The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 21, May 22, 2016, Article 33


A May 19, 2016 Coin Update article by Michael Alexander discusses the newly opened Royal Mint visitor center in Wales. Here's a short excerpt - be sure to read the complete article online. -Editor

The day before its official opening, the Royal Mint previewed the new visitor's center based in Wales, which they have appropriately entitled “The Royal Mint Experience.” A small list of guests were invited in before the doors opened to the public, and luckily I was among them.

Although I was given a personal tour by one of the Royal Mint's resident coin experts from start to finish, I felt as though I could easily take the tour again to get a better look at the many coins and informative videos on display. There's a lot of information to take in as it all represents over a thousand years of coin-making. The Royal Mint has done well to ensure visitors are knowledgeable by the time they take their leave.

Coin Design Royal Mint experience

When you arrive at their immense production facility, opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1968, you are welcomed by a modern, new purpose-built annex to the main complex that has its own entrance aside from the business entrance of the Mint. A large lobby offers you the choice of going directly to the retail and souvenir shop to the left of the entrance or to the large naturally sunlit café that opens to a terrace with outdoor seating.

Unless you're in need of some refreshments, make your way directly to the first chamber of the tour which includes an introductory video explaining the origins of the Royal Mint — after all they are the country's oldest continuing business entity, having produced the coinage of the realm since the 9th century, beginning with Alfred the Great's first silver pennies. After passing through security gates — you are entering the actual grounds of the Mint so checks are in effect — you are led by your tour host to the first chamber, which includes a welcome video. The video is short but informative; from there the behind-the-scenes excitement begins.

medieval hand striking coins
A video demonstrates medieval hand striking coins.

The next phase of the experience is where the visitor's center excels. This is when you are guided to the actual floor of production, but first things first. A new exhibit has been added to a former lobby that includes a set-up of the preliminary steps of coin production. On display are large bricks of metal that are destined to become someone's pocket change, with ingots and pressed rolls of suitable plates where the blanks are punched out of for eventual minting. Dies and collars — the part of the coin which becomes the edge of all coins — are explained, and machinery is used to demonstrate how the letters found on many British and international coinage are added to increase security. There is a current set of dies of the British circulation coins on display, including the latest obverse portraits of the Queen as well as some of the newest reverse designs for both circulation and commemorative coins.

The next stop is where the coins of over 60 countries are produced, including those of the United Kingdom. The main floor of production for the Royal Mint is in use and minting coins 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, except during holidays. Here visitors can see for the first time just how the production is carried out without receiving a special invitation from the management, or having to wear a hardhat and safety vest.

George III reformed coinage dies As the visitor's center has at its disposal the consultancy of the museum of the Royal Mint, there is a great possibility that in addition to those rarities currently on display future exhibitions will feature many more coins seldom seen by the public.

With the preview tour concluded, it was time to catch up with those members of Royal Mint management and staff that have had a direct hand in the completion of the new complex to thank them for their hospitality. I thoroughly enjoyed myself; this enterprise was indeed long overdue and I'm glad it has finally become a reality.

Whether you are a genuine coin fanatic or just mildly curious as to how a small metal disk is turned into one of the coins found in your pocket, I wholly recommend a visit to the new Royal Mint Expe

To read the complete article, see:
Grand Opening: “Royal Mint Experience” Visitor Center Welcomes Coin Enthusiasts and Friends (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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