Inventory project update

Posted on Friday, July 03, 2015 by The Royal Mint Museum

Great Seal of Edward VII In the last six months at the Royal Mint Museum we have finished cleaning, coating and cataloguing the metal tools in the store that we began at the start of the project, roughly 6,200 medal tools and 25,000 coin tools.

The seal counterpart collection in the museum has been fully catalogued, consisting of 2,110 objects. This collection includes the great seals of the realm, ministerial seals, other public bodies and private institutions, mainly dating from 1901 when the Deputy Master became ex officio Engraver of royal and government seals.

We have made significant progress with the boxed material in the store and have now catalogued and re-packaged all of the plaster models, rubber moulds and electrotypes for United Kingdom and overseas coins, roughly 13,000 objects.

plaster models on shelving
Boxed objects in the Museum store

We are in the process of cataloguing the plaster models, rubber moulds and electrotypes for medals, roughly 4,200 objects so far. Previous bubble wrap packaging has been replaced with custom cut pieces of Plastazote foam to protect the objects.

Arnold Machin 1963 plaster model

This is one of the plaster models that we found particularly interesting, a proposed design for the new decimal coinage 20 pence by the sculptor Arnold Machin. Christopher Ironside and Arnold Machin produced sets of designs for the new coinage in 1963 that were never used. Ultimately however both were successful, Arnold Machin for the obverse and Christopher Ironside for the reverse.

We have also catalogued a large portion of the medal collection (3,900 so far) in the main museum, including all of the orders and decorations, gallantry, military service and royal medals.

Punjab medal
Punjab medal

In addition the museum is home to a collection of piece punches. Many of these items are affected badly by corrosion so it is important to intervene with conservation whilst we are still working on the project. We have begun the process of cleaning with Biox gel (a biological corrosion remover) and isopropanol (also known as rubbing alcohol) and coating with the hot dip coating.

piece punches
Piece punches before coating

We have an estimated 10,000 of these and have already coated nearly 1,000. Piece punches are no longer used in the process of coin and medal design which makes them, in our view, an even more treasured part of the collection.

We are pleased to say that nearly 55,000 objects have been catalogued since we began the project last June.

Welcome to the Royal Mint Museum Blog. Here you’ll get to meet the faces behind the Museum and find out how our hard-working team cares for this exceptional and varied collection. You’ll find entries on our favourite objects, how we’re looking after the objects, and the work being done to interpret and research the collection. You may also from time to time get a sneak preview of exciting projects and future exhibitions.

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