Royal Mint of Belgium announces closure after decades of service

Mint in Brussels to shutter at beginning of 2018
By , Coin World
Published : 08/21/17
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The Royal Mint of Belgium in Brussels is ending operations as of Jan. 1, 2018.

The contract for producing Belgian euro coins will be assigned elsewhere through a bidding process, and the machinery of the mint will be sold. The building that houses the mint is not part of the sale.

Kristof Ketelbuters, marketing manager for the Royal Mint of Belgium, confirmed the pending closure.
According to a French news report, the production staff had dwindled, and now numbers eight people, among an overall staff of 48.

1808-quarter-eagle-1793-chain-cent-leadThe September 2017 cover feature explores “one-year wonders,” designs that lasted just a year or less, many of which are now coveted delicacies. Other topics include how to value unique collectibles, and an outline of the history of what "paper money" is printed on, from mulberry bark to plastics.

Belgium’s mint produces circulating Belgian euro coins, as well as Belgian commemorative coins.

Orders are dictated by the National Bank of Belgium, and demand for euro coins in the small European country has declined rapidly during the past seven years, according to a report in Central Banking.

The mint forecasts production for 2017 to be below 64 million coins, almost half of the 125 million produced in 2010.

In 2016, the mint produced approximately 81 million 1-, 2-, and 5-cent coins, among about 84 million coins struck.

The cost to produce a 1-cent coin is 1.146 euro cents, the French news report said, and the demand for small change is receding because of rounding that was implemented  in 2014.

Most employees are being placed in other jobs within the finance department, but Luc Luycx, designer of the common euro reverses, has not yet been placed.

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Belgian euro coins are distributed by the National Bank of Belgium, which will continue to distribute whatever coins are required for circulation. The only question is where those coins will be struck, once the Belgian Mint no longer has that role.

One possible producer is the Mint of Finland, which strikes, in addition to those for Finland, euro coins for Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Slovenia. Earlier in 2017, the Mint of Finland also secured rights to strike Danish coins for Denmark after that country’s mint was shut.

The Belgian firm Groep Heylen, which bought the Royal Dutch Mint this year, is another contender to produce the coins, at its facilities either in the Netherlands or in Belgium.

The current Royal Mint of Belgium building dates to 1969, when the mint added “Royal” to its name and opened the new facility.

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