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. ..

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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). ..

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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. ..

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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. ..

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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.  ..

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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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Symbolism on Coins

Posted on Friday, July 10, 2015 by The Royal Mint Museum

electrotype: Kenya 250 Shillings, 1966

electrotype: Kenya 250 shillings
Have you ever wondered who decides what image will appear on a coin and why it has been chosen? Recently the Royal Mint gave the Nation a chance to suggest a design for the new one pound coin.  ..

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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.  ..

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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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