Today I visited the Royal mint experience mainly out of curiosity, the Royal Mint is close to where I live and I knew that’s where they made the money but never truly knew what was going on in that place, it was a mysterious building covered in cameras and barbed wire. After visiting today I was in awe of the place, and the processes that took place there.
We took a tour of the factory where the money is being produced followed then by an exhibition of the history and future. Firstly we had a tour of the factory where the heavy (and loud) machinery would cut/mould/press the metals to make the money. The process all starts with the mixture of metals (to get the perfect recipe), they are then fired in a furnace to make smelt and pour the molten metal. The metal is then pressed to thin out and make an even surface. A layer is cut of the top to remove impurities and then get threaded into another machine which is a giant hole punch and punches out 10,000 blanks a minute. 80% of the blanks are then transported to other countries for their currency whereas 20% remain to be made into UK currency. The blanks are then washed in acid to clean the metals. They then get sorted into another big machine which is called a rimmer, which creates the rim on the coins so they are able to stack and have an edge. The ridged coin then gets fed through another machine similar to the rimmer but this one press words onto the sides of the coin. Afterwards the blank gets fed into the striking machine where a decorated die will be pressed onto the black making into a coin.
The whole process is very quick and has now been perfected by the royal mint. That’s only the making, the designing what was interesting to me because they start with a sketch the they etch it into plaster or clay and the a machine digitally scans the surface where they can then edit and improve the blemishes. The ideas and developments need to be approved by higher authority before getting to be made in to dies and pressed. I would have loved to have seen this whilst doing BAMS it is truly inspiring.
Here are a few of my favourite coins/medals from the exhibition, and bellow is the link to their website.