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.
In the summer of 1817, due to currency reform, the twenty-shilling sovereign was revived.
Although considered less glamorous than some of our other coins, mis-strikes are just as interesting.
The gold five-pound piece of 1839 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.
The fall in the price of silver towards the end of the 19th century stimulated a certain amount of counterfeiting.
The Jubilee coinage of Queen Victoria was introduced in 1887 but the change extended only to gold and silver.
The coinage issued at the time of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee was not supposed to be commemorative.
This realistic portrait of Queen Victoria was designed by the sculptor Edward Onslow Ford.
The British Trade Dollar features a dramatic standing Britannia design by George William De Saulles.
There are just over one hundred Imperial coins of Edward VII in the Royal Mint Museum collection.
When designs were being considered for the Australian silver coinage, this pattern florin was put forward.
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 the House of Commons.
The 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.
This charming pattern shilling of 1933 was designed by George Kruger Gray.
This crown piece was struck to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of George V.
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 an extremely small coin.
This rare pattern is the original, much more elaborate, reverse design for the coronation crown of Elizabeth II.
The Churchill crown is one of the most familiar of modern commemorative coins.
The name Conway is inscribed on this trial from the early stages of the 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.
This unusual trial piece was produced for the 1977 Silver Jubilee crown of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The design featured on this pre-production specimen was considered for the reverse of the crown issued to mark the Jubilee of Elizabeth II.
Although his designs weren't chosen for the Silver Jubilee crown of 1977, Bernard Sindall was offered the compensation of seeing his designs employed on the official commemorative medal instead.
29 fifty pence pieces were issued to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
You might also like
The origins of Iceland’s relationship with the Royal Mint may be found in the Second World War.
The basic minting process of melting, casting, blanking and striking is essentially timeless.
It is important not to overlook even small coins in poor condition as they can also tell a fascinating story.