Dr Richard G Doty's The Soho Mint and the Industrialisation of Money is the first
full-length treatment of the world's pioneering industrial coiner.
The Rise of the Soho Mint coincided with the rise of the British Industrial Revolution.
The first stirrings of the new economic times created a rapidly growing need for
coinage, especially copper coinage. Counterfeiters rose to the challenge: by the
late 1780s the great majority of 'small money' in circulation was spurious. In time,
this condition might jeopardise the future of the Industrial Revolution itself: if
the wages paid were suspect, who would come to work in the new factories?
Matthew Boulton and his associates at Soho Manufactory met and defeated this threat
by creating a battery of steam-powered machines which could mass-produce unforgeable
copper coinage. The earnings of the labouring poor were safeguarded; the world's
first industrial coiner was born.
But Matthew Boulton did not stop there. He and his successors sent coins and tokens
around the world, from India to Chile, from Canada to Australia, and their activities
were soon taking a logical but crucial new path. From exporting coins, Soho would
export mints, steam-powered replicas of itself so that the rest of the world could
take advantage of Soho's new technology.
In so doing, the modern coin was created; every piece of money in our pockets and
purses bears direct testimony of the work of Matthew Boulton.
SOHO MINT AND THE INDUSTRIALISATION OF MONEY
By Dr Richard G Doty
Published 1998 Spink & Son, British Numismatic Society Special Publication.