Founded by Nathan Mayer Rothschild in 1811, N.M. Rothschild & Sons Limited is a British multinational investment banking company run by the Rothschild family; the seventh oldest bank in continuous operation within the United Kingdom, Rothschild Group has 57 offices across the globe. Their financial advisory division also serves the British royal family, and the chairman of the company — Sir Evelyn Rothschild — is Queen Elizabeth II’s personal financial advisor and was knighted by her for his services to the world of banking.
The company’s history can be traced back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries when Mayer Amschel Rothschild established himself as Europe’s most powerful banker in the Holy Roman Empire. He had five sons who helped him realize his ambitions of expanding the company across Europe. His third son, Nathan Mayer Rothschild, was sent to England to establish the Rothschild business. He settled in Manchester and established a finance and textile trading business, and eventually moved to London in 1811 where he established N.M. Rothschild & Sons Limited.
It is believed that much of the Crowns Gold originated in Rothschild Hands or was refined by the Rothschilds RMR. So much so that the Queen continues to use the name "Royal Mint Refinery"
The different Rothschild brothers remained close and coordinated as they continued expanding different branches of their family business across Europe. The Napoleonic Wars of the 19th century proved fundamental in cementing N.M. Rothschild & Sons Limited’s hold on wealth and finances. They funded Wellington's army and Rothschild’s contributions proved fundamental in the victory at Waterloo. Nathan Rothschild has also set up an extremely efficient courier system that enhanced cross-border communications and Nathan received news of Napoleon’s defeat even before the British government. The Rothschilds notably kept much of their wealth in gold bullion and coins to help fund wars and even bailout governments. Nathan Rothschild notably had such a large influence in the bond market that in the days leading to the British victory at waterloo he sold all his bonds to crash the market only to buy back in when word of victory raised the British bond markets days later.
Due to their influence in the war, Rothschild became the de-facto banking service for numerous European governments and royal families, their influence extending all the way to the Vatican. In 1825, Rothschild continued this streak and provided a loan that essentially prevented the Bank of England from total collapse. Nathan Rothschild passed away in 1836 but the family remained one of the most formidable forces in all of Europe. They also helped set up Europe’s railway system and were major influencers during the Industrial Revolution.
To settle a loan default, the Spanish monarchy gave the Rothschilds rights to the output of the Almadén mercury mines in south-west Spain. Mercury was an essential component in the refining of gold at the time; with the rights to these mines, the Rothschilds had a virtual global monopoly from the control over the gold refining process. The Rothschilds’ interests in refining can be traced to 1827, when James de Rothschild began operating his own refinery in Paris. Rothschild secured a lease from the government in January 1852, purchasing equipment and a premise adjacent to the Royal Mint on 19 Royal Mint Street under the name of Royal Mint Refinery. They kept this name and location for well over a century. The Royal Mint played a leading role in refining the world’s gold output and the acquisition was particularly timely as new discoveries of Californian and Australian gold brought a flood of new supplies to London in the 1850s.
In the begining of the 20th century, A perfect storm of wars calling for melting of all coinage while California, Australia, and South America all had been discovering rich amounts of gold led to the Rothschild owned RMR to benefit tremendously. By 1905 the RMR reported to refining 3.3 Million gross weight ounces of gold and that figure steadily rose to 6.8 Million annual gross weight ounces refined by the RMR. In the first year of peace, 1919, the annual refining of gold was up to 10.2 Million ounces passing through the RMR.
On September 12th,1919 the first London Gold Fix was held with the 5 largest bullion traders/refiners of the time, N.M. Rothschild & Sons, Mocatta & Goldsmid, Pixely & Abell, Samuel Monagu & Co, and Sharps Wilkins. It was from then on out the 5 members met every business day at the offices of Nathan Mayer Rothschild to fix the spot price twice a day at 10:30am & 3pm London Time.
Note in the above example not only are all 3 ingots from N.M. Rothschild and Sons but 2 of the ingots are counterstamped by the 2 other largest bullion houses at the time "Mocatta & Goldsmid" and "Samuel Montagu & Co" making this unique set as an example of 3/5 of the members of the London Gold Fix.
It wasn't until the second world war that the lines of gold import were damaged and the business started dwindling rapidly. It is known that the Rothschild family found different areas to diversity their assets at this time. By the 1960's, the Rothschild family decided the raw material business didn't make as much sense in their investment portfolio and they decided to sell the entire business to well known "Engelhard Industries" in 1967.
Unique N.M> Rothschild & Sons with Engelhard stampings present at the bottom of ingot. This 10g is significant because it is the only known example to bear both company names on the same ingot.
Rothschild had established an iron-fisted hold over Europe’s economy and finances. However, they had been unsuccessful in making headways into the United States. As such, when the US became a major world player in the 20th century, Rothschild consequently felt its position of power dwindling. They lost out to the United States during World War I and most of their assets were captured by the Nazi regime during the World War II. To protect their fortune and holdings, the family set up a Switzerland-based holding company called Rothschild Continuation Holdings, which, eventually, towards the end of the century, helped them consolidate all of the various Rothschild family interests. Rothschild tried to regain its former glory during the latter half of the century by expanding to other countries. They opened subsidiaries in Australia, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Chile, during the 1960s and 1970s. However, they were never able to recover from the major blow they had been dealt during the earlier half of the century.
N.M. Rothschild & Sons Limited today is a private limited company set up in 1970. At this juncture, leadership was taken over by Evelyn Rothschild, who continued in that position through much of the 20th century. At this time, several other family-owned financial firms were diversifying and expanding into South American markets. Evelyn Rothschild held conservative values and avoided the diversification moves. The act was initially criticized, but eventually, after the collapse of Baring and Warburgs, it turned out to have been the right decision. As such, Rothschild continued standing as the world’s last independent family-operated financial firm well into the 21st century.
In the 1990s, Rothschild made attempts to consolidate the various elements of their empire. Evelyn Rothschild tapped David de Rothschild — who, at the time, had transformed Rothschild’s French banking arm into a financial powerhouse — to become the Rothschild deputy chairman. In 1996, Rothschild restructured their empire around five primary product lines — Treasure and Resource Banking, Investment Banking, Asset Management, Development Capital, and Private Banking.
This client-intensive approach paid off and Rothschild started regaining some of its former prominence by the end of the century. They participated in important global deals such as the launch of EADS — an aerospace conglomerate made of the French, Spanish, and German aviation groups. They were also fundamental in England National Grid Group’s $8.9 billion takeover of the United States’ Niagara Mohawk Holdings. As of 2011, Rothschild ranks as the sixth biggest mergers and acquisitions adviser in the world. While their position in the US is still not very strong, they hold top league table positions across Europe.
Throughout the 19th and 20th century, Rothschild & Sons proved to be the most powerful family in the world through numerous investments, loans, real estate, and manufacturing numerous precious metals and minerals well known in the global market. Their products left from their gold empire are now considered to be rarities and collectibles due to their discontinuation. It is truly something to hold a vintage Rothschild ingot after understanding the empire that minted them.