Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Royal Mint Refinery

The Royal Mint Refinery
Nathan Rothschild began to deal in bullion from 1809 and his successors retained a close involvement with many aspects of this precious commodity, receiving gold dust from agents in California and Australia, securing rights over the Spanish quicksilver mine in Almadén (in order to sell the quicksilver to refiners of gold and silver bullion) and in 1852, taking over the lease of the Royal Mint Refinery in the East End of London. The Refinery business was sold to Engelhards in 1967, at which point many of its records were destroyed but enough survive to make a study of the history of the business a potentially rewarding project.
NMR acquired the lease of the Royal Mint Refinery in 1852 at a significant time when gold had recently been discovered in California and Australia. The first manager, a Frenchman, Michel Poisat, was recommended to Sir Anthony de Rothschild by his brother Nathaniel who was based in Paris. Poisat had been associated with the French Rothschilds in a refinery business in Paris and he supervised the recruitment, in France, of workers for the London business. To accommodate the influx of workers, Sir Anthony arranged for the construction of labourers' cottages on the refinery premises, near to the Royal Mint in London's East End. Over the following century the Royal Mint Refinery diversified to deal with a range of metals from bars of silver to copper foil. The enterprise was sold to Engelhard Industries Limited in 1967.
Strangely, we had never consciously noticed before October 2005, that the initials on Rothschild gold bars were RMR (or R.M.R.), rather lazily assuming they said NMR (or N.M.R.), after the initials of the London Branch of the Rothschilds empire, in turn named after Nathan Meyer Rothschild, the founder of the branch. We only became aware of this fact when we noticed an offer on eBay which stated this.

We show the front of a Rothschild 50 gram gold bar, the most popular size of Rothschild bar, other sizes exist, but we only see them occasionally, and they are similar in design. The reverse of Rothschild bars do not always have the same stamps as shown in our photograph.
At last we have managed to source a small number of the elusive 100 gram bars, and have added them to our photograph gallery. Interestingly some have a Samuel Montagu stamp on the reverse, presumably because Montagu produced them under contract for Rothschild.

One Kilo Rothschild Gold Bars
We have at last managed to source one of these, and have added its photograph. We hope this will be the first of many. We have now created a separate page for it.

One Ounce
On the last day of April 2008, we got an excited telephone call from one of our international contacts, who had come across a quantity of one ounce Rothschild gold bars. He had never seen these before, and neither had we. As we write this, we have bought them, and are waiting to get to see them.

The approximate dimensions of Rothschild bars in millimetres and inches respectively, are:-
Weight Length Width Depth
1 Kilogram 116 mms
4.1" 51 mms
2.0" 8 mms
100 Gram 33 mms
1.7" 22 mms
.9" 6 mms
10 Tola 24 mms
1" 24 mms
1" 6 mms
5 Tola 24 mms
1" 24 mms
1" 5.3 mms
50 Gram 24 mms
1" 24 mms
1" 5 mms
1 Ounce 25.5 mms
1.05" 25.5 mms
1.05" 4.2 mms

Gold Bar Prices & Availability
These prices are semi-fixed, but we do reserve the right to change them without notice in the event of major bullion price changes. The $ prices are subject to exchange rate fluctuations.
Grams Description Availability Price £ Price $
1,000 Rothschilds Yes See Page See Page
1,000 Rothschild Mocatta Goldsmid See Page See Page See Page
116.6 10 Tola Rothschilds No £ $
100 Rothschilds Ask £1,545 $3,090
100 Rothschilds with Montagu Reverse Ask £Ask $Ask
58.3 5 Tola Rothschilds Yes £1,195 $2,390
50 Rothschilds Yes £845 $1,690
31.1 One Ounce Rothschilds - First Banking Corporation Tangier Yes £650 $1,295

Rothschilds Quit Gold Market & London Fix
The London Gold Fix has been a regular feature of the international gold market since Friday, September 12, 1919, when the five gold pool members met for the first time, at the premises of the London merchant bank N.M. Rothschild, and with Rothschild as the chairman.
On April 8th 2004, N.M. Rothschild announced that it was withdrawing from the gold market.
On the morning of Monday 5th May 2004, gold was fixed as usual, but by a telephone conference between three market member in London and one in Paris.
Brief History of Rothschild as London Bullion Market Member

1809 - Established in New Court, St Swithin's Lane by Nathan Mayer Rothschild
1836 became N M Rothschild & Sons on the death of Nathan Mayer
1840 Became bullion broker to the Bank of England
1852 Took the lease of the Royal Mint Refinery
1919 Became permanent chairman of the Gold Fixing on its establishment
1970 Incorporated as N M Rothschild & Sons Limited
Rothschild Gold Bars
We sell Rothschild gold bars, when we can get them. The withdrawal of Rothschild from the gold market has intensified interest from collectors of their bars.

AIG International Limited Quit Gold Market & London Fix
AIG International Limited, part of American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG - News), will no longer be a London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) market maker in gold and silver, the LBMA said on Tuesday 1st June 2004. They will remain as members, and requested the reclassification.
This follows shortly after N.M. Rothschild withdrew as market makers and member of the gold fixing, and leaves eight market makers.
Then There Were Eight
The remaining market makers include members of the London gold fix -- which sets the price of the metal twice daily -- the Bank of NovaScotia, Deutsche Bank AG (XETRA:DBKGN.DE - News), HSBC Bank (NYSE:HBA_pe - News) USA and Societe Generale (Paris:SOGN.PA - News). Barclays Capital will be the fifth fixing member as it purchased Rothschild's seat earlier this week.
The non-fixing market makers are J. Aron, a unit of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS - News), J.P. Morgan, and UBS.

London gold fix prices can be found on the site of the LBMA, the London Bullion Market Association.


  1. Great blog, just great. Can I buy on of the 50g square bars from you? Pretty please?!

    - S.T.

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