A site visit to the Mint of Poland

28 january 2020

Only a few have witnessed the process of minting. Among those lucky ones are 35 students of Jozef Poniatowski’s Fifth Secondary Comprehensive School in Warsaw, who had the opportunity to visit the Mint of Poland. What the students found particularly surprising was that the special minting press could mint as many as 15 coins per minute. Read on to see what else they learned during the visit.

Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced in the world, Mint of Poland produces not only round coins but also rectangular, square, or even spatial pieces. Few know we are the trendsetter of the latter and can make such shapes as a cylinder, a cube, a pyramid, an egg, or a volcano. The high schoolers also learned about the production of state seals, government’s insignia or commemorative medals. What captured their imagination, however, were the coins, which raised a lot of questions. Here are the most interesting queries along with the answers.

Why does the Mint of Poland produces the circulation coins for other countries?

Not every country in the world has its own mint, which means that for some cooperation with foreign entities is just necessary. However, only selected mints can submit a tender. Mint of Poland is among them because we can produce coins using every technology available now on the market. So far it has carried out contracts to mint the circulation coins e.g. central banks of Colombia, Dominican Republic, Georgia, Guatemala, Bolivia, Paraguay, Lebanon, Albania, Costa Rica, and Thailand. 

Can you pay with a collector coin?

The collector coin is a legal means of payment, but it’s important to remember that the coin’s value lies not only in its denomination, but also e.g. in the metal of which it is made. The total value of a collector coin is higher than what the issuer has declared.

How is the price of a collector coin determined?

The price of a collector coin is determined by the metal of which it is made (the stamp indicates the fineness of the coin, i.e. the weight of fine metal within), the mintage (the smaller the mintage, the higher the value), year of the issue. Sometimes the coin’s value is boosted by the market trends.

The collectors particularly value the so-called error coins, i.e. coins with a mint-made error. The most expensive one so far has been sold for USD 3.8 million.

What’s the difference between a coin and a numismatic item?

Numismatic item is only a collectible. It possesses neither denomination nor the issuer’s emblem, as these are the features of a coin that is a legal means of payment.

What are PLN 2 and PLN 5 coins made of?

PLN 2 and PLN 5 coins are bimetallic, which means that they are very hard to counterfeit. The silver part is made of cupronickel, i.e. an alloy of copper and nickel, the golden one is made using aluminum bronze.

Why is it more profitable to invest in gold coins or gold bars instead of gold jewelry?

The key difference that influences the value of the bullion coins and jewelry is fineness, i.e. the content of pure gold. Jewelry is made of alloys of gold and base metals and it has usually .333 fineness, which means that it contains 33.3% gold. Moreover, jewelry’s price also includes the cost of the jeweler’s labor, which has no value from the investor’s point of view. That’s why it is less profitable to sell jewelry.