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145 years since the inauguration of the Romanian Mint

MS_145_MRomfilatelia dedicates the postage stamp issue “145 years since the inauguration of the Romanian Mint” to the celebration of this fundamental Romanian institution. The Romanian Mint, the place where the coin is minted and begins its long journey, is one of the oldest institutions of our country.
The Romanian Mint has an unquestionable cultural, social and financial importance. The coins and other products manufactured in the mint (jewelry, religious objects, badges, decorations, etc.) are, like stamps, the bearers of meanings and symbols, history and culture.
On February 24th, 1870, the first Romanian Mint was inaugurated in the presence of Prince Carol I, Prime Minister Alexandru Golescu and Finance Minister Ion C. Bratianu, in a specially designed headquarters on the Kiseleff Street.
Nowadays, it is the Museum of the Romanian Peasant that is placed on the site of the old Mint, and only the street where the building was, the Mint Street, reminds the contemporary that there were minted the first coins of Romania. The building of the first mint was demolished in 1912, after housing for a long while the School of Fine Arts.
The postage stamp of the issue with the face value of lei 8.10 reproduces the image of the 1870’s first building of the Romanian Mint, along with the reverse image of the first 1 leu coin, a silver coin issued by the Mint the same year, 1870, and included within the stamp graphics in a special perforation.
The stamp of the souvenir sheet, with the face value of lei 14.50, presents the first golden coin of lei 20, issued by the Romanian Mint in 1870 while the margin illustrates the effigy of King Carol I.
Noticing the necessity of minting metal coins in the country, in 1935, the new headquarters located on the Filaret Hill was inaugurated, the place where the Romanian Mint keeps functioning to this day.
C.I. Baicoianu was one of the initiators of the re-establishment of the Romanian Mint, together with C.I. Bratianu, Grigore Dumitrescu, Mitita Constantinescu, Constantin I.C. Bratianu, Constantin Angelescu, Gheorghe Tatarescu.
The proponents of the re-establishment of the Romanian Mint drew up building plans and, having the authorisation of the City Hall, from March 16th, 1935, the works began on May 25th, 1935. Five decades after the minting in the country of the last Romanian coins, it is inaugurated, in the presence of King Carol II, on December 16th, 1935, the new headquarters of the Romanian Mint. On 20 December the same year, the legislation established the organization of the Mint as a business administration with legal personality and autonomous management. The initial capital was established in the amount invested in buildings and facilities of the Mint and in a revolving fund of lei 10.000.
The National Mint began operations on January 1st, 1936, with the minting of lei 250 silver coins, having a purity of 750 ‰. This issue numbered 4,500,000 pieces and was completed in August 1936. Note that with the profit resulted from this activity, the Mint paid the entire cost of appropriations needed for construction of the building. By the end of 1936, the Mint ceased monetary production, in this period being carried out preparations for the upcoming production of lei 100 coins in pure nickel.
A reason for the selection of this metal is the interest of the defense industry to ensure a stock, the currency issue being susceptible of withdrawl from circulation, while the resulting metal after melting could be used for the manufacturing of special steels used in the production of weapons: gun barrels and other specific products. Thus, on November 19th, 1936, it was decided the introduction into circulation of the lei 100 coin made out of pure nickel. This was made with a circulation of 16,675,000 pieces.
In the following period, another law was promulgated, which aimed at organising the society with a strong industrial and commercial character, giving the Mint the right to manufacture stamps and seals for all public authorities, the exclusive right to supply the domestic market with silver, the right to produce medals, plaques and badges for public authorities and private entities.
The complexity and multitude of activities made at the Mint in 1939 led to the raising of the built area by constructing two additional buildings, existing to this day. Following the relations concluded during visits to mints in Europe, it was decided to carry out the exchanges for training and professional development of engineers, engravers, graphic designers of the Romanian Mint, who were sent to specializations in France, England, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Austria.
Following the collaboration with the Ministry of National Defense, it was decided the switch to the manufacturing of military equipment and military uniforms. This collaboration continued through the ‘90s.
In 1943, the Romanian Mint obtained the exclusivity for manufacturing Romanian decorations, an activity conducted up to date, at the request of the Presidential Administration. By the Decree No. 123/1948, the National Mint and the Stamp Factory merged, working together until 1953 as the Mint and Stamp Factory.
In 1953, by decision of the Council of Ministers no. 2.838, the printing sector got separated from the Mint, thus establishing the Romanian Mint used up to now. Based on this decision, the manufacturing profile of the company was fixed: coins, stamps, seals, registering machines, marking punches, decorations, medals, plaques, badges, metal objects bearing engraving works, precious metal objects.
Since 1957, the Romanian Mint has passed from the authority of the Ministry of Finance into that of the National Bank of Romania.
After 1989, by adapting to new laws and regulations, the Romanian Mint became an autonomous administration, with legal personality and functioning on the basis of economic management and financial independence.
Considering the social and political changes of 1989, the Autonomous Administration Romanian Mint issued coins to replace those from the communist system.
During 1993, the administration got in charge of manufacturing the proof technology used in the production of numismatic coins.
Following the currency denomination, on July 1st, 2005, the “heavy leu” coins, with the values of 1, 5, 10 and 50 Bani, were launched on the currency market, being still in use.
Given the prospects of the Euro adoption, the Romanian Mint administration engaged in exchanges with other mints in the European Union, such as those in: the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Ireland, Slovakia (Kremnica), Finland and the German mints from Stuttgart and Munich, to establish a strategy for the improvement of technical possibilities, so that the Romanian Mint could meet the requirements of the European Central Bank.
With nearly a century and half of experience, the Romanian Mint Autonomous Administration wants to demonstrate once again, as it also did after its foundation, that it is profitable to produce currency in the country, both for economic and political reasons, as minting currency at home emphasizes the idea of state sovereignty and unity.

Romfilatelia thanks the Romanian Mint for the documentary support granted in the achievement of this postage stamp issue.

Issue date: 2015-05-19

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