Coins of the pound sterling
The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom is denominated in pounds sterling, since the introduction of the two-pound coin in 1994, ranges in value from one penny to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 pence. From the 16th century until decimalisation, the pound was divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. British coins are minted by the Royal Mint in Wales; the Royal Mint commissions the coins' designs. As of 31 March 2016, there were an estimated 30.14 billion coins circulating in the United Kingdom. The first decimal coins were circulated in 1968; these were the five pence and ten pence, had values of one shilling and two shillings under the pre-decimal £sd system. The decimal coins are minted in copper-plated steel, nickel-plated steel and nickel-brass; the two-pound coins, and, as from 28 March 2017 the new one-pound coins, are bimetallic. The coins are discs, except for the twenty pence and fifty pence pieces, both of which have faces that are heptagonal curves of constant width, the new one-pound coins, which have faces with 12 sides.
All the circulating coins have an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, various national and regional designs, the denomination, on the reverse. The circulating coins, excepting the two-pound coin, were redesigned in 2008, keeping the sizes and compositions unchanged, but introducing reverse designs that each depict a part of the Royal Shield of Arms and form the whole shield when they are placed together in the appropriate arrangement; the exception, the 2008 one-pound coin, depicts the entire shield of arms on the reverse. All current coins carry a Latin inscription whose full form is ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX, meaning "Elizabeth II, by the grace of God and Defender of the Faith". In addition to the circulating coinage, the UK mints commemorative decimal coins in the denomination of five pounds. Prior to decimalisation, the denomination of special commemorative coins was five shillings, that is, 1⁄4 of a pound. Crowns, had a face value of 25p from decimalisation until 1981, when the last 25p crown was struck.
Ceremonial Maundy money and bullion coinage of gold sovereigns, half sovereigns, gold and silver Britannia coins are produced. Some territories outside the United Kingdom, which use the pound sterling, produce their own coinage, with the same denominations and specifications as the UK coinage but with local designs. In the years just before decimalisation, the circulating British coins were the half crown, two shillings or florin, sixpence, threepence and halfpenny; the farthing had been withdrawn in 1960. There was the Crown, which was, still is legal tender, worth 25p, but did not circulate. All modern coins feature a profile of the current monarch's head; the direction in which they face changes with each successive monarch, a pattern that began with the Stuarts. For the Tudors and pre-Restoration Stuarts, both left and right-facing portrait images were minted within the reign of a single monarch. In the Middle Ages, portrait images tended to be full face. From a early date, British coins have been inscribed with the name of the ruler of the kingdom in which they were produced, a longer or shorter title, always in Latin.
The English silver penny was derived from another silver coin, the sceat, of 20 troy grains weight, in general circulation in Europe during the Middle Ages. In the 12th century, Henry II established the sterling silver standard for English coinage, of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, replacing the earlier use of fine silver in the Middle Ages. The coinage reform of 1816 set up physical sizes for silver coins. Silver was eliminated from coins, except Maundy coins, in 1947; the history of the Royal Mint stretches back to AD 886. For many centuries production was in London at the Tower of London, at premises nearby in Tower Hill in what is today known as Royal Mint Court. In the 1970s production was transferred to Llantrisant in South Wales. Scotland and England had separate coinage. Coins were hand-hammered — an ancient technique in which two dies are struck together with a blank coin between them; this was the traditional method of manufacturing coins in the Western world from the classical Greek era onwards, in contrast with Asia, where coins were traditionally cast.
