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Pobjoy Mint Ltd.

The Pobjoy family has been associated with fine metalwork since the Middle Ages. The Company was recently granted permission to use the family Coat of Arms in which the Medieval Popinjay is the central motif. The Popinjay was a painted wooden parrot used in archery contests in the 14th century and the name Pobjoy is derived from this. The Latin motto 'OCULO CERTO' means 'with an unerring eye' and applies equally to the ancestor's prowess as a marksman, as to the Company's reputation for the high quality and precision of its products. Over the past three centuries, the Company has been involved in many diverse fields, but they have always been involved in metal, both base and precious. During World War II Pobjoy Aero Engineering was involved in the manufacturing of the famous Spitfire wings. The Company is now the largest private Mint in Europe.

For the past 50 years the Company has been deeply involved in the development and manufacture of coins, medals and tokens. The production of fraud-proof tokens for the vending machine industry calls for a higher degree of precision than the ordinary coinage and Pobjoy Mint has supplied much of this market in the United Kingdom. Since 1969, 370 million medals and tokens have been exported to the Far East and over 300 million promotional medals have been produced for many petrol stations and food stores.

The Pobjoy Mint has revived many age-old, but long-forgotten numismatic customs. At the same time, however, the Company has gained a reputation for innovation and invention. It developed the world's first satisfactory man-made precious metal, called Virenium, which has been successfully used in high denomination coinage since 1978. This was hailed worldwide as the first significant breakthrough in coinage this century. Pobjoy Mint World's Firsts:

  • First Circulating Base Metal £1 Coin - Isle of Man 1979
  • First Braille Coin - Isle of Man Year of the Disabled 1981
  • First Platinum Coin - Isle of Man Platinum Noble 1983
  • First Gold Angel - Isle of Man 1983
  • First Black Coin - Isle of Man Penny Black 1990
  • First ECU - Gibraltar Ecu 1991
  • First 1 Kilo Silver Coin – Liberia T-Rex 1993
  • First Hologram Coin - Isle of Man Noble 1996
  • First Euro - Isle of Man Euro 1996
  • First Coins with Coin - Isle of Man 10oz Cat with 1/25oz gold coins 1997
  • First Diamond Set Coin - Sierra Leone Queen Victoria 1997
  • First Gold Ring Coin - Gibraltar Wedding Coin1997
  • First Latent Image Coin - Seychelles Latent Image 1999
  • First White Gold Coin –Isle of Man Platina1999
  • First Titanium Coin –Gibraltar Millennium Time 1999
  • First Legal Tender Bullion Bar – Isle of Man Bullion Bar 1999
  • First Coin with Copper Insert – Isle of Man Own a Piece of Time 2000
  • First Blue Titanium Coin - Gibraltar Tuppenny Blue 2000
  • First pearl set coin - Isle of Man Queen Mother’s 100th Birthday 2000
  • First Tri-Metal Coin – Gibraltar 21st Century 2001
  • First Silver/Titanium Coin - Gibraltar Solar System 2001
  • First Tri-Gold Coin – Isle of Man Golden Jubilee 2002
  • First Silver/Black Coin - Isle of Man Queen Mother 2002
  • First 3 precious stone set - Gibraltar Coin Crown Jewels 2002
  • First Spinning Coin - Isle of Man Currency Converter 2002
  • First Electrum Coin - Gibraltar 2002
  • First Bi-Metal Star Coin – Gibraltar Europa & the Bull 2003
  • First Coloured 50p - Isle of Man The Snowman 2003
  • Largest Palladium Coin - Isle of Man 2004
  • First Red Titanium - British Virgin Islands Red Guiana 2004
  • World’s Largest Coin - British Virgin Islands 5 Kilo Pizarro 2004
  • First Purple & Gold Niobium Coin – Sierra Leone Pope John Paul II 2005
  • First Turquoise Titanium Coin - British Virgin Islands Inverted Swan 2005
  • First Magnetic Coin – Falkland Islands John Ross & James Clarke Ross 2006
  • First Quad Metal Coin – British Virgin Islands 2006
  • First Four Colour Titanium Coin – Isle of Man Year of Planet Earth 2008
  • First Blackened Coins with Diamonds – Sierra Leone Nocturnal Animals 2008
  • First Triangular Shaped Coins – Isle of Man Tutankhamun 2008
  • First Death Mask Shaped Coin – Isle of Man Tutankhamun 2008
  • First Coin with Sand – Isle of Man Wonders of the World 2008
  • First Silver & Crystal Coin – South Georgia Lifecyle of the Penguin 2008
  • First Two Colour Titanium Coin – British Virgin Islands Hans Christian Andersen 2010
  • World’s Highest Relief Coin – Ascension Island Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 2012
  • First Diamond Shaped Coin – Isle of Man Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 2012

