The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 15, April 6, 2014, Article 20


Last week we published an article about Mint robberies, and I asked which other famous robberies should be added to the list. Philip Mernick passed along these. -Editor

Royal Mint, 16 January 1830

A workman, of the name of George Keith, contrived on Saturday morning to steal from the Mint, 2804 pieces of gold, termed blanks, or unstamped sovereigns. We have obtained a more accurate account of the particulars than any that has yet appeared in the newspapers. Keith is a Scotchman ; be had been in the employ of the company of Moneyers since 1813, and was looked upon as one of their most trusty servants, not only by his employers, but by the whole establishment; so much so, that when, loaded as he was with 60 lbs. weight of gold, he passed and spoke to several of his fellow workmen, not one of them had the slightest suspicion of what was passing...

To read the complete article, see: ROBBERY OF THE ROYAL MINT (

James Turnbull: Theft Before Breakfast

James Turnbull was a soldier who was recruited to work at the Mint. By 9am on the 20th December 1798 Turnbull and his fellow workers had struck several thousand guineas and were ready to go for breakfast. However, Turnbull and an accomplice lagged behind, attacked two of the supervisors and threatened them with a pistol to give up the key to the chest containing the freshly-minted coins.

The supervisors were locked inside a large cupboard whilst Turnbull stuffed four bags of guineas, containing 2,308 coins and weighing about 19 kilograms, into his coat pockets. He escaped from the Tower and was not heard of again until the 5th January when he attempted to buy passage to France from Dover on a fishing boat.

Unfortunately for Turnbull, he was recognised from a ‘Wanted’ poster, arrested, and sentenced to death. He was hanged on 15th May 1799.

To read the complete article, see: Surprising stories of the Mint (

2001 Royal Mint Banknote Theft

Royal Mint chiefs have been strongly criticised for a series of mistakes that led to the theft of more than £25,000 from a safe. The Public Accounts Committee found that management had a "lax attitude" to basic financial controls, which saw £25,680 in £20 bank notes stolen, contributing to a £6.5m operating loss.

The notes disappeared between April and December, 2001. No one has been charged.

The committee criticised the Mint's security arrangements, which saw a safe left unlocked and the absence of security cameras.

Despite its Llantrisant plant in South Wales being guarded by Ministry of Defence police, the theft went undiscovered for up to eight months.

To read the complete article, see: Royal Mint Chiefs Blasted Over Robbery (/

Chris Fuccione had a different kind of theft in mind. -Editor

Chris writes:

There Is one robbery that I would have had as #1 on the list. That is the 1933 Double Eagles that were stolen from the Mint and ended up in Israel Switt's coin shop because it is 2014 and those coins are still making headlines. If they were not stolen and accidently got released into circulation, why then did they all end up with one jewelry (coin) dealer? They should have ended up in different hands. This is why I believe the rumors that a cashier at the Mint stole them and sold them to Switt.

Well, there are many ways to look at the situation, and the government and the Switt family's lawyers have tried all of them. The only thing for certain is that we may never know exactly how the deal went down or whether it was on the up-and-up at the time. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE TOP FIVE MOST NOTORIOUS MINT ROBBERIES (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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