Gold rush and demand for David Bowie coins boosts Royal Mint

A rush to invest in gold and silver and demand for commemorative coins honouring the likes of David Bowie has helped the Royal Mint return to annual profit.

The Government-owned coin-maker revealed it swung to a £12.4 million pre-tax profit in the year to March 31, against losses of £200,000 the previous year as investors piled into precious metals amid the pandemic.

The mint said its consumer division notched up a record performance, with earnings soaring to £12.7 million from £1.1 million in 2019-20 after revenues nearly doubled to £1.1 billion.

The 1,100-year-old group, which makes coins for the UK and countries worldwide and also offers investment products, said sales of gold and silver doubled while demand for its new digital savings platforms jumped.

These were popular with millennial investors in particular, with a 430% increase in those investing in its online DigiGold platform as commodity prices raced higher.

Investors flocked to safe haven assets such as gold as the pandemic struck and stock markets tumbled.

The Royal Mint, which is based outside Cardiff, said it attracted more than 25,000 new customers over the year, taking advantage of the boom in demand to grow its market share.

It also thanked strong sales of its historic coins and exclusive pieces, with a popular culture series featuring music superstars David Bowie and Sir Elton John leading to record international sales, particularly in the US and Asia.

Others in high demand included a limited edition, 9.5kg gold coin marking the Queen’s 95th birthday and a Great Engravers series, which sold out in half an hour.

Royal Mint chief executive Anne Jessopp said: “As spending habits change, we set out to reinvent the Royal Mint and secure our long-term future as a British maker.

“By purposefully expanding into areas which complement our heritage, we have been able to attract thousands of customers to precious metals, showcase British craftsmanship and achieve record revenues.

“We might be 1,100 years old, but we are firmly focused on the future.”