Mint Industry Update

Save the times and Dates

IMDN/IMDA meetings in association with World Money Fair, 3-5 February 2023

Friday 3 February

Minting Industry Forums 2.30pm to 5.30pm – Paris Room TBC 

  • Visitor Experience – 2.30pm to 3.30pm TBC – subject to sufficient interest 
  • Creativity and the Future of Collecting – 3.45pm to 5.30pm TBC 

Saturday 4 February 

International Mint Directors Association (IMDA) 8.30am to 10.15am – Paris Room TBC 

  • for IMDA Member Mints only 

Saturday 4 February 

International Mint Directors Network (IMDN) 10.30am to 12.00pm – Paris Room TBC 

RSVP: Please indicate your intention to attend the Forums and or the IMDA/ IMDN Meetings by email to paula.matthewson@mintindustry.com by 22 December 2022. 

November 2022

When will cash disappear?

A question that is often asked, besides what will happen to low utility / low value coins, is how long will cash be in existence in this rapidly digitalising world. 

The typical response is that as long as there are consumers in society who are socially and economically disadvantaged, or are elderly, or have a mistrust of technology, or are fearful of loss of privacy, or are just unwilling to change because of tradition and culture, then cash and coins will continue to be used and therefore in demand. 

That would suggest cash will continue to be a medium of exchange, particularly for small value transactions, for a considerable time into the future. Given that 17 per cent of the world remains unbanked, perhaps it will be decades. 

Over the past twelve months we have presented and discussed six key reasons why cash continues to be in demand and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future: 

  • when technology fails 
  • to protect ‘privacy’ for those fearful of loss of identity, being tracked by marketing or having their identity stolen 
  • to make it easier to make a charitable donation 
  • to help teach financial literacy 
  • for daily, weekly and monthly budgeting and financial management by those on very low net incomes struggling just to ‘survive’ 
  • to facilitate financial inclusion eg. for those on low incomes and elderly consumers. 

While ever these legitimate reasons remain for cash – notes and coins – to be used and therefore demanded, Central banks and policy makers are unlikely to decree, as has been attempted unsuccessfully by at least one country, to become entirely cashless. 

Cash will continue to be part of the transaction environment for a while yet!! 

International Mint Directors Technical Committee (IMD-TC) update: 36th Plenary Meeting

On 5 and 6 November 2022, the IMD-TC (the former MDC-TC) had its latest meeting, which took place in-person in Singapore. I’m very thankful to the Singapore Mint as our host and the TEMAN conference for their cooperation. 

The meeting was energetic, with the feeling that participants were very happy to meet in person again, with 13 working group meetings and 13 presentations about the latest topics relevant to our industry given by the project convenors and their teams. 

Again, thanks to all of the participants for your valuable contributions and to Mike Gradwell from Asahi Refining for his continuous support of the IMD-TC and of myself in his role as the Deputy Chair. 

On top of our usual program, we used this opportunity to rename the committee from Mint Directors Conference Technical Committee (MDC-TC) to the International Mint Directors Technical Committee (IMD-TC). This change brings the wording into line with the new International Mint Directors Network. 

The meeting included a lively discussion in the form of a SWOT analysis of the IMD-TC to elaborate its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the current and future environment. We also used the occasion for a major restructuring of our work program: 

  • Seven projects were finished, at least in their current format: Alternative Methods for Producing Dies, Automation and Industry 4.0, Blanking Tools and Processing Guideline, Ethical Metal Sourcing, MDC-TC Information Portal, Mentoring Program and New Materials. 
  • Eight new topics will become new projects: Burnishing Guideline Update, CNC Applications, Demonitization & Recycling Best Practise, Health and Safety Best Practise, Precision Hobbing Applications, Laser Applications, Quality Guideline Update and Security Printing Applications. 
  • Work will continue on these technical issues: Automated Coin and Blank Inspection, Coin Design Handbook and Sensor Sensitivity for Plated Coins, Die Surface Coating, Surface Protection of Coins and Jewellery, and Three Component Coins. 
  • Sam Murthi is continuing work on one of the top-issues: Environmental Best Practices, which we renamed to Environmental Technical & Operational Best Practices to clarify the strengths and focus of this group. This shall also avoid any potential confusion with the Sustainability group, which will cover all other aspects of a modern ESG system in best cooperation with the IMD-TC project. 
  • From the more management-oriented topics, we will continue: Benchmarking in the Minting Industry, Coin Anti-counterfeiting and Genuineness, the Customer Task Force and Future Payment Systems incl. Coin-Note Boundary. 

With our modus operandi ALL MEMBERS ARE ACTIVE PARTNERS, the MDC-TC will continue to identify key issues relating to 21st century coinage materials, machines and processes and to prepare strategies to address these issues. 

After the IMD-TC is before the IMD-TC – The planning for the April/May 2023 IMD-TC Plenary Meeting in form of a physical meeting has already started. 

