Review of the London Mint Office
The first thing you’ll notice when opening the London Mint Office website is the regal blue and white colouring and the very official looking heraldic crest above the company name. The about us section describes the company as being partners with a number of national mints around the world, including Britain’s Royal Mint (although in its list of partners it does not include the Royal Mint).
What the company certainly does is offer buyers another way to purchase many coins and collectible items.
Buying from London Mint Office
Buying from the company is easy, and can be completed either online or over the phone.
The online process is similar to shopping at Amazon, adding items to your cart and then completing card details, which are also necessary if ordering by phone, of course.
There are various standard terms and conditions, but also the buyer benefits from a 14 day money back guarantee if not satisfied with the product (but be warned, it must be in mint condition for the refund to be made, and then the refund does not include postal costs).
Keeping customers informed
When you sign up as a customer of the London Mint Office, you will begin to receive emails or letters, or both, to keep you informed as to latest issues of coins and other information that collectors will find interesting.
Customers can also pre-reserve new issues without the obligation to buy, and will receive free stuff with almost every purchase, a sort of promotional give away.
Persuading you to collect
The London Mint Office is a business, and its business is to sell. The company places great emphasis on its customers building collections, and offers various programs to entice you to do so. The freebies mentioned above are part of that process, but like other similar companies it will offer you monthly payment plans, and collection processes through which you receive one item per month, perhaps for years on end!
On the upside, each item it sends you will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, and marketing material for the next hot collection.
In fact, almost all of the company’s offerings are part of a collection. You apply to buy one coin, and the small print says that ‘if you are successful in your application’ then you’ll receive the remainder of the series, usually one each month until you have the whole set, and always at a ‘regular release price’ above the price of the first coin you bought. Of course, these will be sent ‘on approval’, but how many people will send them back within the fourteen day period, especially when they are accompanied by marketing materials telling you how much more valuable the individual coins will be as part of a whole collection.
The bottom line
All communication from the London Mint Office is accompanied by letterheads and envelopes with very official looking heraldic crested stamps. These make it appear as if the company is part of the structure of the Royal Minting process, but it is not. It is a private company that survives by making a profit. And much of that profit is made by selling a loss leading item ahead of receiving premium prices on its ‘collections’. The company uses deliberate marketing wording to promote itself and its products as ‘official’.
Its product range is not large, but almost everyone has a collection behind it or will usher an offer of further ‘special’ offers when you receive the item you have bought. The company also offer for sale coins that are ‘gold layered’.
Perhaps the company’s parent gives the biggest clue as to the nature of its business, for the London Mint Office is the trading name of The Crown Collections Limited.
Conducting a search of the internet throws up some question marks about the trading practices of the London Mint Office, many of which I have highlighted here. At the end of the day, the choice of dealer comes down to price and service. If you see an item you want to buy on the London Mint Office site, and are happy with the price it is offered at (having checked other dealers’ prices first, of course), then you may wish to go ahead and make that purchase. But don’t be surprised if the company become your best pen pal and send you a regular marketing letter and/ or email.
The London Mint Office Video: