Do You Know How The UK Coins Are Made And What Are They Made of?

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The processes involved in producing a coin can be broken down into three different sections: making the blanks, making the dies and striking the coins.

Making the blanks

Depending on the alloy required, the appropriate metals are melted in the necessary proportions in a furnace. The metal is then extracted from the furnace in the form of a continuous strip, which is cut to produce coils weighing up to 2.8 tonnes. The strip is passed through powerful rolling mills to reduce it to the thickness of a coin. Blank discs of metal are then punched from the strip in a blanking press at a rate of up to 10,000 a minute. Rolling metal under great pressure makes it hard so the blanks have to be softened, something which is achieved by heating them in an annealing furnace at up to 950°C.

Making the dies

Once a design has been approved, a plaster model is prepared at several times the diameter of the intended coin. The plaster model is scanned by a ruby-tipped probe which records the design as a digital file on a computer. Guided by this digital file, an engraving machine cuts the design into a piece of steel at the correct size of the coin. Known as a reduction punch, this piece of steel is then used to make the dies which will actually strike the coins.

Striking the coins

For the final stage of the process, the blanks are fed into a coining press containing a pair of dies. Applying a pressure of around 60 tonnes, the dies strike the blanks and turn them into coins at speeds of up to 850 a minute.

= 1 penny coin =

First Issued February 15, 1971

Diameter 20.3mm

Weight 3.56g

Thickness Bronze: 1.52mm. Copper-plated steel: 1.65mm

Composition Bronze (97pc copper, 2.5pc zinc, 0.5pc tin)

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= 2 pence coin =

First Issued February 15, 1971

Diameter 25.9mm

Weight 7.12g

Thickness Bronze: 1.85mm. Copper-plated steel: 2.03mm

Composition Bronze (97pc copper, 2.5pc zinc, 0.5pc tin)

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= 5 pence coin =

First Issued Smaller version in June 1990.

Diameter 18.0mm

Weight 3.25g

Thickness 1.7mm

Composition Cupro-nickel (75pc copper, 25pc nickel)

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= 10 pence coin =

First Issued Smaller version in September 1992.

Diameter (since 1992) 24.5mm

Weight 6.5g

Thickness 1.85mm

Composition Cupro-nickel (75pc copper, 25pc nickel)

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= 20 pence coin =

First Issued June 9, 1982

Diameter 21.4mm

Weight 5g

Thickness 1.7mm

Composition Cupro-nickel (84pc copper, 16c nickel)

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= 50 pence coin =

First Issued Smaller version introduced in September 1997. Diameter (since 1997) 27.3mm

Weight 8.0g

Thickness 1.78mm

Composition Cupro-nickel (75pc copper, 25pc nickel)

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= 1 pound coin =

Issue Date April 21, 1983

Diameter 22.5mm

Weight 9.5g

Thickness 3.15mm

Composition Nickel-Brass (70pc copper, 5.5pc nickel, 24.5pc zinc)

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= 2 pound coin =

First Issued June 15, 1998

Diameter 28.4mm

Weight 12g

Thickness 2.5mm

Composition, Outer Nickel-Brass (76pc copper, 4pc nickel, 20pc zinc). Inner Cupro-nickel (75pc copper, 25pc nickel)

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= 5 pound coin =

First Issued August 4, 1990. Previously crowns had a face value of 25p

Diameter 38.61mm

Weight 28.28g

Thickness 2.89mm

Composition Cupro-nickel (75pc copper, 25pc nickel)

Collector versions have been struck in precious metals

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As an international manufacturer and supplier for copper sheet and bronze sheet, Shanghai Metal Corporation produces slitting, edging, and oscillates winding to fit your specific copper requirements. To find out more, please visit our Website or send your inquiry here. Our English speaking personnel will be more than pleased to help you. Follow us on  LinkedInTwitter, FacebookInstagram and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or you could try our new mobile app by scanning our QR code.

Sources: Royal Mint, The Telegraph, museumvictoria.com.au

William P.//SMC Editor

Read more articles by this author here.

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