The Royal Mint has roots dating back to the second century BC when coins were first struck for circulation in Britain. Although use of coins grew rapidly, the minting of them was managed locally and there was no central issuing mint. This of course resulted in divergence of form and many undesirable side effects on control and management of Britain’s currency.
It was not until 1279 that the British Mints were unified in the Tower of London. It was here, in the Tower of London, that the first pound coin was struck. Within a few short years the first fruit machine was invented and a match made in heaven was formed.
From early in George III’s reign to the mid-nineteenth century pound coins were the exclusive preserve of the wealthiest in society and a single quid was worth almost a million pence. It was not until the reorganisation of the Mint after the Napoleonic Wars that the Royal Commissioner of the Mint agreed to devalue the pound to its current value of 100 pence in the pound and this opened up the quid to humble pockets the length and breadth of the country.
The internal structure of the Mint was reorganised in 1870 to accomodate the demands of its new humble customer base and three main divisions were formed: the Mint Office, the Pocket Money Department, and the Wishing Well recovery Unit, formed by an amalgamation of the Coining and Die and Melting Departments.