Belarus Looks to Contract with Prague Mint|
January 02, 2014
The coins of Belarus may not be must-have items to collectors in the United States. Nonetheless their national bank is looking to negotiate a contract with the Prague Mint in the Czech Republic due to “vigorous development of the [Belarus] numismatic market.”
That is the exact description of the market as described in an Oct. 8 BelTA news report regarding the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.
The announcement was made by NBRB Deputy Chairman Sergei Dubkov during an Oct. 8 international numismatic conference held in Minsk. Dubkov said, “We choose the most comfortable financial terms and are always intent on having innovative coins made.”
Belarus, previously known as Belarussia during Soviet times, has no mint of its own. It is one of the few countries in the world that has never issued coins for circulation, inflation being the likely reason.
Slovakia has offered to mint circulation coins for Belarus, and has reportedly produced prototype coins in kopek and ruble denominations. Most of the Belarus recent commemorative coins have been struck at mints in Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Switzerland.
Dubkov did not identify the market that is vigorously purchasing Belarus commemorative coins, but he did name the Sberbank of Russia as one product outlet.
What are these innovative coins? The BelTA quoted a source as saying, “if such coins are sold as part of international programs and some releases are virtually completely sold abroad, we advertise Belarus. A beautiful coin with innovations attracts attention. Every coin always bears the emblem and the name of our country.”
The article continues, “Thus, the NBRB promotes its products as a national brand and as products of the bank, said the source.”
Dubkov’s comment, “The coins we release are sold virtually immediately” might be expected, however some of his additional comments did give some hints regarding what is really going on with the commemorative coin program.
Belarus releases small mintages of each coin. Some of each coin are given to domestic museums, where it is likely they are displayed.
On the surface it appears Belarus will issue coins for just about any occasion. The central bank web site lists individual commemorative coins marking such events as the 80th anniversary of the financial system (Belarus has been an independent nation for about 20 years), the Battle of Grunwald (fought between the Teutonic Knights and Poland-Lithuania), and 20 years of diplomatic relations between Belarus and China.
Some coins have been issued in series. The central bank website identifies these series as marking such events as the 60th anniversary of liberation of the republic of Belarus from the Nazi invaders (Belarussia was part of the Soviet Union at the time), 60th Anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War (World War II), tales of the world’s nations (fairy tales), Slav’s family traditions, Orthodox Christian saints, signs of the zodiac, the Three Musketeers, the solar system, and more.
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