There can be few factories in the world that are littered with coins, but the Royal Mint in Wales is one of them. On the factory floor, coins have no monetary value at all; they are merely pieces of metal. However, they are very cleverly made pieces of metal: incredibly hard to copy, and with a lot of technology behind them - old and new.
In The Magic of Making Money you will see how the continuous smelting process produces an endless strip of metal from which millions of £1 coins will be struck. The metal strip is coiled up for transport around the factory. It's then unwound and pressed under rollers that bring it to precisely the right width.
Next comes the blanking press, rattling like a machine gun. Every minute it punches thousands of discs from the strip, leaving it looking like a golden web. The discs are then impressed with their heads and tails - only then can they be called coins.
Before we see the pressing, the film takes us on a tour of the creative design area. This is the place where large-scale pictures of the coin faces are drawn up and carved into blocks of plaster the size of a train wheel. The plaster blocks are oversized masters from which life-size pressing punches must be made in seriously hard metal. That's a job for an amazing contraption called a reduction machine: the first one that we see in the film is over a hundred years old!
From the master punch, a set of working dyes can be made, and it is from these that the coins will be struck. But not before the coins' edges have been patterned to discourage 'clipping' - the evil act of slicing metal from the sides, and a popular crime in the days when coins were made from gold and silver.
So making coins is not easy, which is the idea of course! And believe it or not, there are even more processes to see in the film than we have written about here!
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This film is also available on the DVD:
'The Magic of Making - Volume 2'.