The Royal Mint has finally opened the doors to the public, albeit in a very controlled manner, after over a millenium in operation. The building of a new £7.7m visitors centre at the mints Llantrisant facility in South Wales, where they’ve been based since 1968, has finally opened up this quite secretive and secure operation to coin collectors and families everywhere. Housed in an excellent new building, the modern centre offers a fine look at the history of the mint, and the processes involved in producing the quite staggering numbers of coins this hugely successful mint makes every year, currently standing at around 90 million coins a week, for dozens of countries around the world.

Officially opening today, we were fortunate enough to be invited to the press opening on Tuesday where we were allowed to take photographs and wander through this just finished exhibition. They’ve obviously put plenty of thought into what they wanted to do, and expertly put it into practice, as it offers plenty for the kids to do like striking their own £1 coin through to many interactive displays. It manages to simultaneously cater to the coin enthusiast who can finally get a glimpse behind the scenes of this hugely professional organisation and see much of the history of this very old endeavour. Second only to the Monnaie de Paris in outright age – even then only by a few decades over the 1100 years they’ve been around, these mints are pretty much the oldest and longest running organisations of any sort in the world, the age almost boggles the mind.

There are some great items on display that collectors will recognise, especially original plaster sculpts of the Queens effigies and Philip Nathans iconic bullion Britannia artwork. Centuries old items, the Waterloo medal book and Trial of Pyx samples, give you a fine sense of the history of the Royal Mint. The medal display has everything from the George Cross to campaign medals, some simply beautiful examples of the craft, there are 2012 Olympic medals, as well as many coins both old and new. We would personally like to see the historical coin display expanded – we’re sure the British Museum could spare a few hundred from the vast collection they have stuck in backrooms of that building, but much is covered regardless.

As a day out it looks a painless experience. Parking is on the doorstep in their own carpark, there’s a place to get snacks and drinks, a good shop to buy many Royal Mint coins, and a nice flow to the exhibition that means it should be easy to see everything in a few hours. The staff are knowledgable and hugely enthusiastic, all-in-all well worth a visit and we can’t see them struggling to get the 150-200,000 visitors a year they expect to. Our thanks to the people at the mint for the opportunity to wander around.

ABOVE: The front entrance to this eye-catching new building houses the Royal Mint Experience. While not pictured, there are razor-wire fences everywhere, leaving you in no doubt this is a highly secure facility, despite Shaun the Sheep making a poor guard dog…

RIGHT: One zone shows some of the machinery and processes involved in striking coins. Pictured are the different stages of thickness of metal produced to strike coins from. The huge roll of metal in the centre is what coin blanks are stamped from, and these ar eproduced at the mint


See the heads and hear the tales: Revealing the remarkable Royal Mint Experience

For the first time, The Royal Mint will throw open its doors to reveal how the nation’s coins are made and find their way into pockets and purses around the world.

The Royal Mint Experience will allow the public to witness for the first time hundreds of moments from the history of British coins, with visitors glimpsing how over 2 billion coins are made every year.

The Royal Mint Experience will open to the public on Wednesday 18 May, offering visitors the opportunity to discover the unexpected world of coins and the fascinating processes involved in producing them by the UK’s oldest manufacturer.

Visitors will see the heads and hear the tales, meet the experts on hand to share their knowledge and passion for their craft and there will be the opportunity for people to strike their very own coin as a memento of the visit.

Located in striking South Wales, visitors to the experience will for the first time ever, be able to go behind the scenes at the world’s leading export mint and follow the journey of a coin, from ‘blank to bank’. The guided Factory Experience will give visitors first-hand knowledge of the manufacturing journey, while a series of static and interactive exhibitions will bring the 1,000-year-old organisation’s rich heritage to life.

The interactive exhibition consists of six zones:

Zone 1: The Royal Mint and the community – look back over 1,000 years of history to explore the origins of The Royal Mint, its link with the Tower of London and its move to Wales.

