Small round pieces of steel or brass or thin plastic notes – they all exert a strong fascination on us. But how and where are they printed?
The State Mint produces coins and prints banknotes for the National Bank of Romania and, despite the numerous requests to create banknotes for other countries, Romania has only printed for the Republic of Moldova. The only country in Europe that prints banknotes on plastic, Romania has decided to help the Republic of Moldova because the latter does not have a State Mint.
However, the tons of metal (about 6,000 tons per year) come from France, UK or Italy. The metal is poured into molds of 1, 5, 10 or 50 “bani” and pressed with two coin stamps. The State Mint production manager, Dan Păunescu, says that the press manages to make 750 coins per minute, which implies a great work speed, of approximately 12-13 coins per second. Production may reach about two million coins per day, but it is known that, when stamping the 1 ban coin, production costs exceed the value of the product.
But the journey of the shiny small round pieces does not stop here. Immediately after stamping, the coins are manually checked by the State Mint employees and then counted using the machines.
And now let us explore the banknote printing steps. The thin plastic sheets become purchasing power under the same roof of the State Mint. The first step is the printing of the transparent window with security features and then the banknotes receive their color. All these operations are done on large plastic sheets. Only after printing the money is cut and counted automatically. But Romania only produces the banknotes of RON 1, 5 and 10, while the big ones are printed in Switzerland.
The plastic sheets preferred by the State Mint are 30% more expensive than those made of paper, but 6 times more durable, lowering long term costs.
The State Mint employees also carry out regular checks of the state of money in use and they have found a very ingenious way to use the damaged money – it becomes garbage bins. Interesting metamorphosis!