Flora and Fauna of the British Isles submitted for testing at the Trial of the Pyx
- The Royal Mint’s coins have been submitted for quality testing in the annual Trial of the Pyx at Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London – the UK’s oldest judicial process.
- As the responsibility of the Goldsmiths’ Company, whose members make up the jury, the 700-year-old Trial ensures every coin produced by The Royal Mint meets a strict set of standards aimed at protecting consumers.
- A series of eight new definitive coins, with designs focused on the flora and fauna of the British Isles have been submitted in denominations from 1p - £2. They reflect His Majesty King Charles III’s passion for conservation and the natural world, and replace the current shield formation, introduced under Queen Elizabeth II in 2008.
- Examples of these coins of the nation in both base and precious metals form part of an overall submission of 7,960 coins that will be tested by the Goldsmiths’ Company London Assay Office.
6 February 2024:
The Royal Mint has today submitted 7,960 coins for testing at the UK’s oldest judicial ceremony, the Trial of the Pyx, held at Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London.
The 700-year-old ceremony aims to protect consumers by upholding the quality of the nation’s coinage through rigorous testing – as important today as it was at the first recorded public trial in 1248, the process ensures that the coins produced by The Royal Mint meet the standards of precision, accuracy and exceptional craftsmanship for which it is internationally renowned.
This year’s Trial of the Pyx marks the final chapter in His Majesty King Charles III’s transition onto British coinage, with eight new definitive coins (1p - £2), featuring designs inspired by the flora and fauna of the British Isles and reflecting the King’s passion for conservation and the natural world submitted for testing. Alongside these coins of the nation, which will be found in piggybanks, purses, and pockets, the Royal Mint have submitted several limited-edition coin designs that cover themes from the 75th Anniversary of the NHS, to celebrations of author of The Lord of The Rings J.R.R. Tolkien, and mathematician and computing pioneer Ada Lovelace.
While the primary responsibility of The Royal Mint is to strike the United Kingdom’s regular coinage, the 1,100-year-old organisation also draws on its unrivalled knowledge of precious metals and spectacular pool of British craftsmanship to create commemorative coins in silver, gold, and platinum. These include: the 2023 22ct gold Coronation Sovereign; the 24ct gold 1kg and 2kg King Charles III Coronation coins; and a pair of 5kg 24ct gold “Petition Crown” Masterpieces.
Created in tribute to the Petition Crown, the revered seventeenth-century work of engraver Thomas Simon, the coins bear either the “quartered arms” or “Charles II Effigy” from Simon’ design on their reverse. Part of the Royal Mint’s Great Engravers Collection and featuring Martin Jennings’ portrait of His Majesty King Charles III on their obverse, this is the first time that Charles II and Charles III have appeared on the same coin.
A sample of all new coins struck by The Royal Mint – both currency and commemorative – are submitted to the Trial of the Pyx each year. They are rigorously checked for fineness and quality by an independent jury of Goldsmiths’ Company members, before further scientific analysis by the Goldsmiths’ Company London Assay Office.
The Trial is opened by the King’s Remembrancer, Senior Master (Jeremy David) Cook of the Kings’ Bench Division of the High Court, who will also deliver the verdict once testing and analysis have been completed later in the year.
Anne Jessopp, Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Mint said: “This historic moment marks the beginning of a new tradition as we present the new coins of the nation for trial. King Charles III’s definitive collection has been produced to The Royal Mint’s highest quality standards, whilst highlighting His Majesty’s passion for conservation and the natural world.
Exceptional craftmanship is at the heart of The Royal Mint’s work and I am proud to preserve our legacy and showcase our spectacular skill and expertise.”
Dan Thomas, The King’s Assay Master (a position that’s existed for centuries and maintains responsibility to answer for the purity of money) said: “It is an honour to be a part of one of the UK’s oldest judicial ceremonies to unveil a new chapter in our rich history. Each coin is a celebration of His Majesty, King Charles III. We are committed to ensuring our nation’s coinage is underpinned by the quality, accuracy, and excellence for which The Royal Mint is famous.”
Charles Mackworth-Young, Prime Warden (Chairs the Board) of the Goldsmiths’ Company commented: “Coins represent a fascinating link between the past, present, and future – both as beautiful works of the engraver’s craft, and as a simple, portable, and reliable way of paying for goods and services.
Today, as for the last 700 years, it remains the responsibility of the Goldsmiths’ Company to ensure the integrity of these coins - from the beautiful new King Charles III definitives that will pay for papers and peppermints, through to the stunning precious metal masterpieces which represent the pinnacle of the engraver’s art.
Consumers can rest assured that the coins produced by the Royal Mint have passed the most stringent tests for quality, precision, and accuracy.”