History of the State Mint

22 April 1867 – The Monetary Law of Romania was promulgated; the law establishes the LEU as legal tender. The fractional coin is called „BAN”  and it
represents the 100th part of a leu.

The headquarters of the Mint on Kisseleff Avenue, inaugurated on 24 February 1870

 

 

The first Mint was founded on 24th February 1870 in a building on Kisseleff Avenue; Prince Carol Ist, the Prime Minister Alexandru Golescu and the Minister of Finance I.C.Brătianu attended this event.

 

 

The first coin of 1 Leu (1870) was minted at the Mint in Bucharest

Until the end of the year, 5.000 gold coins of 20 lei and 400.000 silver coins of 1 leu, both depicting the prince’s portrait on the obverse, were struck here. The 1 leu coin of 1870 was the first Romanian coin to bear the name of the national currency – „leu”. Being under Ottoman suzerainty, Romania managed to make thus the first step towards issuing the first national currency bearing the effigy of the Romanian ruler on the obverse. Because of the Ottoman Empire’s protest, the minting activity ceased after a few months, and the silver coins to be issued according to the Monetary Law were struck in Belgium. The portrait of the ruler does not appear on any of them. It seems though that the activity of the Mint has continued after 1870, because in 1871, a medal celebrating 400 years since the Monastery of Putna was built, was mentioned as being struck here.

The 5 lei coin of 1881, struck at the Mint in Kisseleff Avenue after resuming coin production in 1879

 

After being acknowledged the independence at the Congress of Berlin, Romania resumes coin striking in 1879, this time without any limitations. The so called „golden age” of the Mint is 1879-1885. As of 1890 – except for the 20 lei gold issue – for 45 years, the Romanian coins were ordered abroad, in spite of the 1924 and 1929 attempts of reestablishing a National Mint. Until closing the gates, the Mint only stroke medals for only a few years. Historical data do not provide the actual date the first Mint ceased to function, but the year of the demolition of its former headquarters is known as 1912.

The building of the State Mint in 1935

1935 - Law No. 391 of 22nd February adjusts and completes the existing legal tender system in order to make it respond to the exchange demands of the market. For once, the idea of reestablishing the Mint was welcomed, and the Royal Decree No. 392 of the same day enacts the foundation of the National Mint. Financed by the National Bank, building started on May 25. Seven months later work was finished  and the building was handed over to the Ministry of Finance, under whose subordination the Mint was to function. On 20th December 1935, the National Mint was inaugurated in a new building in  Fabrica de Chibrituri nr. 30 Street, as a public commercial administration, having legal personality and autonomous management.

The first coin produced by the State Mint after its reestablishment: 250 Lei 1935

- 1936 – The 1st of January, the Mint starts striking the 250 lei coin, made of silver 750/1000. One month later, the coin is starts circulation. Until May 15th, 3 million pieces – of a total of 4,5 million stipulated by the law – were struck. With this first order, the Mint payed back the credit taken for its building, proving thus the rentability of producing the coins in the country. Until the end of the year, technology was prepared for producing the second coin, the 100 lei, made of nickel.

- 1937 – The “Various Products” sector is established. The Mint is granted exclusivity of selling fine silver and semi-finished products for satisfying the domestic production demands, exclusivity for producing the stamps of any type, needed by all state authorities and right of preference for all medals, engraved or pressed products necessary to the State. The reason for developing a Various Products sector, still valid these days, is that the Mint should not need subventions from the Government or reorganise during the periods where it doesn’t strike any coins.

- 1938: The Mint starts collaboration with the Ministry of Defense.
- 1943: The Mint is granted exclusivity in producing and selling the Romanian decorations and insignia.

The 1 leu coin after the redenomination of 1947 was produced by the State Mint

The coin of 1 ban after de redenomination of 1953 was produced by the State Mint

- 1947: Redenomination of the domestic currency: the „new” leu represents 20.000 „old” lei.

-  1948: Unification of the Mint with the Stamp Factory, until 1953 when they split again.

- 1952: A new redenomination replaces 20 „old” lei by 1 new leu.

- 1957: The Mint is subordinated to the National Bank of Romania.

- 1958-1959: The Jewelry sector is established

The coin of 1Leu of the socialist period, struck for the first time in 1960 at the State Mint

- 1960: The Mint develops its own technology for obtaining nickel plated steel, in order to produce the necessary coin blanks. The first nickel plated steel coins issued using blanks produced in Romania are the 15 and 25 bani.

- 1963: Nickel plated steel coins of 1 Leu and 3 Lei are issued.

- 1965: Romania becomes a socialist republic.

- 1978: The aluminum 5 lei coin is issued.

- 1982: The last issue of the socialist period of Romania: aluminum 25 bani.

december 1989: End of the communist regime

The first coin struck after the fall of the communist regime: 10 Lei 1990.

- 1990: A Government decision organises the State Mint as an autonomous administration, subordinated to the National Bank of Romania.

1991: The Mint makes huge investments in the Monetary sector. Part of the old coining presses are replaced by three new ones, of great productivity.

- 1992 – 1994: Intense striking activity for replacing the old coins of the socialist republic. The Mint produces the bulk of the stockpile of  1, 5, 10, 20, 50 si 100 lei.

- 1995 – 1997: The Mint has to face the new competitional economic environment, where it has to keep working even if it does not strike circulation coins. So it gets reorganised, it stops producing certain items of the diverse production and assimilates new technologies – e.g. the proof technology for the collector coins.

- 1999: Circulation coin production resumes with the 500 lei coin

- 2000 – 2004: Coins of 1000 and 5000 Lei are struck

- 2005: Redenomination of the leu; recurrence of the division coins of the leu

The actual headquarters of the State Mint