The Royal Mint is the oldest mint in the world and produces all the coinage for the United Kingdom. That includes circulation coins, precious metal bullion coins, numismatic and commemorative coins. The mint's flagship bullion coin are the British Britannia coins that are minted out of gold and silver. The Sovereign coins as well as the British Lunar and Queen's Beasts coin series are also quite popular among many coin collectors and investors. The mint also produces military and commemorative medals as well as coins and coin blanks for many other countries. The Royal Mint prides itself for being the largest and most advanced minting facility in the world. As the world's leading export mint it manufactures coins for about 60 countries each year. The Royal Mint is registered as a limited company that is wholly owned by the United Kingdom's Treasury (HM Treasury).
The Royal Mint is located in a 13-hectare (35 acre) facility in Llantrisant (Pontyclun, Mid Glamorgan) in South Wales. The mint mark of the Royal Mint in Llantrisant is a cross crosslet but it is rarely used.
Recently, the Royal Mint opened a new visitor center at its premises in Wales which makes visits of the mint (both individuals as well as groups) possible for much larger numbers of people than before. Named as "The Royal Mint Experience", a visit of the Royal Mint is made up of two parts, a guided factory experience (45 min in length) and a self-guided interactive exhibition. During the first part, visitors will learn how blank pieces of metal are manufactured before being struck by a press to become coins. The striking hall where thousands of coins are produced daily will be visible from a viewing area. As an optional extra, visitors of the factory experience have the opportunity to strike their own £1 coin. The interactive exhibition that follows explores the Royal Mint's history, showcases coins and medals that the mint has produced and informs visitors about coin collecting and the different manufacturing processes involved in coin production.
The Royal Mint Experience is situated about 12 miles north-west of the city of Cardiff (4 miles from Junction 34 of the M4). Visitors are advised to pre-book their tickets online or through the phone.
A London mint started operating sometime after 650 AD. During the reign of Alfred the Great (871-899 AD) it started to become more important. By about 1279, the mint had moved to the Tower of London where it remained for the next 500 years. Between 1810 and 1812, the Royal Mint gradually moved to newly constructed buildings on Little Tower Hill. This new site was reconstructed and extended in the 1880's and then again at the turn of the century. Increasing demand for coinage necessitated nearly constant rebuilding and expansion of the mint facility. Even before the Tower Hill site of the Royal Mint had reached its production capacity in 1971, a new Royal Mint in Llantrisant had already been opened by the Queen on the 17th of December 1968. The Royal Mint in London continued to operate until November 1975 when its last coin, a gold sovereign, was struck. The new mint in Llantrisant ran a full range of minting activities by then. The Royal Mint in Llantrisant was registered as a limited company on the 31st of December 2009. Royal Mint Ltd. is wholly owned by the United Kingdom's Treasury (HM Treasury).
Mintage of the British Gold Britannia coins started in 1987. Their reverse side generally shows a helmet-clad standing Britannia holding an olive branch, shield and trident. In certain years, the design of the coin's reverse side differs from that standard design though. The coins were made out of 91.67% pure gold alloyed with copper at first. In 1990, the non-gold component changed from copper to silver. Both brilliant uncirculated and proof versions of the coins are offered. In 2013, the British Gold Britannias had their gold purity raised to 99.99%. Many different denominations of the coins between 1/40 oz and 5 oz are offered by Britain's Royal Mint.
The British Gold Britannia page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.
In their current form, British Gold Sovereign coins are minted since 1957 by Britain's renowned Royal Mint. Sovereign gold coins were reintroduced in 1817 after previously having existed in medieval times since 1489. The 91.67% pure British Gold Sovereigns are one of the world's most recognizable coins. That is partly due to Benedetto Pistrucci's famous reverse design of the coins that shows St. George slaying the dragon. That design still appears on almost every annual issue of the coins but alternate designs were used in certain years as well. Three different finishes - bullion, brilliant uncirculated, proof - and five different sizes between 0.0588 oz (Quarter-Sovereign) and 1.1771 oz (Quintuple-Sovereign) are currently being offered.
The British Gold Sovereign page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.