Milled coins were produced first during the reign of Elizabeth I and periodically during the subsequent reigns of James I and Charles I, but there was opposition to mechanisation from the moneyers, who ensured that most coins continued to be produced by hammering. All British coins produced since 1662 have been milled; the English penny first appeared as a silver coin. It was derived from another silver coin, the sceat, of 20 troy grains weight, in general circulation in Europe during the Middle Ages; the weight of the English penny was fixed at 22 1⁄2 troy grains by Offa of Mercia, an 8th-century contemporary of Charlemagne. The coin's designated value, was that of 24 troy grains of silver, with the difference b
Gold as an investment
Of all the precious metals, gold is the most popular as an investment. Investors buy gold as a way of diversifying risk through the use of futures contracts and derivatives; the gold market is subject to volatility as are other markets. Compared to other precious metals used for investment, gold has the most effective safe haven and hedging properties across a number of countries. Gold has been used throughout history as money and has been a relative standard for currency equivalents specific to economic regions or countries, until recent times. Many European countries implemented gold standards in the latter part of the 19th century until these were temporarily suspended in the financial crises involving World War I. After World War II, the Bretton Woods system pegged the United States dollar to gold at a rate of US$35 per troy ounce; the system existed until the 1971 Nixon Shock, when the US unilaterally suspended the direct convertibility of the United States dollar to gold and made the transition to a fiat currency system.
The last major currency to be divorced from gold was the Swiss Franc in 2000. Since 1919 the most common benchmark for the price of gold has been the London gold fixing, a twice-daily telephone meeting of representatives from five bullion-trading firms of the London bullion market. Furthermore, gold is traded continuously throughout the world based on the intra-day spot price, derived from over-the-counter gold-trading markets around the world; the following table sets out the gold price versus various assets and key statistics at five-year intervals. Like most commodities, the price of gold is driven by supply and demand, including speculative demand. However, unlike most other commodities and disposal play larger roles in affecting its price than its consumption. Most of the gold mined still exists in accessible form, such as bullion and mass-produced jewelry, with little value over its fine weight — so it is nearly as liquid as bullion, can come back onto the gold market. At the end of 2006, it was estimated that all the gold mined totalled 158,000 tonnes.
The investor Warren Buffett has said that the total amount of gold in the world, above ground could fit into a cube with sides of just 20 metres. However, estimates for the amount of gold that exists today vary and some have suggested the cube could be a lot smaller or larger. Given the huge quantity of gold stored above ground compared to the annual production, the price of gold is affected by changes in sentiment, which affects market supply and demand rather than on changes in annual production. According to the World Gold Council, annual mine production of gold over the last few years has been close to 2,500 tonnes. About 2,000 tonnes goes into jewelry and dental production, around 500 tonnes goes to retail investors and exchange-traded gold funds. Central banks and the International Monetary Fund play an important role in the gold price. At the end of 2004, central banks and official organizations held 19% of all above-ground gold as official gold reserves; the ten-year Washington Agreement on Gold, which dates from September 1999, limited gold sales by its members to less than 500 tonnes a year.
In 2009, this agreement was extended for a further five years, but with a smaller annual sales limit of 400 tonnes. European central banks, such as the Bank of England and the Swiss National Bank, have been key sellers of gold over this period. Although central banks do not announce gold purchases in advance, such as Russia, have expressed interest in growing their gold reserves again as of late 2005. In early 2006, which only holds 1.3% of its reserves in gold, announced that it was looking for ways to improve the returns on its official reserves. Some bulls hope that this signals that China might reposition more of its holdings into gold, in line with other central banks. Chinese investors began pursuing investment in gold as an alternative to investment in the Euro after the beginning of the Eurozone crisis in 2011. China has since become the world's top gold consumer as of 2013, it is accepted that the price of gold is related to interest rates. As interest rates rise, the general tendency is for the gold price, which earns no interest, to fall, vice versa.
