Newsletter: November 2021
Short story competition launch
Calling all young writers!
Do you have your entries in yet? December 3rd marks the closing date of our 2021-22 short story competition for children aged 8-11. Pupils around the country have been sending us fantastic stories about the Platinum Jubilee for a chance of seeing their entry illustrated by a professional artist as well as winning a special silver coin and £5,000 worth of equipment and books for their school library! The Museum team can’t wait to start reading these lovely tales, and we’re looking forward to working with our distinguished judging panel, who will be picking the winners. Good luck to everyone who has entered!
Return of the Coin Press
This month we welcomed our Heaton coin press back to site after conservation by Penybryn Engineering. This piece of historic minting equipment from the late nineteenth century is among the nine displayed on plinths around the 35-acre Royal Mint site and has been on open display since the 1980s.
Made by a Birmingham-based company, familiar to numismatists as Ralph Heaton & Sons, it is a coining press of a type which provided the backbone for the production of circulating coins at the old Mint at Tower Hill for the best part of 100 years.
Its central location means it acts as a focal point for visitors to the site, providing a backdrop to many photographs and standing as a symbol of the Royal Mint’s industrial history. However, perhaps most importantly, the coining press forms the centrepiece of the Royal Mint’s war memorial. Royal Mint staff gather around the memorial for a moment of silent contemplation on Armistice Day, and we were pleased to welcome the press back on site in time for this year’s commemoration.
William Wyon in the collection
If the many thousands of coin collectors in the United Kingdom were asked to nominate the finest engravers ever to produce designs for the coinage of Britain, it is likely that William Wyon would find a place in everyone’s list.
This month we have been exploring the many ways in which William Wyon features prominently in the collection. From guest journal articles, to collection highlights and online exhibitions there is a lot to admire about the work of this most famous and talented engraver.
Behind the scenes our Collections Manager, in collaboration with Townsweb Archiving, has been working on an exciting project to help more people than ever gain access to our archives. Pastview is an online publishing platform which allows us to showcase our digital collections and the first entries on our new Pastview webpages are the Waterloo Medal Roll, the Royal Mint Annual Reports (1870-1976) and the Royal Mint Museum Annual Reports (2011-2020). All the entries are fully searchable and will hopefully help many researchers and interested collectors find their way into the history of the Royal Mint.
November saw the very welcome return of visitors to our collection and archives. We have been please to assist two researchers independently researching the collection of material in the museum relating to Sarah Sophia Banks, and another studying the work of Mary Gillick, the artist who designed the first portrait of Her Majesty the Queen when she ascended to the throne in 1952. If you have a research project that would benefit from the material in our collection and the expertise of our curatorial team then we would love to hear from you. Just get in touch with our Research and Information team via our contact form and we will see you in South Wales!
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Find out more about our collection from the people responsible for its care and interpretation.
This section of the collection comprises artists’ drawings and plaster models for coins and medals.
Welcome to the learning zone. Here at the Royal Mint Museum we want to provide people of all ages with the opportunity to learn, discover and explore the remarkable history of the Royal Mint.