The Trial of the Pyx is a judicial ceremony dating back to the twelfth century.
|At the Trial of the Pyx on 6 December 1854, members of the jury take the oath in the presence of the Lord Chancellor, as shown in the London Illustrated Gazette.
From 1870, the Trial of the Pyx has taken place each year at the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London.
The name Pyx refers to the chests in which the coins are transported, and derives from the Pyx chamber in Westminster Abbey where historically the chests were kept. Little has changed in the procedure since the reign of Henry III; throughout the year, coins are randomly selected from every batch of each denomination struck, sealed in bags containing 50 coins each, and locked away in the Pyx boxes for testing at the Trial.
The Jury will usually consist of leaders in the financial world and at least six assayers from the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths which have two months to test that the coins are within the statutory limits for metallic composition, weight and size. The benchmark against which the coins are tested is called a Trial Plate. Trial plates are held by the National Measurement and Regulation Office.
The Trial will then reconvene and the Queen’s Remembrancer will ask the Jury for its verdict.
The delivery of the verdict is given in May in the presence of the Master of the Royal Mint, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or his Deputy.