As a result, the gold price can be correlated to central banks via their monetary policy decisions on interest rates. For example, if market signals indicate the possibility of prolonged inflation, central banks may decide to raise interest rates, which could reduce the price of gold, but this does not always happen: after the European Central Bank raised its interest rate on April 7, 2011, for the first time since 2008, the price of gold drove higher, hit a new high one day later. In August 2011 when interest rates in India were at their highest in two years, the gold prices peaked as well; the price of gold can be influenced by a number of macroeconomic variables. Such variables include the price of oil, the use of quantitative easing, currency exchange rate movements and returns on equity markets. Gold, like all precious metals, may be used as a hedge against inflation, deflation or currency devaluation, though its efficacy as such has been questioned. A unique feature of gold is; as Joe Foster, portfolio manager of the New York-based Van Eck International Gold Fund, explained in September 2010: The curren
Silver as an investment
Silver may be used as an investment like other precious metals. It has been regarded as a form of money and store of value for more than 4,000 years, although it has lost its role as a legal tender in all developed countries since the end of the silver standard; some countries mint bullion and collector coins, such as the American Silver Eagle with nominal face values. In 2009, the main demand for silver was for industrial applications, bullion coins, exchange-traded products. In 2011, the global silver reserves amounted to 530,000 tonnes. Millions of Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins and American Silver Eagle coins are purchased as investments each year; the Silver Maple Leaf is legal tender at $5 per ounce, there are many other silver coins with higher legal tender values, including $20 Canadian silver coins. In 2011, the Utah Legal Tender Act, made silver and gold U. S. minted coins legal tender in Utah, so that it may be used to pay any debt, without being subject to capital gains tax. The price of silver is driven like most commodities.
The price of silver is notoriously volatile compared to that of gold because of the smaller market, lower market liquidity and demand fluctuations between industrial and store of value uses. At times, this can cause wide-ranging valuations in the market. Silver tracks the gold price due to store of value demands, although the ratio can vary; the crustal ratio of silver to gold is 17.5:1. The gold/silver price ratio is analyzed by traders and buyers. In Roman times, the price ratio was set at 12 to 1. In 1792, the gold/silver price ratio was fixed by law in the United States at 15:1, which meant that one troy ounce of gold was worth 15 troy ounces of silver; the average gold/silver price ratio during the 20th century, was 47:1. Physical bullion in coins or bars may have a premium of 20 percent or more when purchased from a dealer. Silver bullion bars have been available for purchase at a premium of less than 7% over the Comex spot price for much of 2015 and early 2016, while government-minted coins still command a much higher premium.
Physical coins have a higher premium. For example, one troy ounce silver eagles coins released from the US mint at a $2 premium to official distributors who sell coins for a mark up of $2.30 to $2.50 to customers depending on market conditions. In recent years ecommerce growth in the physical bullion industry has seen premiums reduced for retail investors to purchase products online with door to door shipping. Many online dealers provide international shipping and weekly discounts on a wide range of products; the price of silver has risen steeply since September 2005, being around $7 per troy ounce but reaching $14 per troy ounce for the first time by late April 2006. The monthly average price of silver was $12.61 per troy ounce during April 2006, the spot price was around $15.78 per troy ounce on November 6, 2007. As of March 2008, it hovered around $20 per troy ounce. However, the price of silver plummeted 58% in October 2008, along with other metals and commodities, due to the effects of the credit crunch.
By April 2011, silver had rebounded to reach a 31-year high at $49.21 per ounce on April 29, 2011 due to monetary inflation, concerns about the solvency of governments in the developed world in the Eurozone. The Hunt Brothers took a huge position in silver using leverage, to become some of the largest private holders of silver in the world; because of their unusually large stake in the appreciating commodity, Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt, the sons of Texas oil billionaire Haroldson Lafayette Hunt, Jr. were accused of attempting to "corner" the market in silver in order to manipulate its price. From 1973 the Hunt brothers began what was seen as an attempt at cornering the market in silver contributing to a spike in price in January, 18 1980 of the London Silver Fix to $49.45 per troy ounce. Silver futures reached an intraday COMEX all-time high of $50.35 per troy ounce and a reduction of the gold/silver ratio down to 1:17.0. In the last nine months of 1979, the brothers were estimated to be holding over 100 million troy ounces of silver and several large silver futures contracts.
