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Soho Mint - A World First!

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Obverse of the ‘Powers of Soho Mint’ Medallion

designed to refute the claims by Jean-Pierre Droz that the

performance of Soho Mint was a result of his inventions

'Our' Matthew Boulton, the second of that name in line, was a complex man who, if he had not been an industrialist, would have been considered to be very much a Renaissance Man. Interested in many and varied processes and techniques, he was the friend and colleague of some of the Eighteenth Century's greatest innovators. The main milestones in his career are tabulated in a Timeline.


Our first paper considers Matthew Boulton in the light of his numismatic achievements. 'Who Was Matthew Boulton? And Why Should We Care?' is by Dr Richard G Doty, author of the standard work 'The Soho Mint and the Industrialisation of Money.' It traces the intellectual development of industrial money, and why the modern world should be grateful for Boulton's innovations.


Only a month after Boulton's death, his partner James Watt put pen to paper to record his impressions of the great man. Modern research suggests that in some instances Watt's memory wasn't as good as it might have been, or perhaps that the wish was father to the thought. However, the ‘Memorandum Concerning Mr Boulton’ is the text that appeared at the time.


Boulton was in many ways both a product of his time, and in advance of it. Paternalistic, yet the originator of a scheme of social insurance which was an example not built on for more than a hundred years. See the terms and conditions of the Soho Insurance Society.


One of the principal reasons which Matthew Boulton advanced to persuade the British Government to award the contract for regal copper coinage to Soho Mint was the inimitable quality of its products. We can but imagine the chagrin felt by Boulton when, only a matter of weeks after the appearance of the Cartwheel coins, competent forgeries began to appear. Not withstanding his seventy years, Sheriff Boulton was on the case. This is his own account, sent to the Government in January 1799.


Soho was the depositary for a considerable stock of precious metals and moneys, at various times, yet there do not seem to be many recorded attempts at organised theft. There was one, however, when a group of malefactors planned to steal the Soho employees’ Christmas Bonuses...but they were foiled by an honest watchman and a posse organised by Mr Boulton himself.

Man Timeline
Who Was Boulton?
Watt On Boulton
The Insurance Society
Apprehending Forgers
Man Timeline Who Was Boulton? Watt On Boulton The Insurance Society Mr Boulton's Dinner 1791 Sheriff Boulton
From this page..
To read various accounts 
of Boulton the Man, choose
from the papers below:
Apprehending Burglars