Hundreds of millions of bronze coins needed to be minted in readiness for D-Day. Moreover, the distribution of the newly minted coins needed to be carefully controlled since every city, town and village in the United Kingdom would need sufficient stocks of each denomination – that there might be local shortages of new coins on D Day was a disaster too dreadful to contemplate.

Plans went ahead with some urgency and in April 1967 it was announced that a new Royal Mint was to be built at Llantrisant, ten miles or so to the north-west of Cardiff and set in rolling green countryside on the edge of the Rhondda Valley.

Royal Mint opening group South Wales

Work began in August 1967 on the construction of two large concrete-clad buildings, one for the treatment of blanks and the other for the striking of those blanks.

Building the Royal Mint in South Wales

This first phase was opened by the Queen in December 1968, when she switched on the coining presses to begin production of decimal bronze coins.

The Queen opens the Royal Mint in South Wales

Royal Mint plant South Wales

During 1969 the new mint, with its modern facilities for the bulk handling of blanks and the automatic feeding of lines of coining presses, achieved weekly rates of output in excess of 50 million coins, or twice as much in a week as a century earlier the Mint had produced in a year. Blanks were supplied from Tower Hill and selected contractors and, as planned, the new mint was responsible for the bulk of the stockpile of decimal bronze coins. In time for D Day, the new Royal Mint at Llantrisant had struck over 2,000 million decimal coins: on 15 February 1971, no-one could complain of a shortage of change.

The old mint at Tower Hill continued in operation. After 1972, however, few coins were struck in London and, once the new mint had become largely self-sufficient, production in London of blanks and coin was brought to an end. The last coin, a gold Sovereign, was struck at Tower Hill with due ceremony in November 1975, by which time many of the staff, along with the Mint’s historic numismatic collection, had already left London for Llantrisant.