The Royal Mint Museum has one of the finest collections of coins, medals, artwork and minting equipment in the world. A living and working collection, it reflects the changing practical needs of the Royal Mint and is widely respected for the knowledge of its staff and the quality of its research.
The Museum collection was established in 1816 by the Master of the Royal Mint, William Wellesley Pole. One of his main objectives was to provide Royal Mint engravers with an inspirational source of material to which they could refer when preparing new coin designs, and this remains an important function for the collection.
In 1818 the collection was greatly enhanced with the presentation of more than 2000 coins and medals from the collection of the late Sarah Sophia Banks. The gift was a handsome one, from ancient British to contemporary machine-made coins, and it still forms the basis of the pre-1800 part of the Museum collection.
Today the collection contains approximately 80,000 coins including an abundance of proofs, patterns and trial pieces. Medals and seals are also well represented along with plaster models, balances, weights and thousands of original drawings. Above all, perhaps, it incorporates roughly 30,000 master tools and dies dating from the 17th century, a collection whose importance is unrivalled in the United Kingdom.