50th Anniversary of Pride 50p with original artwork

Behind the scenes at the Royal Mint

The designers at the Royal Mint have recently made special edition coins to celebrate everything from the Platinum Jubilee to Pride to the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. Hazel Davis talks to them about how they are made

“What a terrible question! That’s like asking who your favourite child is,” laughs Paul Morgan. Morgan is new business development manager (former technical manager) at the Royal Mint, overseeing commemorative coins. I have just asked him to tell me the favourite coin he’s ever worked on.

Morgan has worked at the Royal Mint since 2012, helping to oversee several commemorative coin designs, including the most recent Platinum Jubilee designs, which comprised one of the Mint’s largest coin collections to date.

The process for a coin design, from theme to launch, can take around three years, sometimes longer. “Obviously,” says Morgan, “we would have known about the Jubilee well in advance so we have had a lot of time to work on it.” Other themes, around 30 on the go at a time, are decided by various people within the Royal Mint before going in front of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, an independent body. The selected ideas then go in front of the Treasury who will choose around four themes.

Recommendations also come from the public, sometimes via competitions and other times as informal suggestions. “We do often get suggestions for things that we’ve been working on for some time but are unable to divulge,” Morgan laughs, “and we have to say ‘oh that’s a good idea’.”

Top: 50th Anniversary of Pride 50p with original artwork; Above: A display created by the Royal Mint showing all of the Queen’s effigies and a commemorative 95th birthday coin; Photo: Doug Peters/PA Wire; All images courtesy the Royal Mint