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Not that Mint, this Mint

Just had a visit to the head office of the Royal Mint in Cardiff, Wales. 


Wales is not part of England, as asked by some people, but the place that Prince Charles represents, as the Prince of Wales.  It’s also the home of the BBC TV series Torchwood with John Barrowman.

I mentioned this to my host – “ah, I’m in Torchwood country” – but he unfortunately misheard me and thought I said that I was in “tortured country”.  Maybe he made it the message he wanted to hear.

The Royal Mint goes back over 1,100 years to the Tower of London and King Alfred the Great.

It’s still owned by the Crown today, although that Crown is now the Treasury’s and not the Queen’s.  You can read all about the history of the Mint, from the Tower to Wales if you want.

Clearly therefore it's  The Mint, and nothing to do with Intuit's Mint.com, but the original and world-beating Mint.

This is demonstrated by a few facts and stats.  For example, how much coinage is there in the UK today?

UK coins in circulation, as at 31st March 2011:

Coin       Number of pieces, millions      Face value, £millions    Newly  issued, 2010-11
£2                               359                          718                                   18.9
£1                             1,501                      1,505                                   58.3
50 pence                      854                          427                                   16.3
20 pence                   2,536                          507                                  118.9
10 pence                   1,641                          164                                   55.4
5 pence                     3,767                          188                                  198.3
2 pence                     6,641                         133                                   131.2
1 pence                    11,297                        113                                   514.2
Total                       28,596                    3,751                              1,111.5

So there’s almost 30 billion coins in the UK worth £3.75 billion.  This is not to say that UK coinage is rising, as they tell me that it’s in terminal decline with over two billion coins issued per year fifteen years ago and only a billion this year.

But it’s still a billion new coins.

Counterfeit coins are also interesting, with 2.81% of all £1 coins being found to be counterfeit in May 2010 compared with 2.64% in October 2009.

Meanwhile, most of the Royal Mint’s revenues comes from overseas coin production and commemorative coins these days.  Here’s the headline revenues of the Royal Mint:

                                                   2010-11 £m           2009-10 £m
Circulation coins:
UK                                                   31.1                                    22.6
Overseas                                          62.5                                    61.2
Commemorative coins                     121.5                                   89. 0

As can be seen, overseas is a key part of the mix, with over 60 countires from Nigeria to Egypt using the Royal Mint’s coinage and medal capabilities.  In fact, the Royal Mint claims to be world’s leading mint exporter and, by these numbers, that looks about right.

Oh and finally, many of the people at the Royal Mint are tossers.

Coin tossers that is.

Yep, they hold the Guinness World Record for 50p coin tossing, with 1,697 people tossing 50 pence pieces to celebrate the launch of the Olympic 2012 50p.

Talking of the Olympics, they’re also responsible for all the medals next year, so when our Olympians win their Golds, Silvers and Bronzes, just remember they all come from the one and only Royal Mint.




About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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