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The London Mint Office is one of the UK’s most trusted suppliers of historic, commemorative and circulation coins. Through long grown partnerships with most of the major state mints and national banks across the globe, the company has become one of the leading sources in the coin collecting community. With unrivalled expertise in this specialist field, and a visionary approach to sourcing and customer service, The London Mint Office is committed to enhancing the enjoyment, understanding and knowledge of collectors.

Friday, 17 March 2017

You Drink Fair Trade Coffee, Eat Fair Trade Chocolate- But is your gold Fair Mined?

The Fair Trade organisation has become a movement of global proportions. Since its conception in the 1940s, they have worked alongside as many as 3000 grassroots organisations in over 70 countries, with the aim of promoting better trading conditions and to encourage ethical business practices.

The Fair Trade ethos originated in 1946 in the United States, when Ten Thousand Villages (formerly Self Help Crafts) began buying needlework from Puerto Rico; in the same decade, SERRV began trading with poor communities in the Southern hemisphere. It was this that led to the opening of the first formal “FairTrade” shop in 1958 in the United States. Globally, we celebrate World Fair Trade Day every year on the second Sunday of May to raise awareness of the organisation and to reinforce its aims.

Fairmined is an assurance label associated with the Fair Trade movement which certifies that gold is being ethically sourced from small artisanal mining organisations and that the consumer is buying, and in turn, supporting responsibly-managed community mines. The scheme guarantees miners a fair price for their work and materials, and encourages them to make investments in operations and social development by paying them an additional premium for operating within the ‘Fairmined Standard’. It also allows consumers peace of mind when buying as they are assured that their purchase has contributed to providing good trading practices.

Did you know that in 2015, the Nobel Peace Prize awarded their first medal made of certified Fairmined gold?

It was struck at the Norwegian Mint having been sourced from a small Fairmined-certified mine in Colombia, and together with their owners Samlerhuset and co-operation from the not-for-profit Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), they aimed to highlight the working conditions and environmental impact of gold mines, promoting the need for reform.
The Alliance for Responsible Mining work to transform smaller-scale mines into a force for good, providing them with the means to achieve a Fairmined certification and ensuring social development opportunities and environmental protection for its miners.
Currently, 85-90% of gold mined worldwide comes from larger mines that are regulated by international standards. However, the remaining 10-15% comes from smaller mines, which employs 90% of the world’s miners – approximately 10 million people!

These mines pose massive challenges in respect of working conditions and the environmental impacts they cause, as small-scale extractions are usually performed by hand under intense conditions; the miners must dig the gold, cut it into pieces and then clean it with a process that includes the use of mercury, a chemical highly dangerous not just to the miner but also toxic to the environment.

Gold mining is a highly-important source of income for many poorer communities in South America, South-East Asia and Africa, and smaller mines often have no authorisation from their government which jeopardising their miners’ livelihoods and provides them with little to no job security.

The jewellery industry in particular has come a long way in promoting responsible gold trading, however the coin industry unfortunately still has some catching up to do. In 2014, the coin industry consumed 256 tonnes of gold in coins and medals, working out as roughly 6% of the total worldwide demand for gold. It is figures like these that really show just how important it is for the industry to take a serious interest in the Fairmined organisation.

Ole Bjørn Fausa- Speaking about Fairmined

Bjørn Fausa, the CEO of Samlerhuset and owner of the Norwegian Mint, speaks passionately of the ARM’s efforts, enforcing that as a company, “we want a harder look to be taken at what gold is used by the coin and medal industry and more and more players to make use of certified gold from small mines. In this way, the working conditions can gradually be improved for those working in them and the environment can be saved”.

The Mint and Samlerhuset, over the years have responsibly sourced their gold from established suppliers, choosing to either use recycled gold (the most environmentally-friendly method), or to source their material from the larger, mechanised mines that minimise, if not eradicate, the risk to human life by providing exploitation agreements with their local authorities.

It is clear that the evolution of Fairmined is having a positive impact on everyone involved giving workers human rights that they are entitled to as well as a safe working environment helping development in mining countries. 

We hope you have found this blog informative, the London Mint Office will be bringing you more from Fairmined later this year...

to Find out more head to the Fairmined Website

Friday, 10 February 2017

London Mint Office at the World Money Fair 2017 in Berlin

Now the biggest coin event across the globe, World Money Fair is the ultimate event to visit for coin enthusiasts of any level. Whether starting off with your first coin or you 500th coin, it is a great chance to meet people from all walks of life interested in the fascinating world of coins.

