Privately vs. Publicly Owned Mints

Ideally, mints are government owned and operated. However, not every country can do this because of economic reasons. In this situation, governments may contract with private companies to produce coins and paper money. A country may also contract with another country to use their minting facilities.

Matthew Boulton was an owner of a private mint in the 1700s in England. Once, he even tried to convince the U.S. into using his mint to produce U.S. coins, instead of using the U.S.’s publicly owned mint. The government rejected this offer, though they did purchase some coinage blanks from Boulton that were used to produce U.S. coins. One example of a private mint was owned by Matthew Boulton in eighteenth-century England.

In more modern times, the most well-known, privately owned mint is the UK’s Pobjoy Mint. This mint competes with other publicly owned mints for contracts from other countries.

Both publicly and privately owned mints are in competition for coin striking contracts. The nation that needs coins made sets their design, metal content, diameter, weight, magnetism and the number of coins it requires. The contract is normally awarded to the lowest bidder. However, some government mints make coins only for their owner nations and do not bid on outside projects.