Part of the Olympic coin program of the London 2012 Games.
This Gold Proof £25 coin is from the Citius Gold Series. It has been struck in 22 carat Gold to Proof quality and features the image of Mercury. An athletic and vigorous young god, Mercury was renowned as being the messenger of the gods, flying swiftly between the mortal and immortal worlds. The coin’s design represents the strong association Mercury has with the modern day athlete, in particular the Olympic runner – a vigorous athlete who relies on the similar attributes demonstrated by Mercury, such as speed and agility. day athlete, in particular the Runner.
One of the oldest institutions in the world, the Royal Mint began producing coins for England, and eventually Great Britain, more than 1,100 years ago. The mint also produces and exports coins for other countries, as well as military medals, and other products for the British government. The Royal Mint has been witness to the legendary kings and queens, political upheavals, social and governmental progress, and scientific and technological breakthroughs.
The minting of coins began in England around the end of the second century B.C. Around A.D. 650, coins were made by craftsmen called “moneyers” in London. In 886, during the reign of Alfred the Great, the London Mint was designated to be a single institution, though there were many other mints in operation around this time. In 1279 the London Mint was moved to the Tower of London where it remained for the next 500 years. Famed physicist Sir Isaac Newton was the Warden of the Mint in 1696 and as such was responsible for investigating cases of counterfeiting. Three years later he was made Master of the Mint, until his death in 1727, and was responsible for moving England from the Silver standard to the Gold standard in 1717.
The Royal Mint had outgrown its home in the Tower of London so during the 18th century the rickety wooden shacks the mint occupied were rebuilt to accommodate mechanized and rolling mills and coining presses and provide more space. Soon, however, the mint outgrew this new location and in 1809, the mint moved from the Tower of London to an adjacent site in East Smithfield called Tower Hill. By 1899, the Royal Mint was striking 100 million coins a year.
In 1967 it was announced that mint would move from its location at Tower Hill to Llantrisant, Wales, following Parliament’s decision to decimalize currency and in 1968 the first coins were officially struck by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the new location in Wales. In 1986, the Royal Mint celebrated 11 centuries of continuous minting. In 2009, the Royal Mint was vested into a government-owned company to provide greater operating and commercial freedom.
One unique aspect of the Royal Mint is a procedure known as the Trial of the Pyx, dates back to 1282 and ensures newly-minted coins meet required government standards. The trials have been held once a each year since their inception and have changed very little over time. These trials are presided over by a judge with a jury of expert assayers and were held at the Palace of Westminster before they were moved to the modern-day site at the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. The ceremony was so named after the boxwood chest in which coins were placed for presentation to the jury.