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Friday, August 1, 2008

British Royal Mint

This write up of the British Royal Mint explains exactly who the British Royal Mint are and what they deal in and is well worth reading before you decide to buy any gold or silver coins from the British Royal Mint.

As always, it is prudent to do one's own due diligence before buying gold from any gold dealer or mint.

Who are the British Royal Mint
The British Royal Mint is perhaps the oldest mint in the world with origins dating back to 886 during the reign of Alfred the Great. At that time it was one of many mints around the country but, by 1279, it has been moved to the Tower of London and remained there for the next 500 years becoming the sole producer of coin of the realm for the United Kingdom.

Sir Issac Newton, the physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, held the post of Warden in the mint and was responsible for investigating cases of counterfeiting in 1696 eventually holding the position of Master of the Royal Mint from 1699 until his death in 1727. In England he was responsible for moving the pound sterling from the silver standard (where the term sterling originated from) to the gold standard in 1717, by creating a relationship between gold coins and the silver penny in the "Law of Queen Anne". These was considered a great reform at the time, adding to the wealth and stability of England. It was his work at the Mint, rather than his earlier contributions to science, that earned him a knighthood from Queen Anne in 1705.

Around the early 1800s the Mint was moved from the Tower of London to Tower Hill where it remained until it was move outside of London in 1967 to new buildings in Llantrisant, ten miles west of Cardiff.

Over the years the processes for manufacturing coinage improved with mechanisation, rolling mills and coin presses in the seventeenth century. In the 1880s, electricity and further demand improved the efficiency and output of the mint with the mint finally reaching capacity in early 1971 ahead of decimalisation where hundreds of millions of new decimal coins had to be produced.

Of course the Royal Mint exists primarily to mint coins for circulation in the United Kingdom. But it also manufactures and circulates coins for over 100 other countries, mints and collectors, as well as producing the countries military medals and civilian decorations for the British military and orders of chivalry. In addition, the Mint also produced the coins for Canada until 1908 when the Royal Canadian Mint was established.

The current Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Royal Mint is Andrew Stafford and Mike Davies is the non-executive Chairman. The Board of the Royal Mint comprises the Chairman and three other Non-Executive Directors together with the Chief Executive and five other Executive Directors. The Chief Executive is appointed by HM Treasury.

The Chief Executive also holds the title Deputy Master of the Royal Mint and is a senior civil servant. His appointment was overseen by a Civil Service Commissioner and made in accordance with the Civil Service Commissioners' Recruitment Code.

The number of people employed (permanent and casual staff) at the Royal Mint as at 31 March 2008 was 765.

More about the British Royal Mint
According to the Royal Mint, "The latest presses can each strike more than 700 coins per minute, making it impossible for the human eye to separate the individual pieces as they pass through the press."

The standard of accuracy for striking coins in the UK is actually imposed by law. So, to ensure that the composition of the alloy is correct, samples of the molten metal are routinely checked by x-ray fluorescence spectrometry.

These days, of course, the Royal Mint has some of the most advanced coining machinery in the world. One of the most up-to-date foundries in the world is housed in the Melting, Rolling and Blanking Unit where strips of metal are drawn from large electric furnaces, reduced to the required thickness in a tandem rolling mill and transferred to large blanking presses where coin blanks can be punched out at the rate of 10,000 per minute. These blanks are then softened and cleaned in the Annealing and Pickling Plant before the final process in the Coining Press Room. Here blanks are fed into coining presses where the obverse and reverse designs, as well as the milling on the edge, are stamped onto the blank simultaneously.

British Royal Mint Products
Gold and silver coins were once traditionally 24 karat or pure 999.99 precious metal. Lately thought the trend seems to be moving more towards a lesser karat of precious metal as well as a mixture and 'coloreds' or coins with colored pictures on. Piedfords are also being promoted as being popular. These coins are thicker than the norm and of course contain more precious metal.
By Product Range
British Platinum
British Gold
British Silver
British Base
World Gold
World Silver
World Base

Collections
Prestige Gifts
Jewellery
Stamp and Coin Sets
Historical Coins
Medals
Books
Paintings
British Royal Mint ordering and Payment Options
Placing orders and paying for items at the mint is not difficult. You simply opens an account, selects what you want to go into the shopping cart. When you have completed selecting all you want you go to checkout and fill out the requisite information, select the payment method, which is basically which credit card you are going to use and make a payment.

The Royal Mint provides assistance on site if anyone is having any difficulty and the site is relatively user friendly in this regard.

When your order has been confirmed you will be given an order reference number and you will be sent an order confirmation by email.

All prices can be displayed in pounds sterling, US Dollars and Canadian Dollars. The default, of course, is pounds sterling.

In the UK there is an added tax called VAT (Value Added Tax, similar to the Australian and Canadian GST). All sterling prices displayed on the website are inclusive of VAT, where applicable, at 17.5%.

The Royal Mint accept Visa, Master Card and Maestro as methods of payment on our website

The Royal Mint state also that if you are not completely happy with any of your purchases they will refund your money in full, provided are returned within 30 days of receipt by Special Delivery, complete and in mint condition.

British Royal Mint Shipping

Delivery Charges are dependent upon where the gold coins or other items are going to be delivered.

For orders from the website delivery to the EU and BFPO (British Forces Posted overseas) is free. Orders outside of the EU incur a delivery charge.

If you order by phone or post then all orders will incur a delivery charge.

All orders are expected to be delivered within 21 days. This is a lot longer than many gold coin dealers who usually deliver within a week. This applies to international orders also.

British Royal Mint Returns and Refunds
The Royal Mint state that, “If you have a problem with your product you can return it to us within 30 days and we will be happy to provide a replacement or refund.” The address for returns is:
The Royal Mint
Quality Department PCU
P.O. Box 500
Pontyclun
CF72 8WP
It is important to include all information including, your name, address and customer code along with a short description of the problem.

If you have placed an order and wish to cancel it, you can do so provided the order has not yet been dispatched from the Royal Mint. You should phone up or send an email first before canceling to ensure the product has not been dispatched from the Mint.

Then, when you know it has not yet been dispatched, you can send the Mint an e--mail using their inquiry form, stating your name, address, customer code the order was placed under (if known) and exactly what items you wish to cancel.

The Last Word on the British Royal Mint
Of course, such coins are really more suitable for collectors than for investment purposes. Investment in gold and silver is best done using gold or silver rounds and bullion bars. in addition one can invest in gold and silver by owning it and not having the hassle of storage and transport issues, by going to goldmoney.com and opening an account there.

If you have bought any gold coins, silver coins, gold bullion or silver bullion from the www.royalmint.com, please feel free to leave feedback on the quality of service and products you found, including any www.royalmint.com online complaints and special attention or service given by www.royalmint.com

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