“For the coin you order, you have to wait like three months. As soon as we are dealing with ‘refinishes’ that we do not have in stock, we collect orders and then send them out at once,” Jaroslav Černý, marketing director of the Czech Mint, describes the practice for SZ Byznys.
The factory, which stands on the premises of the former Preciosa in Jablonec nad Nisou, is now busy. In addition to the production of currency for the Czech National Bank, investment and collector pieces are also minted more and more here. In the last five years or so, interest in them has been increasing dramatically. “Our capacity is full, there are considerations about a third shift, but we are running out of manpower,” says Černý.
The big impetus for the “gold rush” was the pandemic, followed by high inflation and, thirdly, the war in Ukraine. “People are seeing the money they have in their account losing value. Gold is a store of value. But there is interest in him in the crisis as well as on the rise. People have taken gold as insurance since ancient times,” says Černý. However, according to investment experts, only a small part of investments should go into gold, perhaps up to 10 percent.
According to the investment gold seller Zlato.cz, Czechs have roughly twice as much gold at home as there is in the safes of the Czech National Bank (ČNB). It held 10.6 tons of the yellow metal at the end of last year and intends to increase its reserves under the new governor. While, according to official sources, households have acquired 19.35 tons of investment gold since 2009.
We spit out a new coin every day
The mint is currently producing once as many coins as it did five years ago. “We are double what we produced in 2017. We have issued more than 250 during the year. Every day we drop some new commemorative coin or medal. It is in the order of hundreds of thousands of pieces,” Jaroslav Černý describes.
They have a wide assortment at the mint. “We start from a half-gram coin to a ten-kilogram coin, with which we are entered in the Guinness Book of Records,” says Černý. The biggest interest is in small pieces. “The smallest is ’35 ounces’, the price is around 2,600 crowns. That ten-kilo coin was worth some 15 million,” says Jaroslav Černý.
The most popular motif is the Czech lion. “It is a flagship coin that we have minted at the mint since 2017, this year is our fifth anniversary. Last year we started minting the tolar. And we mint investment coins with an eagle for the Slovak Republic,” explains Černý. Motifs with well-known or historical figures are also popular.
Charles IV. or Gott. People take everything
Emperor Karel IV, singer Karel Gott and footballer Pavel Nedvěd passed through the stamps in Jablonec. Next year, golden Czech Olympians could appear in gold. “We are working hard on the emissions plan for next year. We would like to make golden Czech Olympians. We are discussing with the Olympic Committee which personalities to select from the very beginning of the games,” Černý claims.
In times of extreme interest in gold, however, it is not entirely easy for the Czech Mint to obtain the raw material. “We don’t have a foundry, we have to buy ready-made pieces (empty, unminted coins, editor’s note) in gold, silver, platinum. The offer within Europe is not wide, but we manage to get sources from Spain, Bulgaria, Great Britain,” explains Černý.