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Age-Old Annual Tradition Dating Back to the 12th Century Makes a Return with a Rare Addition to Celebrate the Reign of King Charles III.
The oldest judicial process in the UK, the Trial of the Pyx, returned this year with a rare addition to mark the reign of King Charles III. The trial, which has been in place since the 12th century, involves officials from the Royal Mint bringing nearly 10,000 coins to be counted and weighed at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London. The coins must pass strict standards set by the trial to ensure the quality and uniformity of the coinage produced by the Royal Mint and to maintain consumer confidence.
This year, for the first time in 70 years, the collection includes coins with two monarchs’ heads, representing the transition from the late Queen to King Charles. Additionally, a 15kg solid gold coin, the largest ever made, has been included in this year’s selection. Throughout the year, coins are randomly selected and sealed in Pyx boxes for the testing ceremony, which is conducted by the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office. The office tests the purity of the precious metal, weight, and diameter of certain denominations, with a jury consisting of at least six members of the Goldsmiths’ Company.
The jury has the power to take action against the master of the mint, currently held by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, if the trial determines the coinage to be faulty. If the trial finds the coinage to be of poor quality, the chancellor may face fines, removal from the role, or even imprisonment. The last master of the mint to be penalized was Isaac Newton in 1696.
The Trial of the Pyx serves as an external assessor of the Royal Mint’s work and ensures that every coin produced meets a set of standards aimed at protecting consumers. The event, which is attended by officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, takes place at the Goldsmiths’ Company and is conducted over a period of three months. The deputy master and CEO of the Royal Mint, Anne Jessopp, emphasized the importance of the quality, accuracy, and precision of the coinage produced by the Royal Mint.