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Coins and Kings

Where are coins made?

Did you know that the majority of the country’s coins used to be made at the Tower of London?

The place where coins are made is called a 'mint'.

King Edward I brought the Mint to the Tower of London in 1279.

Today our coins are made by the Royal Mint, which is located in Wales.

How were coins made?

In King Edward I’s day, coins were made by using a hammer to stamp patterns onto a blank coin shaped piece of metal. The stamp that transferred the pattern onto the coin is called a 'die'.

What was life like at the Mint?

Coin making was tiring work. One mint worker was reported to have fallen asleep for 14 days and 15 nights! Doctors could not work out what was wrong and his condition was so mysterious even King Henry VIII came to visit him. Historians now think that he probably got ill by touching poisonous metals like lead used to make coins. However he soon recovered and continued to work happily for another 40 years.

What was the top job at the Mint?

The Master of the Mint and the Warden of the Mint were the two most important jobs. One man who held both jobs at different times was the famous scientist Issac Newton. He made it his mission to stop the crime of counterfeiting (making fake coins) and turned private detective to hunt down the greatest counterfeiter of the age, William Chaloner.

Find out more about the exhibition, Coins and Kings: The Royal Mint at the Tower > 

Highlights

Arming the Knight

Arming the knight

A good suit of armour is a fighting machine and a fashion statement.

Arming the knight >
Meet the Prisoners at the Tower

Meet the prisoners

Who were the Tower's most famous prisoners? Why were they here?

Meet the prisoners >