All the countries in Europe use banknotes and coins as a payment tool. Unfortunately not every contracting authority in every country has its own mint so the country, in order to have coins, has to have a public procurement or a tender for creating them.
These are one of the most valuable tenders in Europe since it has a lot of other supplies that come together with the production of coins like packaging, temporary storage, delivery, insurance, and others. Also, these kinds of tenders are not allowed to be late with the delivery, since it has a huge responsibility for the country.
Most of the tenders have a specific technical specification and it has to be done in a particular way so the contracting authority would gain a quality coin, but also would kindle the competition, and gain the most valuable items for the money.
What is very difficult in these tenders is that in Europe few economic operators can give a very good price and quality at the same time. In the European Union, starting in 2002, the banknotes are produced jointly by the national central banks, but the responsibility of minting the Euro is on every national government itself. This is because the Euro has a common side and a national side, according to the country they are produced for. You can find the next denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 cents, 1 euro and 2 euro.
Also, each country can have no more than two commemorative bullions in one year. This means that they can differ from the regular ones only in the commemorative design on the national side, and also are bought through a regular tender.
The biggest economic operator in Europe is the Pobjoy Mint which is a manufacturer of legal tenders for over 10 British overseas territories. They also produce medals, medallions, bullion, gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins.
What is very important to be put in tender information?
The most important information is about quantity because the more coins you procure, the chances for more quality economics operators you can get. Also, all technical features of the coins should be precisely given: Alloy composition, Composition – core, Composition – first cover, Composition – last cover, Plate thickness Cover, Plated thickness tolerance, Diameter, Thickness, Weight and Edges.
Also, other requirements should be given, like delivery, approval of pieces of produced blanks prepared for minting before the actual minting of the total quantity of coins.
The analysis of the physical and chemical features of the coin blanks should be performed by an independent accredited laboratory, and the vendor should, along with the samples, submit evidence – a report on the chemical and technical analysis of the coin blanks from a competent institution, also known as accredited laboratory, confirming that they have been produced as required.
The contracting authority should be able to visit the production facilities of the economic operator during the minting process.
What is the difference between the US and Europe
We’ve seen how this is done in Europe. In the USA the decision for minting is made by the Official US Mint. This institution consists of four locations and four mints, plus the Fort Knox where the products are kept.
The system for making a decision is much simpler and easier than across the ocean. Depending on the needs and with a joint discussion of the government officials, a decision is made each year about what and how will be produced the next year.
After this, a detailed plan is made and the work is split between the four mints – West Point, San Francisco, Denver, and Philadelphia. The one at Philadelphia is the biggest mint in the world. It can produce 30 million pieces in one day without a problem. Take a look at this link to learn more about this one.
As you can see, numismatics is a very interesting business but before people get to hold the official thing in their hands, a lot of procedure must be done. Every country has its own regulative and must follow certain steps to keep the safety and to guaranty about the quality of their products.