On one of my visits to the Bank of England's museum, there was a fellow making souvenir (i.e. obviously fake) coins using a hammer and die. He would put an aluminium coin blank on the lower half of the die, set the top half of the die onto the blank and bang it with a hammer. He'd then give the coin to one of the tourists who were watching him. At one point, he told one of the tourists "I make all of the coins that the Bank of England makes". The tourist's reaction was initially one of surprise and then consternation. She then dug a pound coin out of her purse and said "You didn't make this coin!" The fellow making coins then responded "Of course not. That coin was made by the Royal Mint."

The Bank of England produces all of Britain's bank notes (i.e. paper currency). The coins are produced by the Royal Mint. The fellow was telling the truth - he makes all of the coins that the Bank of England makes.

The museum at the Bank of England is worth a visit if you're interested in the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street's history or what it does today. Here's a partial list of exhibits:

  • a bar of gold that you can pick up (it is in a rather solid looking lucite case that you reach your hand into so don't plan on taking it home with you)
  • many examples of English currency, some dating back a couple hundred years
  • examples of counterfeit currency
  • a fascinating history of the Bank
  • a good section on how the plates which are used to print currency are made
The entrance to the museum is somewhat hidden around on the east side of the building on Bartholomew Lane (i.e. you don't enter via the Threadneedle Street entrance).

There's an ancient Roman-era tile mosaic in the basement of the Bank. As far as I know, it is permanently covered to preserve it and, even if it were visible, it isn't in an area of the bank that the public is ever likely to see.

P.S. A walk around the Bank's building (it occupies an entire block) will quickly convince you that there isn't much point in trying to steal the gold that they (supposedly) keep in the basement. I was also told, by someone who seemed to have relevant personal experience, that loitering around the bank in the wee hours of the morning is an excellent way to get a chance to meet the local authorities . . .