UK circulating commemorative coins for 2021

Started by Pabitra, October 11, 2019, 09:27:50 AM

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Quote from: Deeman on February 05, 2021, 01:12:23 PM
Surely the RM can be instructed to produce a specific coin.

Officially the choosing of themes for commemorative coins of the UK is the task of the 'Sub-Committee on the Selection of Themes for United Kingdom Coins', which falls under The Royal Mint Advisory Committee. They select themes that subsequently have to be approved by HM Treasury and the Palace. That is the official order.

However of course The Royal Mint is owned by HM Treasury so the Chancellor of the Exchequer (who is also Master of the Mint) is in an influential position.
In recent decades the Chancellors of the Exchequer were never really interested in their role as Master of the Mint. Of course it came with certain tasks but it was mainly deemed a traditional title while the Deputy Master of the Mint (The Royal Mint's ceo) does the real work. In recent years however we see a new type of mintmaster in the UK. One who is actively and publicly involved in the choosing of the themes. Although it is not their task and they really should not be doing it, increasingly The Royal Mint and the United Kingdom's coinage are being politicized and used as a political instrument of the Master of the Mint and his party. The release of the controversial Brexit and Diversity coins are examples of that. We also saw it when shortly before a Brexit deadline, in the middle of the night on a Saturday HM Treasury sent out a press release that the new 1 pound coin was being rolled out to the crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories to highlight the Great British manufacturing industry and divert attention from the Brexit process which at that point was doomed to fail.

Other members of parliament have since also identified the possibility of using the coinage as an interesting tool by coming up with proposals for all kinds of commemorative coins, something that earlier never used to happen.

I am very much against this rapidly increasing political influence on the UK's coinage. I am not sure what The Royal Mint's opinion is on it but I guess that they have little choice but to accept it. After all, the company's future is not looking good and sooner or later the day will come when HM Treasury and maybe parliament will have to decide on its future, and then you better have friends there.

To get back to your question, yes there will likely be people who unofficially have the power to instruct which coins to issue. Likely people like Rishi Sunak and Anne Jessopp. Rees-Mogg is not a person with such influence.



Yes, I agree, interesting.  Can you explain more on how the company's future is not looking good?  Is this because of the gradual move to a cashless society or because they're pricing themselves out of the global market and losing contracts to the likes of Pobjoy, Tower and other world mints?  Presumably Parliament and the government could decide to privatise it if it's no longer providing the expected level of profits?


Will the Royal Mint miss out on much when they miss out on a contract to make less than ten thousand of a new base-alloy "collector" issue for Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey... or other small place ? I realise there are some gold and silver coins involved too.... But are any of these "big" contracts ?

Generally compared to the most of those contracts I would have thought that the British coins are a much bigger turnover for the Royal Mint....

Thanks Mr Paul Baker


The Royal Mint has certainly been losing contracts and not only small ones like the crown dependencies. Earlier today for example the circulation coins for Haiti were at full speed coming out of the presses at Royal Dutch Mint, while that for several decades was a Royal Mint exclusive country. However, in general they are still doing fairly ok and I expect that they will still be for some time. Certainly also as they are hoping to convince countries to change their lower banknote denominations into coins. Last year they secured their largest ever order with a foreign client. But of course we have to be realistic. The world is going cashless and because of the pandemic and more and more people getting used to digital payments, the process will only go faster.

Now, this is of course not much news. However, the only hope for the future, the commemorative coin business is not going well either and they do not expect the situation to get better any time soon. As reason for this they mention that as the UK is going cashless, fewer people will come into contact with commemorative coins and therefore people won't start collecting or will stop collecting coins. Of course there is also significant competition from the UK's private mints. In part this is also because they are able to produce coins for much more popular themes than the UK. The UK of course requires a very strict connection between the theme and the UK whereas the crown dependencies approve just about anything. Collectors can only spend their pound once. I fear that the commemorative coin market in the UK will become saturated. We all know what happened to the stamp market once that happened.

The Royal Mint Experience is still not profitable either and I am really not sure how it will ever become more popular than it already used to be. I mean, during the SYO hype people would be flooding The Royal Mint, families keeping their children home from school to strike coins all day at the mint. The mint was full of people who did tour after tour after tour. If you cannot make a profit then, you never will.

Aside from coins, they tried to go into new business oportunities setting up entire gifting and jewellery departments but this failed miserably (and made them loose a ton of money). They found out that people shop at The Royal Mint for coins, not for towels or teddybears.

The Royal Mint's future is not looking good.


Thanks for the further info, eurocoin.  Even for collectors I have never found the Royal Mint to give a particularly great service.  Going way back to 1993 when I started collecting, ordering would be done by post and I would send my cheque off.  With some orders, I would be waiting what seemed like months and would have to ring them to find out what was happening.  I would leave a voicemail and rarely if ever got a response.  Once, I remember sarcastically saying, Hello, is there anyone there?.  In those days it was not a private company so had a monopoly.  That was fine as prices were very reasonable and they did not charge for postage.

Was it around 2010 they became a private company (albeit fully owned by the government)?  From there the steep price rises and postage charges started.  Since then I have hardly ever ordered directly from them.


Quote from: eurocoin on February 05, 2021, 11:12:12 PM
Aside from coins, they tried to go into new business oportunities setting up entire gifting and jewellery departments but this failed miserably (and made them loose a ton of money). They found out that people shop at The Royal Mint for coins, not for towels or teddybears.

A new venture for RM - all for £29.99  ???:

For the first time in its history, The Royal Mint has combined gold with chocolate, offering customers the unique opportunity to indulge in style. In partnership with Bullion®, an award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate maker, each bar has been exquisitely crafted and is presented in a gold foiled luxury gift box.
This gift box contains three bars of chocolate, two milk and one dark, each weighing 63g. With a 50% cocoa content, the milk chocolate has notes of roasted nuts, butterscotch and vanilla while the dark chocolate contains 70% cocoa, with notes of hazelnut, caramel and dried fig. Each bar also contains edible gold leaf.


Never before heard anyone about them so they will no doubt be a great success.


I honesty thought Deeman's post was a wind-up.  It amused me until I clicked on eurocoin's link.  Seriously?!  And it's not 1 April yet.


You say that now, but how long until you visit 'The Experience' ?  ;)
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.


The RM want to give impression that they are doing great and the future is bright. Some excerpts from the Annual Report 2019-2020:

We delivered strong international growth across all key divisions; increasing our share of the precious metals market and achieving record overseas orders for currency. Our Collector Services division sourced and sold Britain's first £1 million coin, and our 'Brexit' commemorative range achieved record single day sales. As a result, our revenue for 2019–20 has grown by 35% to £568 million, and we narrowed our loss before tax to £(0.2) million – evidence that our strategy of diversification is working.

Overseas sales were at a record-breaking level in the year with the coins and blanks produced stretching around the world twice if placed end to end. The quality of the overseas order book continued to improve year on year and within this exceptional performance we signed our largest ever contract with an overseas client. This achievement is also a reflection of the strong role that cash continues to play in many economies around the world.


Quote from: Big_M on February 06, 2021, 09:14:01 PM
we signed our largest ever contract with an overseas client.

What are your guesses for who this client is?
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.


"Narrowed our loss" being the key words there.  All sounds rosy until they reveal they are still making a loss.  "Narrowed" sounds optimistic but only confirms they've been making a loss for some time.


The annual report is always full of propaganda. The pandemic caused a very large increase in orders for precious metals. There is not going to be a pandemic every year though so this is not a permanent thing. Same for Brexit. Events with an impact like that are only very rare so it is nice that they made money from a coin like that but in the long term this sales success is not going to help them.

The Royal Mint also launched a financial product (ETF) for gold that is listed on the stock markets in London and Frankfurt but people who are into precious metals are very hesitant. They feel that if you can't hold it you don't own it. And that belief is, and has always been, deep-rooted. I do not think that a company like The Royal Mint will be able to change that. I am convinced that they will struggle to sell it to investors.

As for <k>'s question. I have been wondering about it. We do not know whether it is an order for coins or blanks though.


You confuse two sides of the market. A mint or jeweller or similar uses precious metal to make something. They need physical metal. When the price of that metal changes, the value of metal in storage changes. The applicable rules for the UK mint are those of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). They say: Commodity brokers and dealers should measure their inventories at fair value less costs to sell and recognize the changes in fair value in profit or loss in the period of the change.. There are no specific rules for mints, but there is a rule (IFRS 8) that says (simplified) that where there is no rule, you take the closest IFRS rule instead.

Mints make stuff. They are not metal speculators. To take the risk of the metal price change off the balance sheet, there are several financial instruments, but the simplest is to sell your stocks on term, rebalancing periodically for changes in stocks. In that way, what you gain in the term market, you lose in the stocks and vice versa. You cannot use an ETF to do this.

An ETF is a basket of listed funds. It is a good instrument for risk-aware investors, because it includes several investment lines and avoids paying for traders (alpha) and churning, so it is relatively cheap. ETFs are typically sold by very big banks.

Retail investors who "invest" in physical metals are investment idiots. Holding physical precious metals either makes you an attractive target for criminals, responsible for accidental losses and even lost capital when the investor dies suddenly and has not told his inheritors where to find the metal or it incurs high cost for safe storage.

If you source is the gold council, this is a hyper-commercial club of US mine owners trying desperately to sell the physical gold their owners mine. Never take anything they say at face value.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.