Antarctic Circle and a passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Secure the BRAND NEW 2019 Captain Cook £2 coin
You can now own the second £2 coin to commemorate Captain Cook’s Voyage of Discovery.