But where did the World’s biggest coin fair start its journey?

History of World Money Fair

It All Started With the Silver Crisis in The 1960s...
With the historic boom in the price of precious metals in the mid-sixties, coin collecting attracted greater interest worldwide. True to the motto of the English economist Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-1579), “Bad money drives out good money”, coin clubs were founded worldwide and invited their members to collectors’ meetings and recommended hoarding coins whose metal value was above the market value, as a stable form of investment.

January 22nd 1972 in Basel Northwest Switzerland saw the first international coin event took place using the guidelines of the OEMB, later establishing itself as the Basel Coin Fair attracting a variety of visitors interested in classic coin exchange. This ran successfully for 10 years. To mark its 10th anniversary the Royal Canadian Mint was the first mint to take part in an international coin exchange in 1981 as a gap in the market was seen with there being no direct contact between international mints and European collectors. There is now a place for industry professionals to be able to communicate with coin collectors of all levels, and a place for people to come and learn about products and collecting. (Click here for more on the history of the fair

The Unveiling of the London Mint Office Sovereign: An Iconic Design Remastered

As leading industry professionals the London Mint Office attend World Money Fair each year to inspire, promote and interact with the coin world. 2017 however is a very special year for the London Mint Office as it was revealing its brand new 2017 Sovereign design of George & the Dragon by Angela Pistrucci, great great great grandniece to the late Benedetto Pistrucci who designed the original Sovereign.  

London Mint Office: Sovereign Design Cast
Cast of the London Mint Office Sovereign 2017 Design
As part of the Samlerhuset reception at World Money Fair we at the London Mint Office were very proud to reveal our new 2017  St George & the Dragon design, an iconic design remastered by artist Angela Pistrucci (Click Here to see the full story on the design).

The reception was kick started by a talk from one of the Samlerhuset founders Ole Bjørn Fausa who warmly welcomed everyone and went on to talk about the exciting development of the modern Sovereign Design.
Ole Bjørn Fausa at the Samlerhuset Reception
Ole interviewed a variety of guests on the amazing new design including:

Raphael Maklouf- Legendary Master Sculptor best known for designing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II used on the coins of many Commonwealth nations, spoke with Ole on the development of the Sovereign over the years:

The honorable Joseph Bossano MP then took to the stage with pure excitement over the design and love for the heritage of Gibraltar and its commemoration of coins:

During the Media Forum the Minister went on to say:
“We are very lucky that the coin that Gibraltar has issued 200 years later has been designed by a descendent of Pistrucci – Angela Pistrucci … There will now be a St George and the Dragon that belongs to England and a St George and the Dragon that belongs to Gibraltar”- The honorable Joseph Bossano MP. 

With so many kind words Angela Pistrucci  took to the stage, welled up with joy and a sense of pride, she talked about her journey of her heritage and design

"A truly wonderful evening for not only the London Mint Office but also an exciting event for the Coin industry with the first St George and the Dragon design from the Pistrucci family in 200 years"- Tony Chilcott Senior Project Manager London Mint Office. 

A Proud Moment for All Involved.
Later during the fair Angela was kind enough to talk more about her journey and even gave a heartwarming speech about her emotional time during the project as well as the future of the Pistrucci family within the coin world (Originally recorded LIVE to Facebook):

Other High lights from the World Money Fair:

The Kruggerrand 50th Anniversary
On July 3, 1967 the South African Mint in Pretoria issued the first Krugerrand coins. These coins could be used as circulation money; however, they did not bear a nominal value. Instead, the exchange rate at which South African banks traded Krugerrand coins was fixed daily, according to the price of gold. So, from the start the Krugerrand was conceived as a bullion coin of changing value (Click here to read more).

