Minting of euro coins gets under way

  • 2010-07-28
  • By Ella Karapetyan

STRIKING IT RICH: 600 tons of new euro coins will travel to Estonia under heavy security.

TALLINN - As the Republic of Estonia prepares for the adoption of the euro on Jan. 1, 2011, the Mint of Finland has announced that coin production for the Estonian version of the single currency has begun.
Estonia is now the eighth country for which the Mint of Finland produces euro coins. They have been producing Estonian collector coins since 2004. The Mint’s Managing Director Paul Gustafsson commented, “No other mint in the world produces euro coins for as many different countries as the Mint of Finland.”

The Mint of Finland won the tender for euro coin production, which was organized by the Central Bank of Estonia in 2005.The order is for about 600 tons of euro coins, or 194 million coins. The value of the order has not been disclosed.
“In the last four months, [Estonia’s central bank] Eesti Pank and the Mint of Finland have been making technical preparations to produce Estonian euro coins. A part of the preparation work was minting test coins. By now, the technical preparations have been finished and the design of the coins has been fine-tuned in a way that it is possible to start minting the coins [from July 27],” said Rait Roosve, head of the Cash and Security Department of Eesti Pank.

Eesti Pank will start delivering the coins to commercial banks in September. In order to guarantee cash transport security, Eesti Pank will cooperate with the Ministry of the Interior. Police and the Border Guard will contribute to securing the transport.

The design of the nominal value of the euro coin is shared by all member states, while the opposite side of the coin bears a national design and differs from country to country. Despite different back sides, all coins, including the Estonian coins, are legal tender throughout the euro area.
On the 1 euro and 2 euro coins the outline of Estonia is higher than the coin surface (positive), and the outline also includes the relief of Estonia. On the euro cents the outline of Estonia is lower than the coin surface (negative) and the relief of Estonia is not depicted.

n addition, the 1 euro and 2 euro coins also differ. On the 2 euro coin, the northernmost point of Estonia, Vaindloo Island, and the westernmost point, Nootamaa Island, are shown. Together with the southernmost point near Naha and the easternmost point in Narva, both of which are situated on the land boundary, they depict the land territory of Estonia in relation to cardinal points. On the 1 euro coin this is not depicted.

The appearance of the coins was decided by a public vote within Estonia. The winning design, by Lembit Lohmus, was chosen from hundreds of entries submitted in a contest in 2004. All the euro coins feature the same theme incorporating an image of the map of Estonia with the word EESTI (Estonia) beneath. On the national side of Estonian euro coins is the year of minting, in addition to the 12 stars of the European Union.

The design of the national sides of the euro coins may not be altered, except in monarchies after every 15 years, or when the monarch changes. An exception is made for commemorative coins, as they are limited-edition coins with special designs issued into circulation in case of important national events. Every country may issue these commemorative coins once a year. In the future, Estonia may also issue collector coins, which are usually produced from precious metals.

In addition to commemorative coins issued by individual euro area countries, the euro countries may issue coins jointly to commemorate important events in the history of the European Union. Collector coins, for which there are no design limits, are also of special design.