World Coins

World mints adjust during pandemic, more shows cancel

World mints have been affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, halting or shifting production. The Royal Mint has begun making medical visors, while the Royal Canadian Mint has restarted bullion coin production.

Images courtesy of the Royal Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced world mints to adjust production schedules and methods.

After being shut down for two weeks, the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa has reopened production.

In Japan, the mint has switched to shift work to spread out the number of workers in production at any one time, mint officials announced April 8.

And in the United Kingdom, the Royal Mint has begun producing visors as the country faces a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The effects of and reactions to the pandemic are being felt around the globe.

Maple Leafs on tap again

Production of Maple Leaf 1-ounce silver and gold coins has restarted, as of April 6, Alex Reeves, senior manager of public affairs for the RCM, told Coin World.

According to a statement provided by Reeves, “The Mint continues to prioritize manufacturing that supports the essential mining and financial sectors, while following protocols that keep our employees healthy and safe.”

Production resumed April 6 with reduced staffing levels to allow the Mint to practice social distancing.

When asked for specifics, Reeves did not disclose at what capacity level RCM production is operating.

“For now, we are working at reduced capacity but are doing our best to produce bullion coins with the material coming out of our refinery,” he said, adding, “We are also continuing to balance demand for bullion coins with large bar products.”

Royal Mint making visors

Toward the end of March the Royal Mint began mass manufacturing medical visors exclusively for the National Health Service to address the immediate shortfall in PPE.

The Royal Mint is now producing 5,000 medical visors per day and will initially prioritize supplying NHS Wales, which supported the development and approval of the medical visors.

The Royal Mint, usually known for making coins, bullion and gifts, has a state of the art manufacturing facility in Llantrisant. Engineers at the site were keen to support NHS workers, and began searching for medical equipment that could be easily produced on site.

The medical visors are fully BSI approved, and the design was developed and refined by the engineering team at the Royal Mint in just 48 hours. To date, over 12,000 medical visors made at the Royal Mint are in use at hospitals across Wales.

In addition, the Royal Mint has been supplying the local NHS with other essential PPE equipment from its stores, and offering project management support. 

Leighton John, director of operations for The Royal Mint said, in a press release: “My sister works for the NHS and it really focuses your mind on the challenges they are facing, and the opportunity we have to support them. Our first priority is always the wellbeing of our staff, and we have transformed our visitor attraction, The Royal Mint Experience, into an emergency production line for medical visors. The site ensures that employees are safely distanced, and allows us to keep manufacturing jobs open whilst our normal production is scaled back.

Pobjoy Mint stops filling orders

The Pobjoy Mint in the United Kingdom closed once UK-wide regulations took place around March 25.

"The UK office closed down two weeks ago, once Boris Johnson shut down the UK," the Pobjoy Mint's Director of U.S. Operations, Beth Caspar, told Coin World. "We are not releasing anything new until we are up and running again."

Employees are working from home to answer customer service inquiries but responses are delayed. 

"Any orders currently on a pre-order release date are now unfortunately delayed until further notice," the Mint told its customers in an email. "We can only apologise this has happened but unfortunately this is outside of our control and we must follow in line with the Government's advice."

Hong Kong show delayed 

Another coin show in Hong Kong — already delayed because of the COVID-19 global pandemic — is now canceled, joining a list of halted international shows.

The Tokyo International Numismatic Convention has canceled its event, which was scheduled for May 2 to 4. And in Germany, the 111th International Münzbörse, scheduled to be held May 1 in Hannover, is canceled.

The Hong Kong Coin Show originally scheduled for March 27 to 29, had been rescheduled to May 9 and 10.

However, a March 17 announcement of a 14-day quarantine for people arriving in the Hong Kong special administrative region from any overseas country drove the further change in plans.

“We also received a letter from Centre for Health Protection of Department of Health that organizers should cancel or defer mass event until the pandemic is settled,” show organizers said. “Consequently, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel the May show. It is our full intention to host our August Show, currently scheduled for 21 – 23 August 2020.”

The statement from Hong Kong show organizers continued:

“We will keep you informed of any new developments of the legal measures as we receive them.”

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