The Royal Mint has reported a profit of £11.4 million this year through the end of March, dwarfing the £6.7 million in profits collected during the same period last year. The increase has been credited to a boost in commemorative coin sales and new cost-saving measures that have seen cupro-nickel 5- and 10-pence coins replaced by “aRMour nickel-plated steel equivalents,” according to the Guardian.
Commemorative coins—which had been issued to celebrate everything from the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta to Prince George of Cambridge’s second birthday–have proliferated in a series of diverse issues that have seen brisk sales. At the start of the year, a £100 silver coin bearing an image of Big Ben sold out its 50,000 piece mintage in under a week.
After paying the government its yearly dividend of £4 million, profits go back into the mint, in part to subsidize the development of new designs and production techniques. One such innovation is a new twelve-sided pound coin, scheduled for circulation in 2017, which was engineered in part to discourage counterfeiters.
Last year, the mint made 2.4 billion coins intended for UK banks and the Post Office; it also supplied twenty-nine other countries with 2.2 billion coins and blanks. The Royal Mint has made coins for more than a millennium and is the U.K.’s oldest manufacturer.