British Gold Lunar coins are struck out of 99.99% fine gold since 2014. The first inaugural issue was dedicated to the Chinese Year of the Horse and each year since then, the coins displayed that year's Chinese zodiac animal on their reverse. Buyers can choose between the denominations of 1/10 oz, 1 oz, 5 oz and 1 kg with the two largest sizes only available as proof coins. Annual mintage numbers of the gold version of the British Lunar coins are quite limited. This coin series by Britain's Royal Mint is also known as the Shengxiào Collection. It is scheduled to end in 2025. By that time, coins depicting all 12 Chinese zodiac animals will have been issued.
The British Gold Lunar page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.
The Royal Mint introduced the Queen's Beasts gold coins in 2016, making them the newest gold coin series by a major minting institution. The first three coins of the series came out in rapid succession and displayed the Lion of England, the Griffin of Edward III and the Red Dragon of Wales. A total of 10 coin designs will eventually have appeared on the Queen's Beasts gold coins when the series ends in 2021. The coins are minted out of 99.99% pure gold. Brilliant uncirculated coins are minted according to market demand in the sizes of 1 oz and 1/4 oz. Mintage of the four proof coin sizes (1 kg, 5 oz, 1 oz, 1/4 oz) is capped however.
The Queen's Beasts Gold coin page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.
The Royal Mint started issuing British Silver Britannia coins in 1997, but only as 1 oz proofs at first. Brilliant uncirculated coins are minted since 1998. The coins were minted out of 95.8% fine silver until 2012. The silver purity was raised to 99.9% in 2013. Since then, brilliant uncirculated British Silver Britannias are minted according to market demand without an annual maximum mintage. Just like the gold version, the coins display the standard design of a standing Britannia in most years. Proof coins display a different Britannia design each year since 2013. Many different denominations of the coins between 1/40 oz and 5 oz exist and some denominations are only available as proofs.
The British Silver Britannia page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.
British Silver Lunar coins are struck out of 99.9% fine silver since 2014. The reverse side of the coins changes each year, always depicting the Chinese zodiac animal for that year of issuance. The same depicted design also appears on that year's gold version of the coins. The Royal Mint currently issues the coins in the three denominations of 1 oz (both brilliant uncirculated and proof coins), 5 oz (only proof coins) and 1 kg (only proof coins). Gilded Silver Lunar coins also exist. Annual mintages of the silver version of the British Shengxiao Lunar coins far exceed those of the gold version. This coin series is scheduled to end in 2025.
The British Silver Lunar page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.
The Royal Mint introduced the Queen's Beasts silver coins in 2016, just like the gold version of the coins. The design of the silver coins is identical to that of the gold coins and the first three coin designs displayed the Lion of England, the Griffin of Edward III and the Red Dragon of Wales in succession. The coins are minted out of 99.99% fine silver. Brilliant uncirculated coins are minted according to market demand in the sizes of 2 oz and 10 oz. Mintage of the four proof coin sizes (1 kg, 10 oz, 5 oz, 1 oz) is capped however. A total of 10 coin designs will eventually make up the Queen's Beasts series when it ends in 2021.
The Queen's Beasts Silver coin page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.
There are no official Silver Sovereigns. In 2013, the Royal Mint released silver coins (brilliant uncirculated) with the same design as the Sovereign coins though. These 1/2 oz "St. George and the Dragon" coins out of 99.9% silver have a face value of £ 20. The mintage limit of these legal tender coins was set at 250.000 pieces.
In addition to these silver bullion coins, the Royal Mint also produced 10,000 commemorative "St. George and the Dragon" £ 5 proof coins in 2013. These coins out of sterling silver (92.5% silver purity) were issued in order to commemorate the birth of Prince George in 2013.
The famous "St. George and the Dragon" design had also been used on British Silver Crown coins in the 1800's.
Due to the overwhelming success of the gold and silver version of the Queen's Beasts coins, the Royal Mint decided to expand the series in 2017 by including a platinum version. The new 1 oz Queen's Beasts Platinum coins are 99.95% pure and have a face value of £100. For now, only brilliant uncirculated coins are issued. They are very thin with a thickness of just 1 mm and 32.69 mm in diameter. The first inaugural issue shows the Lion of England on the reverse and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. The reverse design of the 2nd coin shows the Griffin of Edward III. When the series eventually ends, a total of 10 coins will have been released.
The Queen's Beasts Platinum coin page gives more information about the coins.