The London Mint was established in 2006 to produce and source commemorative banknotes, medals, and coins. Founded by Ole Bjorn Fausa and Reidar Nilsen, the Mint has a vision not only to make these products available to their customers, but also to help their customers become more knowledgeable collectors, often taking them down new roads of discovery. One of the strengths of the Mint is its partnerships with other Mints and banks throughout the world, especially the Royal Canadian Mint and The East India Company. The Mint also works with those who organize major events, such as the Diana Awards, and major national organizations, such as the Merchant Navy Association.
While not as famous as the British Royal Mint, the London Mint should not be overlooked, especially for collectors who have an interest in British history. The Mint issues commemorative coins that draw particular attention from collectors with an interest in military and royal history. Be sure to consider London Mint issues as you grow your collection.
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One of the most popular themes for the mint’s own products, is royalty. In 2017, the London Mint offered a proof coin to mark the 200th anniversary of the debut of Benedetto Pistrucci’s St. George and the Dragon Sovereign design. The design was re-imagined by his great-great-great grandniece, Angela Pistrucci, for the anniversary coin. The design was similar to the original, depicting England’s patron saint slaying a dragon while on horseback. Struck from 22 karat gold, the coin had a limited mintage of just 4,999 pieces.
Military history, especially Britain’s military history, is another common subject for the mint’s products. In recent years, the mint has produced coins commemorating the Battle of the Atlantic, the Battle of Britain, and the Battle of Waterloo. Coins issued in the Battle of the Atlantic release have particularly fascinating stories. They were struck from silver that was recovered from over 4,700 meters below sea level. The Battle of the Atlantic ran from the day after Britain entered World War II until the defeat of Germany. Consisting of conflicting blockades, the battle resulted in the deaths of about 72,000 allied sailors and merchant seamen and about 30,500 Axis casualties.
One example of a coin that is minted elsewhere, but that was made available and promoted by the London Mint, is sure to interest collectors who have an interest in monetary history. In 1816, William Wellesley-Pole oversaw the “Great Re-coinage,” an effort to stabilize Britain’s economy following the Napoleonic Wars. The transformation in which old coinage was exchanged for new, saw the end of the Guinea, which the British had used since 1663. Coins with a face value of 21 Guineas had to be exchanged for 20-shilling Sovereigns. The true exchange rate was 21:1, so the British Treasury turned a substantial profit. The 200th anniversary of the Great Re-coinage was struck in Gibraltar and bore the VIGO Mint mark, a reference to the VIGO privy mark that indicated that a coin was struck from gold taken off of a Spanish bullion fleet.