NEW TECHNOLOGY OBSERVED AT ANA NY CONVENTION
Dick Johnson writes: "The Paris Mint continues to be the
leader in cutting edge technology for coin and medal
production. I attended their briefing for the numismatic press
at the ANA convention in New York City (Aug 1-4).
Paris Mint officials showed slides of their new products, some
of which were on display at their booth, others so new they
did not have samples to show yet.
Four items captured my attention the most -- three coins, one
medal. One coin was part of a five-coin series on the
Bicentennial of the Birth of Victor Hugo. It showed a woman
in a dress on the reverse. It was covered in blue translucent
enamel. The details of the dress were struck in the surface of
the coins, which had a slightly sunken form. You could see
through the translucent enamel and the slight depression
formed the barrier to retain the enamel. Stunning!
Another coin is "in the shape of a wave" to quote their literature.
Called the Ultimate Franc it was the last one franc denomination
coin issued by the French Republic. Designed by Phillippe
Starck, this has to be seen live -- no photograph can show the
I am going to guess a preformed blank with the wave shape
was used for striking, but I don't see how it could have been
fed and struck in a coining press. These creative French! But
do not even think about putting this in a vending machine or
The third coin was silver with a gold insert on a 2-franc piece.
While this is not new, the insert was an unusual shape. The
technology here was the critical tolerances of the exact
depression in the surface of the coin, with the insert struck in
gold and trimmed to match that depression.
They had no sample to show, but the best of my memory was
the insert was roughly in the shape of the state of Minnesota.
Believe me, friends, this is no easy task. I asked about their
production problems at the press conference and the best they
could say was it required exception quality control. I can
believe that! But the resulting piece is exceptional!
They also had a calendar medal separate from their yearly
series of calendar medals. This was a perpetual calendar.
It contained 12 bushings (small holes) in an arc across the top
of the medal with numbers 1 through 12 (for months); and 31
bushings in an arc adjacent to the bottom rim (with numbers
1 to 31 for the date).
A thin curved rod stretched from top to bottom with pins on
each end which fit snugly in one of the holes at top and one
at the bottom. Plug in the top pin for the month and the bottom
pin for the date.
This was a highly creative concept. A for creativity. C for
execution. The obverse bore no further design other than lines
in similitude to longitude and latitude. The reverse was so
mediocre that I don't recall the design.
Further, the Paris Mint displayed five, repeat five!, calendar
medals for the year 2002: Four-Leaf Clover, Euro 2002, Tree,
Zodiac and Le Petit Prince. All suitable to add to a calendar
medal topic collection; any or all would nicely grace any
cabinet. However, this is the most I have seen from any mint
for a single year. This does indicate the popularity of calendar
year medals and I presume the Paris Mint feels there is a
market for this number. Will we see that many next year?
We searched the other booths, both mints, distributors and
dealers for new technology without much success. We did
observe some excellent hologram inserts at the Panda America
booth manned by Mel Wacks.
While not new we did observe elsewhere some creative
medallic boxes. These are slightly larger than a lady's compact.
Several inspired by the new Euro in Europe; I can see Euro
coins being kept in these boxes. Another had a clock inside
as the lid swings open. When struck solid the same design for
the boxes result in a paperweight."
Wayne Homren, Editor
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