The Royal Mint’s headquarters in the Welsh town of Llantrisant. The historic British institution has expanded its interest in the historic market as part of a tie-up with the dealership Sovereign Rarities.

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The equity investment – the details are yet to be published – is the first of its type with a dealer in historic coins and marks the Mint’s intention to use its brand across the collecting market.

The Mint now plans to offer its customers “a wide range of historic coins across all periods of British coin production”.

A limited company

Since 2010 the venerable institution (established under Alfred the Great in 886AD) has operated as a limited company solely owned by HM Treasury.

While under contract to supply all coinage for the UK – and for other issuing authorities around the world – the Mint has launched a number of initiatives, including a bullion trading website and a visitor centre at its headquarters in Glamorgan.

Anne Jessopp, director of consumer coin at the Mint, described the Sovereign Rarities deal as a “collaboration” which “supports the strategic direction in which The Royal Mint is keen to progress”.

As well as its extensive modern commemoratives, the Mint already has a small interest in the historic coin market, but one typically confined to relatively common 19th and 20th century issues and proof sets.

The Mint says its collecting base has expressed interest in coins from a much wider period.

Jessopp said working with Sovereign offers the chance “to accelerate opportunities within this specialist area”.

The market for English hammered and milled coins has been an area of sustained strength for more than a decade with interest from the US and Japan bolstering collectors from the home nations.

Ian Goldbart, who launched Sovereign a year ago, later to be joined by a team of ex-Baldwin’s specialists, said he was approached by the Mint six months ago.

Although the terms of the five-year deal remain confidential, “our role will be as a supplier of historic English coins and provider of expertise in this area,” Goldbart said.

“It makes perfect sense for us to strengthen the tie with The Royal Mint, especially as a substantial proportion of the coins we deal with were produced there over the last 1000 years.”

He added that this was an opportunity to grow an already thriving market: “If we can convert some buyers of modern issues into true collectors, then that is our mission.”