However, a combination of changed trading rules on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the intervention of the Federal Reserve put an end to both their holdings and their potential for profit on the commodity. By 1982, the London Silver Fix had collapsed by 90% to $4.90 per troy ounce. In 1979, the price for silver Good Delivery Bars jumped from about $6 per troy ounce to a record high of $49.45 per troy ounce, which represents an increase of 724%. The highest price of silver itself is hard to determine, but based on the price of common silver coin, it peaked at about $40/oz.. The fact that Good Delivery Bars sold at about a 25% premium would indicate it was a short squeeze of Good Delivery Bars, not silver per se; the brothers were estimated to hold one third of the entire world supply of held silver. The situation for other prospective buyers of silver who had not stocked up on the metal in advance of its bull run was so dire that the jeweler Tiffany's took out a full page ad in The New York Times, blaming the Hunt Brothers for the increase in price and stating that "We think it is unconscionable for
Defender of the Faith
Defender of the Faith is a phrase, used as part of the full style of many English and British monarchs since the early 16th century. It has been used by some other monarchs and heads of state; the earliest use of the term appears in 1507, when a Papal Legate and Abbot Robert Bellenden conferred the title in a lavish ceremony upon King James IV of Scotland."Defender of the Faith" has been one of the subsidiary titles of the English and British monarchs since it was granted on 11 October 1521 by Pope Leo X to King Henry VIII of England and Ireland. His wife Catherine of Aragon was a Defender of the Faith in her own right; the title was conferred in recognition of Henry's book Assertio Septem Sacramentorum, which defended the sacramental nature of marriage and the supremacy of the Pope. This was known as the "Henrician Affirmation" and was seen as an important opposition to the early stages of the Protestant Reformation the ideas of Martin Luther. Following Henry's decision to break with Rome in 1530 and establish himself as head of the Church of England, the title was revoked by Pope Paul III and Henry was excommunicated.
However, in 1544, the Parliament of England conferred the title "Defender of the Faith" on King Henry VIII and his successors, now the defenders of the Anglican faith, of which they remain the Supreme Governors. King James V of Scotland was granted the title of "Defender of the Faith" by Pope Paul III on 19 January 1537, symbolizing the hopes of the papacy that the King of Scots would resist the path that his uncle, Henry VIII, had followed. James' father, James IV, had been granted the title of "Protector and Defender of the Christian Faith" by Pope Julius II in 1507. Neither title became part of the full style of the monarch of Scotland. During The Protectorate, the republican heads of state Oliver Cromwell and Richard Cromwell, more profiled as Protestant than the Monarchy, although claiming divine sanction, did not adopt the style "Defender of the Faith"; the style remains in use to this day. In her capacity as queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II is styled "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith".
The title "Defender of the Faith" reflects the Sovereign's position as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, thus formally superior to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The original Latin phrase Fidei Defensor is represented on all current British coins by the abbreviations, F D or FID DEF; this notation was first added to British coins in 1714, during the reign of King George I. The decision of the Royal Mint to omit this and certain other parts of the monarch's style from the "Godless Florin" in 1849 caused such a scandal that the coin was replaced. In most Commonwealth realms, the phrase does not appear in the Monarch's full style, though the initial "By the Grace of God" is maintained. For example, in Australia, Queen Elizabeth is styled "by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth", she is additionally styled "Defender of the Faith" only in Canada, New Zealand and the UK. Canada chose to include the phrase not because the sovereign is regarded as the protector of the state religion, but as a defender of faith in general.
In a speech to the House of Commons in 1953, Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent stated: The rather more delicate question arose about the retention of the words, "Defender of the Faith". In England there is an established church. In our countries there are no established churches, but in our countries there are people who have faith in the direction of human affairs by an all-wise providence, we felt that it was a good thing that the civil authorities would proclaim that their organisation is such that it is a defence of the continued beliefs in a supreme power that orders the affairs of mere men, that there could be no reasonable objection from anyone who believed in the Supreme Being in having the sovereign, the head of the civil authority, described as a believer in and a defender of the faith in a supreme ruler. However, the style used on Canadian coinage is D. G. Regina. In Australia, the monarch held the title "Defender of the Faith" until 1973, when it was formally removed. At various times, some countries of the Commonwealth retained the title until they formally became republics, e.g.
