Minting of new 5-euro polymer coin has begun

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by Ursula Kampmann
translated by Annika Backe

December 15, 2016 – It recalled to the mind the good old days of coin collecting when hundreds of ordinary citizens rushed to the bank counters to get ‘their’ polymer coin “Planet Earth”. At that time, the Mint State version was heavily overscribed already and virtually impossible to acquire although the German Federal Ministry of Finance had quickly decided to raise the mintage. 400,000 FDC specimens were struck by every Mint, making 2 million pieces altogether. Of the Mint State version for collectors 250,000 specimens were struck. This is an impressive figure considering that the ‘usual’ silver commemorative coins have a mintage of 175,000. The number of specimens of the new polymer coin “Climate Zones of the Earth” is planned to be even higher. In circulation quality, each Mint will produce 400,000 coins again and 300,000 Mint State specimens, which is 50,000 more than last year. 

In the presence of Edith Sitzmann, the first coin of the “Climate Zones of the Earth” series was minted. Photo: State Mints of Baden-Württemberg.

Climate Zones of the Earth

“I am pleased to begin the minting of the 5-euro coin “Tropical Zone” here at the Karlsruhe Mint. The coin kicks off the five-part “Climate Zones of the Earth” series. The motif refers to our earth being vulnerable. Our future depends on the protection of the climate. This makes a consistent climate protection one of the central goals of our time and our joint responsibility for future generations”, introduced Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Finance Edith Sitzmann the new commemorative coin. You believe every single word of hers because the protection of the environment enjoys high priority in Baden-Württemberg, not only since “The Greens” started to form the government of this federal state in 2011.

The new 5-euro coin with a red polymer ring. Photo: Federal Office for Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues.

The “Tropical Zone” coin

Designed by Stefanie Radtke, the one side of the coin depicts a bird’s eye view of a rainforest. Symbolizing the biodiversity of the tropical regions, a parrot comes flying from the left. Depending on the Mint, the translucent red color of the polymer ring will have an individual shade. 

Mint Director Dr. Peter Huber (r.) showing the Minister of Finance (l.) the individual components of the polymer coin. Photo: State Mints of Baden-Württemberg.

A testimony to our present

For some decades now, commemorative coins tend to just fix past jubilees in precious metal in a decorative manner. This commemorative coin is different. It documents the commitment of a majority of the German people to assume responsibility beyond its borders.
This of course includes environmental protection. In this regard, Karlsruhe – as the Mint where the initial coin was being minted – serves as an example of how environmental protection is achieved in Germany without jeopardizing efficiency and competitiveness. The State Mints of Baden-Württemberg manufacture as resource-friendly as possible. To illustrate this with only one example: Since 2013 they have a closed water circuit that reduces the annual water consumption by 200,000 liters. Since 2011 the company has an ISO 9001 certification, and since 2013 it has the ISO 14001 environmental management certification.
Thus, this commemorative coin with its beautiful motif doesn’t intend to simply add to the list of well-selling coins. It rather stands for a living reality in Germany, prioritizing the future of the earth over quick profit. 

Günther Waadt of the Bavarian State Mint and Dr. Peter Huber of the State Mints of Baden-Württemberg are happy about being awarded by the MDC.

Groundbreaking technology

That latest eco-management doesn’t exclude state-of-the-art technology at all, as evidenced by the new polymer technology for the production of coins that are as anti-counterfeit as banknotes. Together with the Bavarian State Mint, the State Mints of Baden-Württemberg played a crucial role in developing the polymer coin. Peter Huber, Director of the Mints of Karlsruhe and Stuttgart, called the coin a “milestone in the development of modern coin minting”. As a matter of fact, the Mint Directors Conference awarded the creation in the category Most Innovative Circulating Coin 2016. 

Together with Dr. Peter Huber (center) and Minister of Finance Edith Sitzmann (r.), artist Stefanie Radtke (l.) is pleased with the new coin. Her creation will circulate in Germany with a mintage amounting to 2.3 million specimens. Photo: State Mints of Baden-Württemberg.

Release date April 27, 2017

Followed with great interest by the industry, the first polymer coin of the five-part edition “Climate Zones of the Earth” was minted at the Karlsruhe Mint on December 12, 2016. The coin is planned to be released on April 27, 2017. Everybody who wants to acquire a Mint State coin can place an order as of February 3, 2017. Presumably on April 27, 2017, the FDC coin in circulation quality will be available at banks and savings banks. 

Upcoming issues

These are the planned issues for the next four years: 2018 – Subtropical Zone (orange), 2019 – Temperate Zone (green), 2020 – Subpolar Zone (turquoise), 2021 – Polar Zone (purple).

As of February 3, 2017, you can place an order for the Mint State version at the Official Sales Agency for Collector’s Coins in Germany.

A detailed description and the wording of the jury decision can be found here. 

How polymer coins are joined and minted is explained in our article on a visit to the Karlsruhe Mint.

To read our detailed report on the first German polymer coin, please click here. 

In 2016, “Planet Earth” won the MDC Award as most innovative circulation coin. We also reported on this.