Coins of the Royal Mint

by blackspanielgallery

The Royal Mint has been in operation for approximately eleven hundred years, and makes some high quality coins such as the gold sovereign and the silver Britannia.

The Royal Mint has been minting coins for roughly eleven hundred years of operation, and has made coins not only for Brittan but also for numerous other countries. Today some of those countries, such as Canada and Australia no longer depend upon the Royal Mint for their coins, having their own mints. In the case of Australia the current mints are located where old branch mints of the Royal Mint once were, perhaps not in the original buildings but in the same vicinity. While some countries still have the royal Mint produce their coins, some no longer do and have opted to have another source for their money. But the Royal Mint is still charged with minting all of the coins for the United Kingdom.

Needless to say the history of the Royal Mint is reflected in a vast number of collectible coins. And still more collectible coins are being produced regularly.

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Collecting Coins from Brittan, and Earlier from England

The Royal Mint predates the United Kingdom.  Perhaps a good way to collect coins from the Royal Mint is to start with English coins that were made before the United Kingdom came about.  England is one of the oldest countries in the world, and still is a country, albeit not one with its own unique coinage.  Today only coins of the United Kingdom are circulated in England. 


It is possible to find older English coins, but they will not be found in circulation.  They must be obtained from a dealer or passed down within a family.  Yes, some are still being dug up and salvaged, but those are few in number.


The Effigy of the Monarch

It is tradition that the monarch’s effigy be placed on the obverse, or heads side, of all coins from the United Kingdom.  It is also tradition that the monarch face the opposite way than the previous monarch did.  This makes the change in coinage apparent.  The exception is that George V and George VI both face left, which I thought might be because Edward VIII would have the right facing effigy, but research shows that only uncirculated issues had the Edward VIII effigy during his partial year as king, and he is shown as also facing to the right.

Getting Started Does Not Really Cost

The Royal Mint currently makes 20 pounds for 20 pounds coins.  This is a way to get started in coin collecting without risking much.  In fact, except for the shipping fee there is no risk at all.  The Royal Mint now makes twenty pound coins and sells them for twenty pounds.  These are made in a smaller quantity than circulation coins, so they have the potential to escalate in value.  And, if you decide to discontinue your collection you can spend the coin for twenty pounds, or take it to the bank and deposit it.  The name comes from paying twenty pounds for a twenty pound coin.


To see more information from the Royal Mint you can go through the 20 for 20 link provided above.  

The Gold Sovereign

And Fractional Gold Coins

One of the coins that really celebrates the Royal Mint’s quality is the Gold Sovereign.  The coins are available in a multitude of sizes including fractional coins which are fractions of a Sovereign, and minted in twenty-two karat gold.  They all have low mintages, yet it is still possible to find older sovereigns on the Royal Mint’s site, dating back as far as 1979.  If you have missed one for your collection perhaps the mint still has it available.  It is worth the look.


Ordering directly from the mint allows you to know the coin was properly handled and stored, something not possible with a coin bough on the secondary market.  I recommend you view the several pages of sovereigns available from the mint before purchasing from another source, then look at the price comparisons.


The highlighted link to the Gold Sovereign will take you to one of many pages showing these beautiful coins.

The Britannia

Britannia, the Roman female name for Brittan, is a familiar image on British coins.  Now it is the familiar image on silver bullion coins.  The two pound Britannia is perhaps the best of the silver bullion coins available.  But, like most mints the bullion is not part of the website.  They do have nice proof versions of the Britannia, and a two pound fine silver coin with a proof finish in the lunar series.  I recommend both of these highly.

The Silver Penny

The penny, the smallest denomination coin in use in the United Kingdom today, comes in a special version minted in brilliant uncirculated condition, and is made of Sterling silver.  The silver penny is intended as a gift for a newborn baby.  While it is advertised as a lucky silver penny, this is an object, so it has no magical power to bring luck of any sort.  

Commemorative Coins

If you plan to own a gold coin perhaps the Trinity House coin would be a beautiful, and quite rich with history, choice.  Trinity House is the organization of lighthouses which was established in 1514, by order of then King Henry VIII.  The lighthouses have been serving mariners ever since, and the 500th anniversary gold coin featuring a lighthouse is a wonderful way to own a gold coin.


Silver commemorative coins are many.  One event that is currently the subject of both gold and silver commemorative coins is the Longest Reigning Monarch celebration. Numerous coins can be found commemorating this event, and whether you feel the monarchy is significant or past its time the length of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II is a remarkable feat.  It is well worth celebrating with a keepsake coin.


Of course other commemorative coins are available, especially coins featuring World War I, Winston Churchill, and a myriad of other events. 

Effigy Change Year

End of the Fourth Effigy of Queen Elizabeth II

2015 is the last year for the fourth effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the coins of the United Kingdom.  A set of uncirculated coins from 2015 consisting of the two pound, the one pound, the 50 p, the 20 p, the 10 p, the 5 p, the 2 p, and the 1 p coins is available.  Just look the Royal Mint’s description of uncirculated coin set for more details. Of course for the best quality you can always add a proof set of the fourth effigy coins to your collection.  This would be a great way to start a collection, or to build your collection.

The Half Penny

The half penny, or half pence, was last circulated in 1984.  Prior to 1984 it was issued as a denomination of the coins of the United Kingdom.  In fact it had two denominations, one for decimal coinage and one for pre-decimal coinage.

Older Coins Decimal

Older decimal coins are no longer available at the Royal Mint, but are easily found on Ebay.  Collectors should have no difficulty finding coin for a collection.  Decimal coins date back to 1872, with a few denominations having been issued as early as 1968.  

Older Coins Pre-Decimal

Before decimal coinage there were pennies, farthings, and shillings, florins, and crowns, as well as coins of fractions and multiples of these were in circulation, such as the half penny, three penny, and three farthing, among others. 


What Should You Collect?

Of course when looking at such an old country, one can even make a collection of ancient coins.  Just remember you do not have to collect all denominations, or all periods.  Few collectors do.  Collect what interests you.  Of course, ou cannot go wrong with a 20 pounds for 20 pounds coin.


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Updated: 09/29/2017, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 09/26/2015

It is the same for Canada, and I believe Australia and New Zealand. Many countries still use an effigy of the current monarch.

CruiseReady on 09/26/2015

Interesting about the left facing and right facing profiles of the monarchs. That's something few non collectors would ever know, so I learned something here!

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