The coins in the Royal Mint Museum number some 80,000 and they span the entire period from classical Greece and Rome to the modern day. The early part of the collection, however, is merely representative, the great strength of the Museum’s holdings lying in the post-1660 period and in particular the range of modern patterns, proofs and experimental pieces. Spectacular among these are the proposed coins for Edward VIII, never released for circulation because of the king’s abdication in December 1936, and an extensive series of preparatory pieces made during the run-up to decimalisation in February 1971.
Overall, the policy since 1816 has been to maintain as complete a record as possible of the coins struck by the Royal Mint, both for the United Kingdom and for overseas countries.
Browse highlights of the coin collection below. (Please be aware that the coins on this page are not shown at actual size or in correct proportion to one another).
The reverse design of this Roman denarius of the Republic was once thought to depict implements used for manufacturing coins.
One of the coins most frequently shown to visitors to the Royal Mint Museum is the Monogram Penny of Alfred the Great, (871-899).
The fine sovereign of Elizabeth I pictured here was purchased from Lincoln for the Royal Mint Museum on 9 February 1914.
The coin illustrated here purports to be a crown piece of Charles II dated 1672 but is obviously counterfeit.
The coin shown here was in fact the actual one employed in the preparation of the dies for the striking of thalers by the Royal Mint.
Despite being considered much less glamorous than some of our proof and pattern pieces, mis-strikes are nonetheless interesting pieces.
The gold five-pound piece of 1839, though not as spectacularly rare as the Edward VIII pattern coins, is arguably one of the most beautiful coins in the world.
This rather unusual piece in the Mint collection has so far eluded attempts at a full and proper identification.
When the coinage of Hong Kong was being introduced in the 1860s several trial pieces were prepared for the range of planned denominations.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century the price of silver fell and, amongst other effects, this stimulated a certain amount of counterfeiting.
The British Trade Dollar features a dramatic standing Britannia design by George William De Saulles.
When designs were being considered for the new Australian silver coinage during the first decade of the twentieth century, this pattern florin was put forward.
A little like the 1933 penny, no record was made of exactly how many Canadian silver dollars were produced in 1911.
In 1926 the idea of issuing a crown with peace as a theme was mentioned in a speech delivered in the House of Commons.
The strong and beautifully composed rendering of the rose on this exceedingly rare pattern florin was modelled by Humphrey Paget.
If you have heard of only one rare coin, there is a good chance that it is the 1933 penny.
Because of the Abdication in December 1936 no coins of Edward VIII were issued in the United Kingdom.
In 1945 the Government of India came under pressure to introduce a new coin of a denomination smaller than the pierced coin, the Pice.
This rare pattern is the original much more elaborate and heavily ornamented reverse design for the coronation crown of Elizabeth II.
This coin inscribed with the name Conway, is a trial from very early in the process of development of the fifty pence piece.
For the original fifty pence of 1969 Christopher Ironside was asked to prepare an arrangement of the Royal Arms.
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