Rhys Williams- Project Manager London Mint Office

A particular highlight for me was meeting representatives from the South African Mint who I will be working with closely over the next few months as part of the 50th anniversary of the Krugerrand. I attended the launch event at the South African Embassy and also the gala dinner celebrating the South African Mint as guests of honour at the fair”- Rhys Williams, Project Manager

The World Money Fair Media Forum
"The media forum on Friday morning took place in the Estrel’s large conference auditorium, and was well attended.  It presents the Mints attending the Fair with an opportunity to showcase their forthcoming coins and new technologies. This year, the Fair was honoured to have the Finance Minister for Gibraltar who spoke at length about the new Gibraltar Sovereign, I thoroughly enjoyed this and took a lot from it" – Justin Robinson, Research & Development Manager

The World Money Fair each year jumps from strength to strength and we at the London Mint Office are overjoyed to attend each year to network with other coin lovers from around the world.

By Scott Wilson
PR, Social Media & Events Manager

For more on the London Mint Office why not check out our Instagram Account?

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

10 Facts you may not know about Sir Winston Churchill

January the 24th 2017 marks 52 years since the death of Sir Winston Churchill, the man at the helm of Great Britain during World War II. Best known for his blunt approach, cigars and world famous speeches he is certainly a character of British History. But how much do you really know about the man behind the country?

London Mint Office Churchill Remembered

1)      Churchill was very well known for smoking Cigars. So much so that he had a Cuban cigar named after him. The ‘Churchill Cigar’ is around 17.5 centimeters in length and approximately 18mm in width- It is noted that this is not for the ‘novice smoker’ lasting around 1-1.5 hours to smoke. (Agreeably only for the experienced cigar lover)

2)      Churchill was once a prisoner of war. While working as a reporter traveling through South Africa his train was ambushed by Boer soldiers. Throwing himself from the train hiding in a ditch Churchill was discovered by a Boer soldier and surrendered. The Boer soldier happened to be Louis Botha who later became the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa and actually worked with Churchill later in his career. 

3)      Churchill aside from being a leader was in fact an award winning author. Writing around 20 books during his life with a variety of subjects such as his early war years in South Africa, a controversial biography of his father (The first Duke of Marlborough) as well as numerous books on both world wars. Churchill was so renowned that he later received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values" (The Nobel Foundation, 1953)

4)      Churchill was voted out of office in 1945 after Germany had waved the white flag and surrendered during Britain’s first general election in 10 years. Churchill, a conservative, lost to the Labour party. However he was not bitter about this he merely exclaimed “That is democracy, what we have been fighting for”. 

5)      During a burglary in 1911 Churchill, home secretary, visited the scene in east London. By the time Churchill arrived on scene it was flooded with police officers (Six hours into the siege). The 2 burglars held up in a house which caught fire. Churchill blocked the fire services putting out the fire which led to the burglars meeting a fiery end, "I thought it better to let the house burn down rather than spend good British lives in rescuing those ferocious rascals,” he later went on to say. – This is one of the stories that gave Churchill his well known Blunt approach. 

6)      Churchill, the painter.- Later in life Churchill discovered a passion for Art. Creating over 600 paintings. It was his way of escaping from the pressures of politics and the war to express his emotions in a different form. – Much of his art can be found in the Churchill Museum

         Churchill - The 'Lion'
7)   The iconic image of Churchill that appears on the new banknote was taken in 1941 by Yousuf Karsh who was given just two minutes to photograph the Prime Minister.  After repeatedly asking him to put down the cigar he was smoking, Karsh stepped forward, pulled it from his mouth and immediately took the picture.  The photographer later recalled that his subject “looked so belligerent he could have devoured me”.  Later Churchill congratulated Karsh saying, “You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed.”

           8)      Churchill during his leisure time was known for wearing an infamous one piece suit. Infact it is said that during a secret Christmas visit to the White House in 1941 the white house staff had to get used to Churchill’s eccentricities. Chief Usher J.B West explained "We got used to his 'jumpsuit,' the extraordinary one-piece uniform he wore every day, but the servants never quite got over seeing him naked in his room when they'd go up to serve brandy”. The famous one-piece suit is currently on display at Blenheim Palace.
Photo From: By Morris (Sgt), War Office official photographer 

       9)      One of the first recorded uses of the abbreviation OMG (Oh My God!) was actually written in a letter to Churchill.
Photo By: Shaun Usher 
   10)      Following the death of Sir Winston Churchill on 24th January 1965, the Queen approved the production of a crown to honour his memory.  This was the first coin issued in the United Kingdom to feature the head of a non-royal on one side and the monarch on the other.

Enjoyed this article? Click Here to find out more about the >>Life & Times of Churchill <<