The Move to South Wales

Posted on Monday, February 26, 2018 by The Royal Mint Museum

Llantrisant Today

Main Administration Building at Llantrisant
The need to rebuild The Royal Mint had been recognised in the 1950s. A major programme of renovations at Tower Hill had been announced in 1955, but this had been delayed by economic circumstances and the view had increasingly gained ground that it would be more satisfactory to build an entirely new mint on a less confined site. Matters were brought to a head by the government's decision, announced in 1966, to adopt a decimal currency system, because it required the Mint to strike hundreds of millions of decimal coins in readiness for decimalisation on 15 February 1971. At the same time overseas customers could not be neglected, and the combined burden of export and decimal work made a new Mint essential. In accordance with government policy of moving industry away from the capital, sites were considered in development areas such as the North East and Merseyside, but finally, in April 1967, it was announced that a new Royal Mint would be built in South Wales.  ..


Women in the Mint

Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 by The Royal Mint Museum

Women working in production

Women working in the Operative Department
Recently, whilst reviewing some photographic material, our Museum Assistant brought to light images of women working on the factory floor of the Royal Mint. These black and white photographs capture a time when the employment of women in coining operations was still relatively new. How did these women come to be working in production? What jobs did they do? And how has the role of women in the Mint changed over time? ..


Object in Focus: Janvier Reducing Machine

Posted on Friday, March 11, 2016 by The Royal Mint Museum

reducing machine

The Museum's Janvier reducing machine on display at Llantrisant
In the Museum we have many objects that tell the story of coin and medal production. Some of the most fascinating are the reducing machines whose intricate mechanisms were once integral to the process of minting. ..


Voices from the Library: Sir William Chandler Roberts-Austen

Posted on Friday, January 29, 2016 by The Royal Mint Museum

Sir William Chandler Roberts-Austen outside the Royal Mint at Tower Hill.

Sir William Chandler Roberts-Austen outside the Royal Mint at Tower Hill.
This month we completed a basic catalogue of nearly 12,000 items in the Museum library, comprising journals, auction, exhibition and museum catalogues, numismatic reference books and literature on events and persons central to the history of the coinage and economy. ..


The Value of Small Change

Posted on Tuesday, October 06, 2015 by The Royal Mint Museum

1908 one cent coin

1908 Circulated aluminium East African one cent coin in a corroded state
During the course of the inventory project we have catalogued 17,500 overseas coins. Many of them are large and impressive but, as we have discovered, it is important not to overlook even small coins in poor condition as they can also tell a fascinating story. Recently we came across an intriguing collection of aluminium one cent coins from East Africa, dated 1908. They are light weight with a perforated centre and some of them are covered in a thick powdery white corrosion layer. These aluminium coins are the first of their kind produced by the Royal Mint and, although they appear to have little value, they represent adaptability, innovative science and a commitment to continuous improvement that had gained pace when Charles Fremantle was Deputy Master of the Royal Mint (1868-1894). ..


Object in Focus: Automatic Balance

Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 by The Royal Mint Museum

automatic balance in the museum

The automatic balance in the Museum
Here at the Royal Mint Museum we are fortunate to have a large collection of objects that bring the history of coin production to life. However one particular artefact has caught our eye over the course of the Inventory Project. It is an automatic balance of the type introduced in the 1850s to weigh gold and silver coins. It is in working order and has a smooth and elegant action even after all these years of hard work. The coins make a pleasing sound as they are sorted, although originally they would have been collected in bags under the machine and made very little noise. Automatic balances were employed to weigh bullet cartridges as part of the Royal Mint’s contribution to the war effort, and the machine’s mechanism is fascinating to watch. But the real significance of this machine is that it represents the mass produced accuracy of the coinage produced by the Royal Mint. ..


Inventory Project Update

Posted on Friday, August 21, 2015 by The Royal Mint Museum

Coin cabinets in the Museum

Coin cabinets in the Museum
Since the last update from the Inventory Project we have been working to reorganise and catalogue more of the museum collection. The formidable job of recording the plaster models, rubber moulds and electrotypes is now complete. ..


Collection in Context

Posted on Friday, August 14, 2015 by The Royal Mint Museum

reducing machine

A Janvier reducing machine at work making a George VI half crown punch
If you have read previous blog posts about the Royal Mint Museum Inventory Project you will be familiar with the types of objects we have been handling, but you might not know how they were originally used. The plaster models, rubber moulds, electrotypes and punches in the Museum store each represent a stage in the process of transforming a design from a concept into a coin, medal or seal.  ..


Pistrucci's Bench

Posted on Friday, August 07, 2015 by The Royal Mint Museum

Pistrucci's work bench

Pistrucci's work bench in the Museum
There was an air of excitement about the Royal Mint Museum this week as we prepared to receive a very special object into the collection. As part of a reorganisation of the Royal Mint engraver’s workshop we were to transport a large wooden work bench into the Museum space. The work bench stands at approximately one metre high and one and a half metres wide. It is constructed of mahogany and pine and has evidently seen much use. There is nothing ostentatious about this bench. It is simple, elegant and above all, practical. So why is this unassuming object so special to us? ..


Percy Metcalfe

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2015 by The Royal Mint Museum

Everest Flight Medal 1933

Everest Flight Medal 1933 (Percy Metcalfe)
At the Royal Mint Museum we are in a privileged position to be easily able to research original records from our archives on the Royal Mint and we are able to see plaster models and electrotypes that never made it past the design process to appear on an actual coin, medal or seal. These are rare works of art and an important reminder of the careful selection process that takes place in creating new coinage in particular. ..


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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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