South Africa from 29 May 1953. Others dropped it sooner, e.g. in 1953, while still a dominion of the Commonwealth, Pakistan dropped the title in recognition of the contradiction between its overwhelmingly Muslim population and having a monarch as the defender of the Christian faith. Charles, Prince of Wales, the present heir apparent, expressed a preference to change the spirit of this role should he succeed to the throne as expected, he commented in 1994, "I would rather see as Defender of Faith, not the Faith", clarified in 2015 that "while at the same time being Defender of the Faith you can be protector of faiths". In 1811, when he proclaimed himself king, Henri I of Haiti awarded himself the title, "Défenseur de la Foi", incorporated it into his full style, which translates from the F
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was educated at home, her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; when her father died in February 1952, she became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ceylon. She has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, the decolonisation of Africa. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and realms, including South Africa and Ceylon, became republics.
Her many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and visits to or from five popes. Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012 respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee, she is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch as well as the world's longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state, the oldest and longest-reigning current monarch and the longest-serving current head of state. Elizabeth has faced republican sentiments and press criticism of the royal family, in particular after the breakdown of her children's marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992 and the death in 1997 of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales. However, support for the monarchy has been and remains high, as does her personal popularity. Elizabeth was born at 02:40 on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V.
Her father, the Duke of York, was the second son of the King. Her mother, the Duchess of York, was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, she was delivered by Caesarean section at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair. She was baptised by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May, named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother, who had died six months earlier, Mary after her paternal grandmother. Called "Lilibet" by her close family, based on what she called herself at first, she was cherished by her grandfather George V, during his serious illness in 1929 her regular visits were credited in the popular press and by biographers with raising his spirits and aiding his recovery. Elizabeth's only sibling, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930; the two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Marion Crawford.
Lessons concentrated on history, language and music. Crawford published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's childhood years entitled The Little Princesses in 1950, much to the dismay of the royal family; the book describes Elizabeth's love of horses and dogs, her orderliness, her attitude of responsibility. Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as "a character, she has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant." Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved". During her grandfather's reign, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle Edward and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as Edward was still young. Many people believed he would have children of his own; when her grandfather died in 1936 and her uncle succeeded as Edward VIII, she became second-in-line to the throne, after her father.
That year, Edward abdicated, after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis. Elizabeth's father became king, she became heir presumptive. If her parents had had a son, she would have lost her position as first-in-line, as her brother would have been heir apparent and above her in the line of succession. Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College, learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses. A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed so she could socialise with girls her own age, she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger. In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured the United States; as in 1927, when her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain, since her father thought her too young to undertake public tours. Elizabeth "looked tearful", they corresponded and she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call on 18 May.
In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War. Lord Hailsham suggested that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada to avoid the frequent aerial bombing; this was rejected by Elizabeth's mother. I won't leave wit
The Queen's Beasts
The Queen's Beasts are ten heraldic statues representing the genealogy of Queen Elizabeth II, depicted as the Royal supporters of England. They stood in front of the temporary western annexe to Westminster Abbey for the Queen's coronation in 1953; each of The Queen's Beasts consists of an heraldic beast supporting a shield bearing a badge or arms of a family associated with the ancestry of Queen Elizabeth II. They were commissioned by the British Ministry of Works from sculptor James Woodford, they were uncoloured except for their shields at the coronation. They are now on display in the Canadian Museum of History. There are other statues of the Queen's Beasts, sometimes referred to as the King's Beasts, at Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens in London, on the roof of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. There are ten heraldic beasts of a like sort at Hampton Court Palace near London, they were restored at the beginning of the twentieth century but were derived from originals made more than 400 years ago for Henry VIII, are called'the King's Beasts'.