    The Mint has also developed coining equipment. Apart from the circulating coinage produced on high speed presses, it has made a specialty of the deluxe pieces sought after by numismatic experts. The proof coins are individually struck by hand, at least four times each, on specially polished discs of precious metal.

    A successful achievement has been the introduction of the Noble, a Bullion coin containing one ounce of pure platinum, and the Gold Bullion Angel. The Gold Angel has already achieved the reputation of winning the 'Best Gold Coin of the World' Award in the USA and is quoted daily in the Financial Times and on the screens of Reuters. This was followed by the launch of the first Bullion Fine Gold 999.9 Manx Cat coin. Available in five Bullion Fine 999.9 Gold sizes, Proof Fine 999. Silver and Uncirculated Cupro Nickel - coloured and non-coloured, a different Cat coin is produced each year and is now over twenty-one years old.

    The Pobjoy Mint has struck commemorative and circulating coins for the Isle of Man, Ascension Islands, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bolivia, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Burundi, Cook Islands, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Gambia, Gibraltar, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Macau, Nigeria, Niue, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, St Helena, Senegal, Seychelles, Republic of Sierra Leone, Somaliland, South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands, Spain, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tokelau, Tonga, Tristan da Cunha, Uzbekistan, Western Samoa and Vanuatu.

    Many medallion issues have also been produced, notably for Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Arab States. The mint has produced over 50,000 medallions for world wide nature. In 1996 Pobjoy Mint issued the world's first hologram coin, the image is carefully struck in the coin to produce an unusual colour effect and in 1999 the World's first Titanium coin.

    In 2004 the Pobjoy Mint also became involved in the design, production and sale of new issue stamps as a natural extension of its numismatic business.

Awards

Since 1984 when the Pobjoy Mint was awarded its first Coin of the Year Award, various other awards and accolades have been bestowed upon the Mint. These include the prestigious Queen's Award for Export and in 1991 it was nominated in eight categories for the Coin of the Year Award 1990 and was extremely proud when it won four awards including the Overall Coin of the Year;

1984 COTY, Best Gold Coin, Angel, Isle of Man
1987 COTY, Best Crown, Olympic Runner, Cook Islands $50
1990 Winner of Queen's Award for Export Achievement
1990 COTY, Coin of the Year, Penny Black Crown, Isle of Man
1990 COTY, Most Innovative Coinage, Penny Black Crown, Isle of Man
1990 COTY, Most Popular Coin, Alley Cat Crown, Isle of Man
1990 COTY, Best Crown, Penny Black Crown, Isle of Man
1992 Medal of Merit - awarded to Derek Pobjoy by the Board of Governors of the American Numismatic Association for dedication and distinguished service to the ANA.
1993 COTY, Most Popular Coin, Stegosaurus Crown, Gibraltar
1993 Vreneli-Preis awarded to Derek Pobjoy by Münzen-Revue for outstanding contribution to numismatics.
1993 ANA Appreciation Award awarded to Derek Pobjoy by the American Numismatic Association for an outstanding contribution to numismatics.
1994 Children Society Award awarded to Pobjoy Mint for support and participation in the Daily Mail Le Walk Appeal.
1996 COTY, Best Contemporary Event, Peace Rose, Bosnia & Herzegovina
1997 COTY, Most Inspirational Coin, Princess Diana with Mother Teresa, Sierra Leone
1998 COTY, Most Inspirational Coin, Peace Dove, Bosnia & Herzegovina
2001 COTY, Most Inspirational Coin, Florence Nightingale Crown, Gibraltar
2002 COTY, Most Innovative Coin, Currency Converter, Isle of Man
2007 COTY, Most Innovative Coin, Centenary of the First Colour Photo, British Virgin Islands
2009 Coin Constellation, First Place Successful Artistic Solution, Sterling Silver Tutankhamun Canopic Coffinette Pyramid Coin, Isle of Man
2010 COTY Most Innovative Coin, First Place Unique Idea Solution for the Silver & Blue Crystal Life of the Turtle

The Pobjoy Mint is capable of providing a complete service to its principals; the origination of artwork and the concept of special projects, the design and manufacture, the marketing publicity, sales and distribution worldwide.

