industrial processes for circulating coins
ENGRAVING : The Pessac workshop consists of 4 engravers (with a further 8 in Paris), still practising the ancient techniques of direct cutting while also using the latest 3D and virtual technology. They produce «wedges», pairs of metal dies with the front of the coin on one side and the reverse on the other, with the assistance of highly-skilled professional artisans.
MINTING : This involves striking the blanks (metal discs ready to receive the impressed design) between the double-faced wedges on a coin press. The striking rate of the presses at Pessac is over 800 impressions per minute. The coins may be minted in either one or two colours. This process, patented by Monnaie de Paris in the days of franc coin production, allows for the assembly of a crowning (outer part) and core (inner part) at the same time as the minting of the coin. At the Pessac plant, collectors’ coins and other coin-type products (souvenir medals) are also minted. Quality control checks are carried out at each stage of production.
PACKAGING AND DISPATCHING : The minted coins are packed together and placed in rolls and boxes. They are then stored while awaiting dispatch to the client. The Pessac plant offers several different types of packaging for its various overseas clients (rolls, cardboard boxes, cases, boxes, etc.).
DENATURING : Obsolete or worn circulating coins are sent to the «denaturing workshop». Their face value is obliterated by crushing the faces of the coins. They thus revert to being simple blanks that may be melted down and reused to mint other coins.
an institution at the cutting edge of technology
A centre of expertise and research
Over the centuries, Monnaie de Paris has evolved in step with changing times. From striking with a hammer to the latest lasers, the institution has developed new manufacturing techniques. Internationally recognised as one of the top five mints in the world in terms of striking quality, it is also one of the most dynamic when it comes to technological innovation. It frequently wins awards such as "Coin of the Year" (COTY) for the excellence of its coins at international specialist numismatic events like "Coin Constellation".
In 2007, Monnaie de Paris embarked on an important investment programme to enhance and upgrade its infrastructure, equipment and facilities. The Research and Development Department explores opportunities for innovation in materials, forms and industrial processes. Its activity is focused on five strategic themes: collector coins, equipment, materials used for circulating coins, minting techniques and new means of payment.
The department's work enables Monnaie de Paris to stay ahead of the competition on the technological front and offer the public high-quality, original and innovative products. Thus the institution ensures it has the resources to rise to new technical challenges, innovate production and aim to meet the highest international standards.
sustainable development and anti-counterfeiting
The Pessac plant is one of the very few monetary institutions in the world to have been awarded triple QSE certification (Quality, Safety and Environment): ISO 9001 for product quality; OHSAS 18001 for measures taken with regards employee occupational health and safety; and ISO 14001 for the institution's commitment to the environment.
Monnaie de Paris also brings its renowned expertise to bear on national and European efforts to combat coin fraud and counterfeiting by accommodating both the Centre National d'Analyse des Pièces (CNAP, National Coin Analysis Centre) and the Centre Technique et Scientifique Européen (CTSE, European Technical and Scientific Centre) at its Pessac site. Both require access to high-performance equipment and increasingly sophisticated technological research facilities.
The CNAP comprises a team of five members of staff and is the competent national authority on euro coins.
Its principal missions include:
• working to eliminate detected counterfeit euro coins;
• assessing and classifying different types of counterfeiting;
• training police services responsible for currency anti-counterfeiting;
• ensuring work for the CTSE is carried out as a priority;
• representing Monnaie de Paris at meetings of European bodies.
The CNAP works in association with:
• the CTSE, by making staff, means and premises available;
• the Banque de France (BdF), by approving the different types of automatic sorting machines used by cash cycle operators connected with the BdF;
• The Office Central de Répression du Faux Monnayage (OCRFM, Central Office for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency), by training police "correspondants techniques opérationnels" (CTOs, technical operational contacts);
• The European Commission's European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
For several years, the number of forged coins has been decreasing on a regular basis: 43,000 counterfeits in 2008 reduced to 24,996 in 2013 and again to 17,643 in 2014 (representing a 30% drop over these two years).