The End of Pobjoy Mint: An Interview with Taya Pobjoy

It took everyone by surprise when the British Pobjoy Mint announced in October 2023 that they would close down at the end of the year after 58 successful years in the coin market. It marked the end of an era. In this interview, Taya Pobjoy tells us why she decided to take this step rather than sell the company and its brand.

Taya Pobjoy. In the background trophies of the many achievements of the mint, such as the COTY awards. Photo: Michael Alexander, London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre.

Taya Pobjoy. In the background trophies of the many achievements of the mint, such as the COTY awards. Photo: Michael Alexander, London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre.

CoinsWeekly: Taya, you have been CEO of the widely-acclaimed Pobjoy company since 1998. Your family has been involved in the precious metal and diamond trade for more than 300 years. The British Pobjoy Mint has shaped the aesthetics of the coin trade since 1965 and coined many a new trend. Why did you decide to close down your company?

Taya Pobjoy: This has not been an easy decision for me and not one I took lightly. I first started working in the business when I was 19 years old having already participated at Numismatic Exhibitions since I was 14. What excited me most was coming up with issues that the Governments and Queen would approve which at times could be more of a challenge than actually making the coin! Over the years I believe I have managed to put a female touch on our coins especially our coloured titanium collection which I actually thought of when I was studying German in Munich as at the time there was a lot of coloured titanium jewellery about. 

The years working at the mint as Mint Director has had its challenges as when it is your own business you can never stop and despite having a family I was back at work when both my daughters were only 6 weeks old. I personally found Covid a very tough time ironically as the Mint had fantastic sales during this period but the stress of not knowing when we were allowed to work or not was difficult. Then the Queen died in September 2022 and I think this is what made me think about my life and I realised I was not enjoying my work as much and I am a big believer that to be creative you must love your work. I always said that I would retire at 60 but then one morning I just woke up and realised the time is now!

However our customers, The Coin Collector, whom we owe our success to, were my top priority here which is why it was so important for me that we closed at the end of a full year so customers could complete their collections.

CW: I was born in 1964 and have actively followed what is going on in the numismatic market since 1986. I grew up with the Pobjoy brand, and for me it has become synonymous with a very special type of coin. Pobjoy is probably among the 10 best-known private mints internationally. Its name has become a world-renowned brand! So what were the reasons that made you decide against selling this brand to another company?

Taya Pobjoy: Firstly may I thank you for your kind words. I did think about selling the brand and have obviously over the years been approached but I have always controlled the destiny of our name and what worried me is that I have watched so many companies over the years sell up and their successors have ruined their names. I decided I would prefer to leave a Pobjoy legacy that everyone remembers us hopefully as the producers of innovative and high quality coins and the family with fondness and this was more important to me than selling the brand.

CW: I saw that there will be an auction sale offering Pobjoy Mint equipment in February? Could you tell us more about it?

Taya Pobjoy: of course! I am selling all our equipment and this will be done in an auction on the 14th February! I always wanted an excuse to advertise with hearts so I thought this date for the longest female Mintmaster would be an appropriate date! If anyone wants further information on our Valentines Auction please go to this website or contact us at pobjoy.com where you can request further information.

CW: Will the end of Pobjoy Mint cause employees to lose their jobs? What are the chances of them finding new employment quickly?

Taya Pobjoy: This was another reason why I felt the time was right to close. At Pobjoy’s we are one big family and my staff have always been very supportive. They are grateful I got them through Covid and like myself over half are also due for retirement. Over the years as technology has changed and mail order became web sales our level of staff have diminished so it is only a handful who are looking for new jobs and I am trying to encourage and help them as much as I can. Hardworking loyal staff are difficult to come by in the UK so I am sure they will be snatched up fast!

CW: As a historian and numismatist, I am obviously very interested in what happens to Pobjoy Mint’s legacy in terms of scientific research. After all, Pobjoy has had a significant impact on the numismatic world since the 1970s. All the draft designs and models, the dies and patterns, the in-house coin collection and the files tell of an important chapter in our numismatic past. What about this part of Pobjoy? Are you collaborating with a museum to preserve this legacy for future generations?

Taya Pobjoy: Every coin has been itemised and digitally recorded. Once the Plant is sold that is my next task to make sure the Pobjoy legacy lives on. My husband too has resurrected the jewellery side of the business so that the name continues with Pobjoy Diamonds. Over the years I have tried to make sure that journalists like yourself have been informed of everything we have made so hopefully the publications will live on to also show our work and luckily in my generation a lot can be found on the internet.

CW: It was highly unusual for a woman to take over the leadership of a mint as you did in 1998. Did you find that it was a particular challenge for you as a woman to establish a foothold in this market?

Taya Pobjoy: When I became Mintmaster in 1998 I believe there had only ever been one other for the Canadian Mint. So not only was that a shock to the numismatic world but I was also very young to take on such an important role being only 29 which the minting world also found hard to digest. I believe my energy and creativeness however soon took over from this and Pobjoy Mint constantly having world firsts soon made them respect and be interested in my different views to the industry. The irony is, for those who know me well, that although Pobjoy is renowned for innovative coins, the ones closest to my heart are the classical designs I have made over the years.

The numismatic industry is a very unusual business and one I have thoroughly enjoyed over the 35 years I have worked in the minting world but now it is time for me to step aside hopefully for the younger generation to move numismatics into the next chapter of its history! May I take this opportunity to thank all my loyal coin collector customers for being so supportive to us over the years and making the Pobjoy name what it is today! May I also thank you for allowing me this opportunity to explain to our customers the reason I chose to close. Maybe I have lived my life back to front most have children and then have a career but now its time for me to be a Mum!

CW: I would like to talk more about being a woman in the numismatic world. I hope we will find the time to conduct a separate interview on this subject.

The interview was conducted by Ursula Kampmann.