They are carved in stone and each sits erect, supporting a shield upon which there is a coat of arms or a heraldic badge. From the beasts themselves and the emblems which they carry on their shields it is evident that they stood for King Henry and his third Queen, Jane Seymour. In the autumn of 1952, the Minister of Works, in preparation for the great event some months ahead, called upon the Royal Academician and sculptor James Woodford, OBE, to create ten new beasts similar in form and character to the ten at Hampton Court but more appropriate to the Queen. Exact replicas of those at Hampton Court would have been unsuitable for the occasion, for some of them would have little connection with Her Majesty's own family or ancestry; the beasts weigh about 700 pounds each. They are works in plaster, so cannot be left exposed to the elements. Uncolored except for their shields, they are now painted; the Beasts were on display outside the western annexe of Westminster Abbey. The annexe was a glass-fronted construction in which to marshal the long processions before the service.
The statues were placed along the front with the exception of The Lion of England. It was placed in the alcove formed by the North wall of the annex and the entrance used by the Queen to enter the Abbey on her arrival in the Gold State Coach; the statues were placed left to right in the following order when facing the annex from the west: The Lion of England, the greyhound, the yale, the dragon, the horse, the lion of Mortimer, the unicorn, the griffin, the bull, the falcon. This was not the same order as they are in the royal pedigree, but were ordered in this way for balance and symmetry in display; the Scottish Unicorn, Horse of Hanover and Falcon replace four of the Beasts at Hampton Court. After the coronation, they were removed to the Great Hall in Hampton Court Palace. In 1957, they were moved again to Windsor; the beasts were taken into storage in April 1958. It was decided to offer them to the Commonwealth governments. In June 1959, the Canadian government accepted the beasts and they were shipped there in July.
The only coloured parts of the statues were their heraldic shields. They are now in the care of the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau. In 1958, Sir Henry Ross, Chairman of the Distillers Company in Edinburgh, paid for Portland stone replicas of the statues, which are on display outside the Palm House at Kew Gardens; the beasts served as models for topiary at Hall Place, Bexley. The original sculptures have been commemorated in the following forms: bone china figurines and saucers, glass tray sets, plaster models, reclaimed material reproductions, porcelain candlesticks, British postage stamps issued in 1998, silver tea spoons, tea towels. In 2016 the Royal Mint launched one for each beast; the Lion of England is the crowned golden lion of England, one of the supporters of the Royal Arms since the reign of Edward IV. It supports a shield showing the Arms of the United Kingdom as they have been since Queen Victoria's accession in 1837. In the first and last quarters of the shield are the lions of England, taken from the arms of Richard I "The Lionheart".
The lion and tressure of Scotland appear in the second, the harp of Ireland is in the third. The White Greyhound of Richmond was a badge of John of Gaunt, Earl of Richmond, son of Edward III, it was used by Henry IV and by Henry VII. The Tudor double rose can be seen on the shield, one rose within another surmounted by a crown, it symbolizes the union of two of the cadet houses of the Plantagenet - Lancaster. The Yale was a mythical beast white and covered with gold spots and able to swivel each of its horns independently, it descends to the Queen through Henry VII, who inherited it from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. The shield shows a portcullis surmounted by a royal crown; the portcullis was a Beaufort badge, but was used both crowned and uncrowned by Henry VII. The red dragon was a badge used by Owen Tudor, after the story of the dragon on Llewelyn the Last's castle grounds, his grandson, Henry VII, took it as a token of his supposed descent from Cadwaladr, the last of the line of Maelg
The Royal Mint is a government-owned mint that produces coins for the United Kingdom. Operating under the name Royal Mint Ltd, the mint is a limited company, wholly owned by Her Majesty's Treasury and is under an exclusive contract to supply all the nation's coinage; as well as minting circulating coins for use domestically and internationally, the mint produces planchets, commemorative coins, various types of medals and precious metal bullion. The mint exports to an average of 60 countries a year. Formed over 1,100 years ago, the mint was part of a series of mints that became centralised to produce coins for the Kingdom of England, all of Great Britain and most of the British Empire; the original London mint from which the Royal Mint is the successor, was established in 886 AD and operated within the Tower of London for 800 years before moving to what is now called Royal Mint Court where it remained until the 1960s. As Britain followed the rest of the world in decimalising its currency, the Mint moved from London to a new 38 acres plant in Llantrisant, Wales where it has remained since.
In 2009 after recommendations for the mint to be privatised the Royal Mint ceased being an executive government agency and became a state-owned company wholly owned by HM Treasury. Since the mint has expanded its business interests by reviving its bullion trade and developing a £9 million visitor centre; the history of coins in Great Britain can be traced back to the second century BC when they were introduced by Celtic tribes from across the English Channel. The first record of coins being minted in Britain is attributed to Kentish tribes such as the Cantii who around 80–60 B. C. imitated those of Marseille through casting instead of hammering. After the Romans began their invasion of Britain in AD 43, they set up mints across the land, including in London which produced Roman coins for some 40 years before closing. A mint in London reopened in 383 AD until closing swiftly as Roman rule in Britain came to an end. For the next 200 years no coins appear to have been minted in Britain until the emergence of English kingdoms in 650 AD when as many as 30 mints are recorded across Britain with one being established in London.
Control of Britain's mints alternated. In 886 AD Alfred the Great recaptured London from the Danelaw and began issuing silver pennies bearing his portrait. In 1279, the country's numerous mints were unified under a single system whereby control was centralised to the mint within the Tower of London, mints outside of London were reduced with only a few local and episcopals continuing to operate. Pipe rolls detailing the financial records of the London mint show an expenditure of £729 17s 8½d and records of timber bought for workshops. Individual roles at the mint were well established by 1464; the master-worker was charged with hiring engravers and the management of moneyers, while the mint warden was responsible for witnessing the delivery of dies. A specialist mint board was set up in 1472 to enact a 23 February indenture which vested the mint's responsibilities into three main roles. In the 16th century having suffering from the effects of the Black Death, mainland Europe was in the middle of an economic expansion, England however was suffering with financial difficulty brought on by excessive government spending.
By the 1540s wars with France and Scotland led Henry VIII to enact The Great Debasement which saw the amount of precious metal in coin reduced. In order to further gather control of the country's currency, monasteries were dissolved which ended major coin production outside of London. In 1603, the union of Scotland and England under King James VI led to a partial union of both countries' currencies, the pound Scots and the pound sterling. Due to Scotland debasing its silver coins, a Scots mark was worth just 13.5d compared to an English mark, worth 6s 8d. To bridge the difference between the values, unofficial supplementary token coins made from lead were made by unauthorised minters across the country. By 1612 there were 3,000 such unlicensed mints producing these tokens, none of whom paying anything towards the crown; the Royal Mint, not wanting to divert manpower away from minting more profitable gold and silver, hired outside agent Lord Harington who under licence started issuing copper farthings in 1613.
Private licenses to mint these coins were revoked in 1644 which led traders to resume minting their own supplementary tokens. In 1672 the Royal Mint took over the production of copper coinage. Prior to the outbreak of the English Civil War, England signed a treaty in 1630 with Spain which ensured a steady supply of silver bullion to the Tower mint. Additional branch mints to aid the one in London were set up including one at Aberystwyth Castle, in Wales. In 1642 parliament seized control of the Tower mint and after Charles I tried to arrest the Five Members he was forced to flee London, establishing at least 16 emergency mints across the British Isles in Colchester, Cork, Dublin, Salisbury, parts of Cornwall including Truro, Worcester, Carlisle, Newark and Scarborough. After raising the royal standard in Nottingham marking the beginning of the war, Charles called upon loyalist mining engineer Thomas Bushell, the owner of a mint and silver mine in Aberystwyth, to move his operations to the royalist-held Shrewsbury within in the grounds of Shrewsbury Castle.
The mint there was however short-lived, operating for no more than three months before Charles ordered Bushell to re