Manfred Matzinger-Leopold, MDC-TC Chairman 

October 2022

Cash in a Crisis

As a result of the energy crisis and Europe and the UK heading into winter, governments are preparing for the possibility of power blackouts that will potentially impact consumers, government services, manufacturing, the business community and financial institutions. In the case of the UK, banks are dusting off their lockdown contingency plans to ensure data centres can continue to operate.

What happens if blackouts do occur and they last for a number of days? Data centres may be protected but will consumers be able to obtain cash from ATMs? What if people can’t digitally transact at the point of sale, because of a power failure? How do consumers manage the simple act of grocery shopping and, given the increasing move to eating out, what happens if they can’t pay for the meal they’ve just had because of a blackout?

The availability of cash for these risk situations is essential – we remind policy makers and governments that this is why they must ensure cash remains readily available.

While digital is becoming a growing part of the monetary transacting system, we are being faced with constant reminders that in certain situations – and not only with particular cohorts of the population – readily accessible cash is critical to the ability of societies to go about their daily lives.

Cash can and will play its part in helping to provide solutions in a crisis.

Change of Monarch – King Charles III

With the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth, coins of the majority of Commonwealth countries that depict the image of her Majesty, while still being available will eventually be replaced by coins that show an effigy of King Charles III.

Tradition determines that the image of a new Monarch will face in the opposite direction to the previous, meaning an effigy of the King will face to the left if you are looking at the coin. For many citizens in Commonwealth countries, it has been a lifetime in which the Queen’s image has appeared on their coins.

After approval from Buckingham Palace, a new effigy will be available to Commonwealth countries and coins featuring King Charles III will progressively enter circulation, most likely dated from 2023 onwards.

The surge in demand from collectors, both existing and new, to obtain the last coins depicting the Queen’s effigy for both circulating and numismatics has been extraordinary, even in countries where the Queen does not appear on their coins.

It is expected that the first of the King Charles effigy coins will also attract additional demand – all of which is a great opportunity for those Commonwealth country Mints and Dealers from around the world to attract and hopefully retain new customers wanting a piece of memorabilia about Queen Elizabeth II, a remarkable person in an extraordinary time of change in our modern history.

September 2022

The Demand for cash by older Consumers

It’s unsurprising that numerous studies conducted around the world, including one on behalf of the IMF, have recognised the correlation between aged segments of the population and the demand for cash. The older the population, in some cases unfamiliar with technology and generally fearful of the consequences of its use, have continued to use cash. In difficult economic times this demand has remained constant.

A question for policy makers is, given the rapidly aging population, how are these consumers going to be able to access cash if the usual convenient institutions are no longer convenient? Last month we recognised the increasing role of Post Offices in helping to deposit and dispense cash, and while this does provide part of the solution there remains places where this is not possible.

In recognising the need to protect such consumers as well as others who rely on cash in their daily lives, the UK Government announced on 19 May 2022 that through the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) people in communities across the UK will see their access to cash protected. For the first time UK’s largest financial institutions will be subject to new FCA powers to ensure the availability of cash facilities in local communities.

The Economic Secretary at the time John Glen said, “Millions of people across the UK still rely on cash, particularly those in vulnerable groups, and today we are delivering on our promise to ensure that access to cash is protected in communities across the country”.

This laudable policy position implemented by the UK Government is clear recognition that the older and more vulnerable segments of the population must be protected as the UK and other countries embrace the digital world. Policy makers around the world please take note.

The Death of a much-loved Monarch

On the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth not only did the world stop and reflect but the presses used in the production of coins depicting the effigy of her majesty also stopped. To say that she has been a loss to the UK and the Commonwealth would be a gross understatement of how she was loved and admired throughout the world.

On behalf of the Mint Industry we would like to send our condolences to the family and to the UK and Commonwealth residents who have lost a truly great example of a person who lived her values of integrity, commitment, sacrifice and humility.

From the Commonwealth countries who had the honour of having her effigy, in varying contemporised images, on their coins and notes – thank you.

August 2022

MDC to be renamed IMDN

At the MDC Internal Affairs meeting conducted on 9 June 2022, by a vote of greater than two thirds of those in attendance, it was agreed to change the name of the MDC network organisation to the International Mint Directors Network – IMDN. The MDC acronym will now refer only to the actual Mint Directors Conference held every two years, with the next conference to be held in Ottawa Canada from 15-18 October 2023. IMDN will continue to be the forum for networking of the Minting Industry.

Formation of IMDA

At the same meeting it was agreed that all 41 IMDN (formerly MDC) members would be invited to lodge an Expression of Interest to join a funded organisation to be called the International Mint Directors Association (IMDA). On the basis of the proposed IMDA work program presented, to date 19 Mints have agreed to join. Those Mints have been informed. While the initial Expression of Interest timeframe has passed, any [sovereign] Mints that wish to join are still welcome to submit a request for inclusion.

Effective from September 2022, this Mint Industry Communique will be rebadged and provided only to IMDA members as well as a range of value-add activities and programs throughout the following twelve-month period. IMDA members will also have access to a secure IMDA members only part of the Mint Industry website, which will provide information specifically relevant to the activities of IMDA members.