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Coinage timeline


c. 700 – Coins first minted on the island of Aegina.
609 – 560 – Reign of Alyattes of Lydia. Minting of first coins made from electrum
600 – 300 – Dionysos appears on the coins of Naxos, Mende and various other Greek city states.
600 – 550 – The silver stater coin of Calymna in Caria depicts a tortoise shell lyre on its reverse side
546 – Persian Achaemenid kingdom adopts the Lydian bimetallic system
c. 560 – Lydian King Croesus (595-c. 546 BCE) introduces the use of gold and silver coins (bimetallic system)
c. 550 – The silver drachma of Delos depicts a lyre – symbolic of Apollo – on its reverse side.
470 – Gortyn on Crete begins to mint its own coinage.
c. 360 – Pan appears on the reverse of coins of the Arcadian League.
326 – The first Roman coins are minted at Neapolis.
c. 211 – A new system of Roman coinage is introduced which includes the silver denarius.
c. 200 – Rome now dominates the production of coinage in Italy.
c. 157 – There is a boom in the production of Roman silver coinage, in part thanks to the acquisition of silver mines in Macedonia.
c. 141 – The Roman bronze as coin is devalued so that now 16 as equal one silver denarius.
c. 135 – The Roman magistrates responsible for coinage begin to stamp coins with images of landmarks, events and personalities.
c. 100 – Coins of Kos and Thespiai depict a lyre on their reverse side.
84 – Sulla mints new silver and gold coins to pay his army.
c. 46 – Julius Caesar mints the largest quantity of gold coins ever seen in Rome.
c. 23 – The brass orichalcum sestertius is first minted in Rome.
16 – The Roman mint at Lugdunum is established.

Though there were world quality mints in Germany and France the imperial mint in Britain provides an overview of the broad trends in coinage production that have occurred in the modern era. This timeline is an adaptation of Royal Mint Timeline at


650 – Moneyers operating in London
1279 – William de Turnemire appointed master moneyer at Royal Mint, now the central mint. First groats (fourpence) struck in 1279.
c.1472 – A three-man Mint Board of Warden, Master and Comptroller established. Last seal of the Mint Corporation engraved c.1709
c.1540 – Last ecclesiastical mints closed in reign of Henry VIII. Royal Mint usually the only mint in operation.
1542-1551 – In attempt to raise money, Henry VIII and successor Edward VI debase shilling (testoon) of Henry VIII
1561 – Queen Elizabeth I visits Royal Mint on 10 July for final recoinage of the debased coins. Silver medal struck to mark occasion
1560s – Attempts by Eloy Mestrell to introduce coining machinery unsuccessful although there is a milled shilling of Elizabeth I
1601 – Portcullis money was struck for the East India Company, one of the first export orders undertaken by the Royal Mint.
1662 – Screw presses and horse-driven rolling mills installed at the Royal Mint and hand striking of coins abandoned the following year
1696 – Isaac Newton appointed Warden of the Royal Mint then, in 1699, Master, remaining in the post until his death in 1727.
1701 – Plan of Royal Mint by William Alingham shows it occupies entire area between the inner and outer walls of the Tower of London .
1770s – Extensive recoinage of gold to overcome the ‘infamous and daring Practices of Coiners, Clippers, Sweaters’. A guinea struck in 1774
1804 – New purpose-built factory on Tower Hill for steam-powered machinery.
1810 – Production begins at Tower Hill with a flow of work from melting to rolling, then blanking to coining
1815 – Campaign medals were struck for the victorious troops at Waterloo, the first time the Royal Mint had undertaken such work
1837 – Investigation of Royal Mint by Parliamentary Select Committee
1851- Administrative reform of the Royal Mint, a ‘complicated, difficult, operose, and unintelligible’ organisation to be more like a government department.
1855 – The first overseas branch of the Royal Mint opened in Sydney (1855-1926). Additional branches subsequently established in Melbourne (1872-1968), Perth (1899-1970), Ottawa (1908-1931), Bombay (1918-1919) and Pretoria (1923-1941).
1870 – Following the appointment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as ex officio Master of the Mint, day-to-day administration devolved onto the Deputy Master. Sir Charles Fremantle, Deputy Master 1868-1894 (hence Fremantle in Western Australia)
1899 – Production rises to 100 million coins a year. More than 40 million coins struck for Hong Kong in 1899
1901 – Deputy Master becomes ex officio Engraver of His Majesty’s Seals, at the Royal Mint and is responsible for the engraving of official seals including the Great Seal of the Realm of Edward VII
1917 – Four workmen were killed on 13 June when the Royal Mint hit by bomb during an air raid.
1920s – In a significant historical development the Royal Mint touts coinage orders from overseas. Silver half-roubles struck for the Soviet Union in 1924
1922 –The Royal Mint Advisory Committee established to examine new designs for coins, medals, seals and decorations
1940 – A bomb kills three staff on 8 December in main administrative building
1941 – Auxiliary mint was set up in one of the Pinewood Cinema Studios near Iver Heath in Buckinghamshire (closed in 1945)
1964 – Output exceeds 1000 million coins a year. A Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) rupee is one of more than 70 million Ceylon coins struck in 1964
1966 – On 1 March Govt announces decimal currency and 100s of millions of decimal coins struck for 1971, while retaining overseas customers, forcing the construction of a new mint.
1967 – In August work begins on new Royal Mint at Llantrisant in South Wales
1968 – On 17 December the first coins are officially struck at Llantrisant by Queen Elizabeth
1975 – The last coin, a gold sovereign, struck at Tower Hill on 10 November 1975.
1980 – Tower Hill buildings relinquished after the Royal Mint Museum collection transferred to Llantrisant.
1986 – Royal Mint celebrates 11 centuries of minting with bronze medal
2007 – Royal Mint adopts a new corporate identity
2009 – 31 December Royal Mint becomes a government-owned company with greater create commercial freedom


First published on the internet – 1 March 2019

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