Royal Mint to coin it in trinket trade

THE ROYAL Mint, charged for 1,100 years with producing the monarch's currency, is to modernise, beginning by making watches and jewellery. And managers will gain greater freedom to compete in an increasingly export-based market.

Money: Treasure in the toy chest

It's child's play making big money from those lost souls still in the attic, writes Faith Glasgow

Outlook: Body Shop

IT WAS another bad day at the office for Anita Roddick yesterday. Or at least it would have been had she been there. Ms Roddick is now co- chair of her beloved Body Shop with her husband, Gordon. Her role is more one of roving product controller than full time executive these days, heading off to Borneo to check root vegetables for life enhancing essential oils and the like. Yesterday she was more prosaically in Dublin where the Body Shop store is apparently quite nice.

Obituary: Peppermint Harris

PEPPERMINT HARRIS was best-known for his 1951 No 1 rhythm and blues hit "I Got Loaded" (covered by everyone from Elvis Costello to Los Lobos and Terry Evans, on whose 1996 recording of the tune Ry Cooder played some excellent guitar). However, Harris was not a major player.

Gardening: The four seasonings

Plant a few varieties in your garden or window box and you'll never be short of the perfect herb again. Sarah Raven explains which of the many types to grow and how best to do it

Clubs: New year's eve clubbing

If you want to know about the best New Year's Eve gigs, then check out this week's "50 Best" feature, which lists 20 of the most promising. But in a busy week in clubland, even those cannot cover all the stand- out events on offer, which include Space 1999 @ The Mint in Leeds, where you can judge if Basics still throw the best parties in the city.

Museum makes a mint out of its millennium marque

THE ENTERPRISING Old Royal Observatory and National Maritime Museum in Greenwich stand to earn millions from the millennium by selling a special 2000 marque to hundreds of companies, including champagne producers, drinks companies, jewellers and watchmakers.

A mint with a hole and rock 'n' roll

Roger Trapp finds out why a branded CD is a `cool' tool

RICHARD EHRLICH'S BEVERAGE REPORT: Great shakes

Inventing new cocktails may be an amusing challenge, but can the classics really be bettered?

Peter York on Ads: Number 238: The advert with the hole

Who among us has not experienced Polo Supermints? Who has not engaged in an animated conversation lasting, say, a full minute about the ingenious packaging: a giant Polo. Who has not remarked on the delightful product, a competitor to the Tic-Tac box. And hardly a single calorie per pack. The Polo Supermint phenomenon obviously transcends class, age and region. This is a product suitable for housewives, sportsmen, pensioners and website designers. And it's mined, of course, from a rich seam of social history: the hollow tunnel of peppermint, the mint with the hole. Why then is its advertising so conspicuously computer animated? Why then is it Intel Inside with a vengeance, and Peperami Plus? The birth of new Polo Compact is presented as one of those robotic factory nativities where the creature, once spawned, shows lots of attitude.

Letter: A Royal mint

"THE MAN in charge of changing the fat cat image of British Gas executives will become the Queen's spin doctor", you say. Second time lucky?

Letter: Mint condition

Sir: The reverse side of the new pounds 2 coin depicts a circular train of 19 gear wheels. A circular gear-train will only work if it contains an even number of wheels. An odd number will "lock up". No matter how much effort is applied at any point in the system, the result will merely be a considerable amount of stress; the output will be zero.

Travel: Where there's ducks there's brass

Roaming in the Forest of Bowland is now a more eco-friendly pursuit, thanks to a bus service for walkers. By Mike Gerrard

Brown sells state silver for pounds 12bn

A SURPRISE SALE of assets, from the Royal Mint to motorway service stations, was announced yesterday by the Chancellor to help create a pounds 30bn war chest of sweeteners for the next general election.

Two-tone pounds 2 coin arrives

THE long-delayed pounds 2 coin is to make its debut next week, after the Royal Mint finally devised an electronic "signature" that could be read by vending machines.
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