Copper Coins

James Snowdome made this Freedom of Information request to Royal Mint

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Royal Mint.

James Snowdome

Dear Sir or Madam,

How much does it currently cost each year to mint new copper coins and keep the current coins in circulation?

Has a cost/benefit analysis been done with respect to phasing out copper coins and instead operate a "rounding system" where amounts are rounded up or down to the nearest 5p as used in Australia and New Zealand?

If one has what were its conclusions?

Yours faithfully,


Joseph Payne,

Dear Mr Snowdome

Thank you for your e-mail of 24 June in which you ask a number of questions under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (???the Act???).

We have now considered your request:

We are not prepared to supply information about the cost of producing each denomination of the United Kingdom coinage. In coming to this conclusion we have weighed the public interest considerations of releasing or withholding the information. There is a public interest in openness and transparency. There is also a public interest in protecting the commercial interests of the Royal Mint which would be seriously prejudiced if this information was provided. Our conclusion, on balance, is that it is not in the public interest to release this information and accordingly your request is refused in accordance with the exemption under Section 43 of the Act. In accordance with other provisions of the Act, you have a right to appeal against this decision and, in the event that you should decide to do so, you should address your appeal in the first instance to our Head of Corporate Affairs at the above address.

I can tell you, however, that the Royal Mint supplies the United Kingdom coinage to HM Treasury under a service level agreement. Although the specific prices charged for individual denominations are considered commercially sensitive, the overall costs of supplying the coinage are already in the public domain. They are detailed in the Treasury???s Annual Report and Accounts. In particular, I would refer you to pages 92 and 150 of their 2006-07 Accounts which can be found on their website at:

We are not aware of any cost/benefit analysis having been undertaken with respect to phasing out 1p and 2p coins and instead operating a ???rounding system??? similar to that used in Australia or New Zealand. I note, however, that the Australian 1c coin is very approximately equivalent to 0.5p and that our half pence coin was withdrawn from circulation in 1984.

Yours sincerely

Joseph Payne
Assistant Curator
The Royal Mint

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