Zone 2: The Royal Mint and the world – find out about the coins and medals The Royal Mint has produced for over 100 countries worldwide.

Zone 3: Making money – learn about the detailed processes, design and skill involved in producing a coin.

Zone 4: The other side of The Royal Mint – take a look at the fascinating military, sporting and commemorative medals that The Royal Mint has produced over 1,000 years.

Zone 5: The meaning of coins – uncover the many different roles that coins play in our everyday lives as symbols of luck and good fortune.

Zone 6: Coins and collecting – discover more about coin collecting, a hobby which captivates people of all ages.

ABOVE: Looks at the various ‘zones’ within the Royal Mint Experience showing some of the interactive displays and the exhibits.

BELOW: The store which you pass through either at the end or the beginning of the walkthrough sells most of the Royal Mint’s commemorative output.

BELOW LEFT TO RIGHT: Images through the glass in the viewing room looking at the production floor. The machinery in this room can strike a staggering 90 million coins a week. Blanks are loaded into the overhead hoppers by forklift in a continual process, each capable of holding 800 kg of planchets.

Anne Jessopp, The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin, said “We will be watching with excitement over the next few weeks as we add the final touches to The Royal Mint Experience. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to a unique behind-the-scenes experience, showcasing over 1,000 years of coin-making history, and the craftsmanship and innovation for which The Royal Mint is known worldwide.”

A perfect day out for the family, coin enthusiasts, history buffs or those who want a unique insight into one of the country’s oldest institutions, The Royal Mint Experience caters for everyone. Open daily 9:30am to 18:30pm, excluding 25-26 December and 1 January – the last tour will be at 4:30pm.

Tickets are available to pre book from Friday 8th April from Online prices; Adult 16+ £13.00, Child 5-15 £10.50, Concessions £11.50, Family (2+2) £38.50, Under 4 Free.

ABOVE LEFT TO RIGHT: 1. Lawrence of Arabia medallion, 2. Zoological medal, 3. Pistrucci’s iconic St George slaying the Dragon carved into a conch shell, 4. Original plaster sculpt of Philip Nathan’s bullion Britannia artwork



BELOW: The centre image depicts the £1m of new 2017 £1 coins that you can have your photo taken with. To left and right are close-ups of the new coins.

About The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint has an unbroken history of minting British coinage dating back over 1,000 years. By the late thirteenth century the organisation was based in the Tower of London, and remained there for over 500 years. By 1812 The Royal Mint had moved out of the Tower to premises on London’s Tower Hill. In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in South Wales, UK.

While The Royal Mint’s finest traditions are always respected, it continually innovates in order to stay at the forefront of world minting, embracing the latest production techniques and technology in order to offer excellence to our clients across the globe. By underpinning our proud heritage with a highly progressive outlook, The Royal Mint produces coins that remain a byword for trust and reliability the world over.

There were estimated to be 28.9 billion UK coins in circulation at 31 March 2014 ,with a total face value of over £4 billion, all manufactured by The Royal Mint. In total, nearly 2 billion UK coins were issued during 2013-14.

As well as over 1,000 years of producing British coinage, The Royal Mint has long been trusted with the currencies of other countries. It has served more than 100 issuing authorities around the world and currently meets approximately 15% of global demand, making us the world’s leading export mint.

The Royal Mint has been making official military campaign medals since it was commissioned to make awards for soldiers who fought in the battle of Waterloo in 1815. The year 2012 was of particular significance for The Royal Mint’s medal-making team, with the manufacture of all 4,700 Victory Medals for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

ABOVE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP-LEFT: 1. A coin punch, 2. The Battle of Waterloo book of medal recipients, 3. Plaster sculpts of the five effigies of Queen Elizabeth II, 4. An original Mini covered in coins. It now weighs 3 tons, 5. A close-up of the rear of the Penny Lane Mini, 6. 15th Century Pyx sample strikes