'Pobjoy, more than a Name, a Guarantee'

 

Production of Coins

Every stage of coin production, from the first rough design to the finished proof or circulating coin, is carried on at the Mint in an atmosphere of the strictest security.

Designing a Coin

  • The design for a coin may come from a photograph, a painting or even a piece of sculpture.
  • It has to be translated into a preliminary drawing in the shape of the eventual coin, together with the lettering value and symbolic elements. 
  • The finished design is sent to the government body for approval.
  • Any coin which has the Queens effigy on the obverse also has to be submitted to Her Majesty's Government and ultimately to Buckingham Palace for the Queens assent.


A sculptor preparing a plaster ready to make it into a die

 

Producing a Plaster

  • Once the designs have been approved, artists of the Sculpting Department sculpt large models from which plaster casts are taken.
  • A positive impression is taken from the master and this is then sent to the Die-cutting department.

Cutting a plaster into a die
 

Cutting a Die

  • The image is cut on a hob or master die by a steel cutter working in unison with a stylus which moves slowly over the hardened matrix, rather like the needle of a record player, but from the centre to the outer edge.
  • This process takes up to 28 hours.
  • By means of a reducing machine, the design is transferred to a hub in the correct dimensions of the eventual coin.
  • Completed hubs are examined painstakingly through a high-powered magnifier.

A Die being polished

 

Hobbing

  • The hobbing stage transfers the image from the hub to the working die.
  • A negative impression is picked up on the die, using a press applying 400 tonnes pressure per square inch.
  • After turning and milling, the soft steel die is hardened chemically and physically by heating in a special temperature controlled salt bath for about twelve hours, and then quenched in a special solution.
  • This gives the die its unique hardness and the durable qualities needed for the high pressures and the intense clarity required in the coining process.
  • The dies are then ground and polished to a mirror-like finish by hand using ground diamonds.
  • They are then ready for coining.


Preparing the press for striking

 

Coining

  • The coining metal is supplied in huge coiled strips which are cut into the required shapes by blanking presses under a pressure of 50 tonnes per square inch.
  • After cutting, the blanks are carefully checked for slivers and crescents of surplus metal, and then passed to the annealing and blanching stage, where they are washed and brought to a brilliant light lustre, suitable for coining.

 

 

Proof Coins - The History

The coins which excite the greatest interest among collectors are those prepared and struck specially in deluxe versions. In bygone times, before coins went into general production, a few strikes were made from the die at the beginning and these were preserved as proof that the dies were correctly engraved. Because greater care was taken to ensure good strikes, these proofs tended to differ to the issued coins in the clarity of the impression. From this developed the custom of striking proofs from the specially prepared dies, partly for the records and partly for presentation purposes.


A proof coin being struck

 

Proof Coins - Today

Today proof coins are struck specifically for the collector market. Special dies, often with the high-relief portions of the design frosted, are used in conjunction with blanks polished to an impeccable mirror finish using diamond paste and swansdown pads.

At the Pobjoy Mint, such coins are each struck four times to achieve the sharpest possible impression, then submitted to a microscopic inspection by highly trained staff to ensure that only examples in superlative condition are encapsulated and boxed, along with their certificates of authenticity, for sale to discerning collectors.


Uncirculated coins coming off the press

 

Circulating Coins

Circulating coins are struck to very high specifications because of the need to pass the stringent tests of vending machines and the need to stack easily. For these reasons their designs tend to be in very low relief. As examples of the actual money in use, they are not without interest to collectors which is why mints usually supply circulating coins as carefully selected specimens in year sets. Circulating coins are struck on high speed presses. The coins are then check-weighed and examined for flaws and defects. After passing this examination they are counted again and hermetically sealed in bags before final check-weighing again.