Newsletter 3, November 2012
Dear Madam, dear Sir,
Time is running fast! In a few months we will meet at the 42nd World Money Fair in Berlin. We are very happy to see such a great interest and so many registrations. At this point, it is clear that the next World Money Fair will again be an ultimate numismatic event, unmatched in its diversity and internationality on a worldwide scale.
All the more, we are pleased to let you know a little more about next year's guest of honor. There is so much to tell about the Monnaie de Paris that we will also dedicate the fourth of our newsletters to a presentation of the French mint and its manifold activities.
The fair awaits you with a tightly packed program of activities, a lot of interesting conferences and meetings and a crowd of enthusiastic visitors. We will continue to keep you informed by our newsletter service in the coming weeks and look very forward to welcoming you back to Berlin.
The organization team of
World Money Fair
Guest of Honor at the World Money Fair 2013 in Berlin
A. M. Beck reporting from Paris and Pessac
The building of Monnaie de Paris on 11, Quai de Conti in Paris
For many years now, it has been a tradition that one country is invited to the World Money Fair as guest of honor. In 2013 this honor falls to France, chosen as special guest for the second time since 1998. The Grand Nation will be represented in Berlin by the French state mint “La Monnaie de Paris", one of the leading mints in the world with facilities at Paris and Pessac (Gironde). The mint makes coinage not only for France but for many countries throughout the world. At the head of Monnaie de Paris is Christophe Beaux, president and CEO since April, 2007.
About the History of Monnaie de Paris
Founded in 864, in Carolingian times, the Monnaie de Paris – one of the oldest French institutions – looks back on 1,200 years of history. Back then, it was Charles the Bald who centralized coin making at the royal court in Paris. In 1358 the structure of the mint, which would last for four centuries, was established, divided into a regulatory administration on the one hand and minters' workshops controlled by the state on the other hand. The first French medals were struck at the Monnaie de Moulin, next to Pont Neuf, in 1585. The present mint, located in the 6th district at 11, Quai de Conti, – formerly called Hôtel des Monnaies – was built by the architect Jacques-Denis Antoine.
Since 1879 it is regulated by law that the right of minting rests exclusively with the French State itself. Since 2007 the French state mint has been organized as a so-called EPIC (établissement public à caractère industriel et commercial).
Paris and Pessac
The company is based in two locations, its headquarters in Paris and a second facility in Pessac in the Gironde department. A staff of 300 is employed in Paris where coins and medallions in precious metals, such as gold and silver, are made, as well as military orders, medals and decorations. Another 200 employees work in Pessac where the euro coins and circulation coin for other countries are produced. Together, both mints have a daily output of about 9 million coins. The annual statistics contain impressive numbers. 36.5 tons of silver are processed each year. An annual average of 3.1 million coins of the “Euros of the Regions” series are minted here. 1.5 trillion circulation coins, 120,000 gold coins and 100,000 medals are made each year. The company salerooms receive around 200,000 annual visitors. However, the museum shop at Quai de Conti, which normally has about 200,000 customers per year, is closed at present due to the reconstruction works at the mint. In addition, the Monnaie de Paris boasts 36,000 fans on Facebook and about 3,000 press publications per year.
The Monnaie de Paris –
Center of the French Art of Coin Making
The inner courtyard at Quai de Conti
The building on 11, Quai de Conti, in Paris, home of the head office, is the cultural centerpiece of the French state mint.
Besides the workshops where commemorative coins and medals, jewelry and art objects are made, the mint's coin cabinet and the salerooms are located here.
Unfortunately, the coin cabinet is not open to the public while construction is going on. It holds a collection of around 30,000 coins documenting mainly French numismatic history from the 11th century to present times, among them many rarities, such as the ½ écu de Sully, proof coinage from the reigns of Louis XIII and XIV, Piedfort pieces (double thickness) from French Renaissance, etc.
A view of the cabinet of dies
As a supplement to the coin cabinet, the mint owns a unique and superb collection of about 130,000 original dies and die models of 75,000 medals from the 19th and 20th century, dies of 30,000 coins from 120 countries, and 21,000 historical and modern coin dies from the 16th century to the present day – all of them bearing witness to French minting history. The cabinet of dies moved from Paris to Pessac some years ago, because in the Paris mint the collection was kept in cellar rooms below the water table, putting at risk appropriate storage.
Experts at work
On a tour of the research & design department and the production halls one can witness outstanding craftsmanship. Latest technological innovations and a manufacturing process meeting highest ISO standards ensure that the products come up to the expectations of collectors and requirements of customers.
To give an example, cutting-edge technology today allows the production of gold coins ranging between a weight of 0.5 gram and a face value of € 5 and a weight of 1 kilo and a face value of € 5,000.
Another innovation is the “Microtext” technology used in the making of the 2 € “Abbé Pierre” commemorative coin, issued on occasion of the priest’s 100th anniversary in July 2012.
The Monnaie de Paris makes a point of its commitment to culture by cooperating on a regular basis with international designers, artists and consultants, such as Philippe Starck, Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Lacroix. Small and splendid works of arts are proof of the immense variety of products supplied by Monnaie de Paris, for example, the design by Karl Lagerfeld created to celebrate the 125th anniversary of fashion designer Coco Chanel.
The Second Location of Monnaie de Paris in Pessac
The euro coins and circulation coins for other countries are minted at the second location of the mint, at the facilities in Pessac (Gironde).
The branch of the French state mint in Pessac has been in operation since 1973. One-fourth of the 1.5 billion coins manufactured at Pessac account for currency ordered by other countries. The technical equipment of the minting machinery is constantly being adapted to the highest standards and latest developments. The factory at Pessac is one of the few companies in the minting industry worldwide to have achieved triple ISO certification – the so-called QSE (quality-safety-environment) certificate.