LONDON — The rise of Donald Trump, Brexit and political shocks has driven demand for gold bullion from the “person in the street,” the chief of the UK’s Royal Mint said.
“We’ve definitely seen more activity in gold” following an increase in political uncertainty in the past year, Adam Lawrence, the chief executive of the Royal Mint, said in an interview with Business Insider in London.
“Gold is seen as a safe haven and what we’ve tried to do with gold bullion is make it accessible. We’ve made it easier for the person in the street to invest in real gold.”
Gold broke above the $1,200 in trading on Tuesday, spurred on by President Donald Trump’s volatile first 10 days in power, which culminated in the firing of acting US Attorney General Sally Yates after she defied him on his controversial executive order on immigrants and refugees.
Spontaneous protests broke out in London on Monday evening to protest the order, while large demonstrations have also appeared all over the US.
Lawrence was at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London to attend the Trial of the Pyx, a near-800 year old ceremony to test Britain’s coinage. Coins are weighed and tested by a jury for imperfections and impurities in the metals used to make them, to confirm their value.
A sample of all the coins made by the Royal Mint are tried in this way — from a 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.
“Samples of the coin have been out for a couple of years now, so that vending machine companies and others can get prepared,” Andrews said. “We’ve also got to make sure there’s nothing out there like it in other countries that can be used to substitute for it.”
The coin has 12 sides in honour of the old thrupenny bit, the first coin that the Queen appeared on. “We’ve got to make 1.5 billion of them.” Andrews said. “We’ve made 600 million already, so we’re doing alright.”