More polymer: the new German commemorative coins series

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by Ursula Kampmann
translated by Annika Backe

September 1, 2016 – On August 25, 2016, the German Federal Ministry of Finance announced its plans to release, between 2017 and 2021, a five-part edition of 5-euro commemorative coins that will be equipped with a colored polymer ring. 

Right after being released, the commemorative coin “Planet Earth” became very popular with collectors in Germany and abroad. Photo: UK.

The issue is a follow-up on the first 5-euro commemorative coin “Planet Earth”, which was released in April 2016. Already prior to its official release date, the Mint State version was out of stock. Available at its face value at banks and savings banks, the FDC version also disappeared from circulation right away. Currently, they can only be purchased in the coin trade at a price several times their nominal value. 

The motif: climate zones of the earth

The series is planned to start in 2017, commencing with an issue focusing on the “Tropical Zone” and ending in 2021 with a “Polar Zone” coin.
Each polymer ring will have its distinct color, according to the prevalent climatic conditions of the individual zones on the basis of the temperature color scale: from hot (red) to cold (purple). Accordingly, the 2017 issue will constitute of a translucent red polymer ring. Each of the five German mints will manufacture the coin with a polymer ring of a different shade of red.
These are the planned issues: 2017 Tropical Zone (red), 2018 Subtropical Zone (orange), 2019 Temperate Zone (green), 2020 Subpolar Zone (turquoise), 2021 Polar Zone (purple).

Mintages and sales volumes

The total mintage of each coin will amount to 2.3 million, with 300,000 Mint State specimens for the collectors. The very first coin of the initial issue is scheduled for spring 2017. At a face value of 5 euros, the FDC version will be distributed through the branches of the German Central Bank. The Mint State specimens will be available for sale at the German Sales Agency for Collector’s Coins, at a price higher than the face value. 

The new polymer blanks are manufactured with a Schuler press exclusively designed for the joining. Photo: UK.

An internationally awarded innovative technology

Having played a crucial part in the coin’s development process, the German Mint directors Günther Waadt (Bavarian State Mint) and Dr Peter Huber (State Mints of Baden-Wuerttemberg) together received the 2016 MDC Award for Most Innovative Circulation Coin for the German “Planet Earth” polymer coin. 

How coins with a polymer ring are manufactured can be read in our article “A visit to the Karlsruhe Mint”.

And of course Coins Weekly also reported on the other winners of the MDC Awards.