Ever wondered how the change in your pocket is created or how many coins there are circulation? Right now there are roughly 29 billion UK coins in circulation, two billion issued in 2015 alone. The total face value of the coins is over £4 billion, that’s A LOT of loose change!
The Royal Mint is responsible for the creation of the coins. They also create commemorative coins, medals and even the currency of more than 60 other countries. It’s so important that it is guarded by the Ministry of Defence. The Royal Mint runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, non stop. The designers have recently worked on a new 12-sided pound coin which is embedded with anti-counterfeiting technology in an attempt to put an end to the millions of fake pound coins already in circulation.
Here is a look at how they manage to create all the coinage.
The current portrait of the Queen is designed by Jody Clark, whose portrait was chosen via an anonymous competition. Traditionally a model of the original sketch would be sculpted but now it tends to made digitally.
Fit the mould
Once the design is set the metal ‘dies’ can be created. This is done via a CNC machine (also known as a ‘reduction punch’). The original pattern by Clark or one of his colleagues is converted into a digital file which guides the milling machine to produce the die, which is used to punch the patterns into the coins.
The Royal Mint can produce up to a staggering 90 million coins every week. So many coins that fork-lift trucks are used to move the vast amounts of metal blanks into the machines that actually produce the coins. The blanks are filtered through the hopper, then one by one they are pressed between upper and lower pattern dies, using 60 tonnes of hydraulic pressure.
So there you have it. Billions of coins made in one amazing place.
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