LONDON — One of the world’s oldest judicial events is takes in a quiet corner of central London.
The Trial of the Pyx, a near-800-year old ceremony to count coins and verify Britain’s currency, go under way at the Goldsmiths’ Hall.
The process, which takes months and involves the counting of nearly 40,000 coins produced by the Royal Mint, dates back to the reign of Henry III.
A sample of all the coins made by the Royal Mint are tried in this way — from a £49,995 commemorative coin made from a kilo of solid gold, down to the lowly 20p piece.
One of the new attractions for the Trial this year was the new £1 coin, which has 12 sides and will be released to the public later this year. It is considered to be the most secure coin ever developed.
It is a trial by 16-jurors of the coinage to ensure that the country’s metal money is the correct weight, size and composition, and it features all the pomp and circumstance you might expect from a tradition that has taken place every year since the 13th century.
Take a look inside the ceremony:
The ceremony takes place in the opulent Goldsmiths' Hall in the City of London. Members of the public and invited dignitaries are sat on one side of the room. The Queen's Remembrancer, a judge, sits at the head of the table to give her address and start the trial. She is not actually present when counting process happens.
The Pyx are reinforced boxes of currency ready to be assayed or tested. The word Pyx comes from the Greek for wooden box. In them are hundreds of envelopes containing thousands of coins.
This is the 16-strong jury. They are members of the Goldsmiths' guild. The wardens get to wear special robes. They have small white bibles, which they must swear on before the trial begins. You can see the two counting bowls. With more than 35,000 coins to count, a lot of the work is done behind the scenes by machines.
The big stars at this year's trial are the new 12-sided £1 coins, which will enter circulation in March. The coins are the most secure in the world, according to the Mint.
The most valuable coin is this one-kilo Lunar Year of the Monkey gold coin, which retails for £49,995.
This is the coin to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday. It's also made from one kilo of solid gold and costs £42,500.
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