Isaac Newton was appointed as the warden of the Royal Mint in 1696. He received the position on the recommendation of Charles Montague, a well-known politician of the time. The prestigious post was intended as a reward for Newton’s scientific achievements.

Newton took up the position at a crucial time as England was in the process of changing its silver coinage prevalent from the time of Elizabeth I. As these coins had a smooth edge, people could easily clip small amounts of silver from them and still use the same coin. Making counterfeit coins was also a common occurrence. Newton took a firm stance on counterfeiting. He cracked down on the group of thieves known as clippers who clipped off small pieces of coins, melted down the metal and extracted the silver.

Under Newton’s wardenship, auxiliary mints were set up on different parts of the country. He supervised the processing of new coins and its distribution to various banks across the country. Newton was so successful that in 1699, within 3 years of his appointment, he was made the Master of the Royal Mint.

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