What is a Piedfort?
Many collectors are fascinated by piedforts (pronounced pee-ay-fore), unusually thick and heavy coins that take their name from French words meaning ‘heavy weight’.
French monarchs from the 12th century are known to have bestowed treasured piedforts on visiting dignitaries. At about double the thickness and double the weight, the coins served as powerful physical reminders of the richness of the kingdom and the skill of its artisans.
French coiners also made piedforts as patterns, or trial pieces. This activity began in England under Edward I (r. 1207 – 1307), the patterns’ extraordinary thickness distinguishing them as original test models. Thought to have been made in London by master engravers, they would have been distributed to regional mints common at that time where the design could be copied.
According to the Royal Mint, a sixpence of 1588 was the last English piedfort under this tradition, although they continued to be made across Europe as prestige pieces until the mid-seventeenth century.
Modern commemorative piedforts are struck for collectors, their extra thickness making them a particularly satisfying keepsake for many of those absorbed by non-circulating legal tenders issues.
How are coins coloured?
Here at The Perth Mint we’ve been colouring coins since the mid-1980s, but how do we do it? Find out here.
Why do coins have serrations (or grooves) around their edges?
To understand why many coins have edge serrations we must go back to a time before coin making-machinery was available.Source: Why do coins have serrations around their edges?
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – a celebration in coins
We have struck many coins featuring Her Majesty’s coin effigies since 1953, including many millions of pennies, halfpennies, 1 cent and 2 cent coins.