Today, Tuesday 31 January, more than 34,000 coins produced by the Royal Mint in 2016 will scrutinized by a jury at Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London.
Last year we saw some remarkable items, including a 1kg gold coin commemorating the Queen as the longest reigning monarch. More exceptional pieces are set to be examined today including the new 12-sided £1 coin, which will enter circulation in March.
In the next phase of the Trial, randomly selected samples of coins are sent to us for analysis. As the UK’s longest established Assay Office our history correlates with that of the Royal Mint. (In the 13th century, the Trial of the Pyx had begun to take the form that we know today. Early trials were held first in Westminster Hall and later in the Exchequer at Westminster. The 1870 Coinage Act, established Goldsmiths' Hall as the new venue for the Trial. This made good sense as The Goldsmiths' Company Assay Office was also located in the Hall, as it is today.)
Over the next few weeks, the coins will be assayed (tested for correct metallic composition, size and weight) and measured using the standard Trial Plates, provided by the National Measurement and Regulation Office.
The final phase of the Trial, the Delivery of the Verdicts, takes place on Friday 28 April 2017. The Court reconvenes at Goldsmiths’ Hall and the jury delivers its verdicts to the Queen’s Remembrancer in the presence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is technically on trial in his capacity as Master of the Mint.