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How coins for 2018 FIFA World Cup are minted

[13.06.2018 15:35:00]

Many tourists visiting Saint Petersburg come to the Peter and Paul Fortress. They also visit the History of Money Museum located in it. However, few people know that the Saint Petersburg Mint operates in the neighboring building. One of the North-West Branches of Goznak minting metal money for the state needs. Moreover, those are not only the usual 5 and 10 rouble coins. On the eve of FIFA World Cup, a few commemorative coins were produced, including those of precious metals. Reporters of The Komsomolskaya Pravda visited the secret workshops of the enterprise in order to see how collectible coins dedicated to the World Cup are struck.

Weighted gold and silver ingots are the basis for coin minting. They are brought from the Central Bank. There is a small metallurgical production site inside the Mint. The ingots are put into the furnace. If necessary (for example, to obtain the millesimal fineness of 925), copper is added (7.5% of the total weight). The melted metal is taken out of the furnace. It is cooled and cut into 400 mm long plates.

They are milled then, in order to obtain the necessary thickness. After that, round planchets are cut out of the metal sheets. They will turn into real coins after a few operations.

The first operation is edge-rolling. The planchet goes through a special device where the future coin makes a full circle under pressure. The essence of edge-rolling is that there appears a special skirting board on the planchet. It is necessary for two things. First of all, thanks to it, planchets dont stick to one another during the further operations. Secondly, the existence of a skirting board decreases the force necessary for minting. It saves resources.

The second operation is thermal processing. The planchets go through a special furnace here they are heated up to 700 degrees Celsius first and then cooled down slowly. The operation increases plasticity and decreases firmness of the planchets. As a result, they become more susceptible to cold deformation. In this case, the minting quality is higher.

The third operation is actually minting. The press works the following way. Two puncheons are installed in it, for obverse and reverse. They are also produced at the Mint. The coin planchet is put on the bottom puncheon and is pressed (minted) with the top puncheon. The force is about 2300 kilonewtons (for coins with the diameter of 39 mm). It is 200 tons approximately. Every puncheon is changed after 20 100 pieces (depending on wear).

The minting process takes place 24 hours a day, in three shifts 8 hours each. The craftsmen work manually. The norm for each of them is 300 coins per shift. It is impossible to make the process of minting coins of proof quality automatic. It would boost the reject rate, and it would be difficult to achieve the collectors quality.

According to the employees, earlier the norm per one minting master comprised about 100 coins per shift; now it is not less than 300 coins. The workforce productivity grows, like everywhere else.

Investment coins are easier to produce. They are valued for the weight of the metal, but not for their collectors or artistic properties. Therefore, they are minted with the help of automatic feeding but not manually. The masters task is to supply planchets and control the quality. In this case, the norm is about 1250 pieces per shift.

All products from the minting sector arrive here. Controllers check every coin with a magnifying glass it should match the high minting quality. If the coin is accepted, it remains in the box. Rejected coins are remelted.

Defects can be different micro scratches, pickups during minting, dust caught under the press. The selection is very rigorous. The reject rate of proof quality coins is up to 40%. That is why collectors coins are so valuable.

All the Branches of Goznak operate in the security mode. Working with precious metals is strictly controlled. Stock control takes place constantly at the Mint constantly. The metal is passed on condition of accountability at every stage. One should pass on exactly the amount he received. Moreover, we are speaking not about grams but about tenths of grams. Any waste (chips, drops of metal, cutoffs) are collected, weighed and remelted.
A special project by Evgeniy Belyakov and Vladimir Velengurin from the workshops of the Saint Petersburg Mint Branch of Goznak Komsomolskaya Pravda
Source: Komsomolskaya Pravda
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