After 185 years of production, The Royal Mint of Belgium is set to close forever.
The Royal Mint of Belgium struck its first coins in 1832, just two years after the institution was founded, but the long standing mint will cease operations forever on January 1st 2018.
From the end of the 1990’s the Belgian Mint started producing euro coins ready for the switch from the Belgian Franc to the euro at the start of 2002. And the nation considers itself one of the pioneers with regards to the introduction of the euro as it was Belgian chief engraver Luc Luycks who designed the obverse side of all euro coins.
Unfortunately the Federal Government feels it has become too expensive for the Royal Mint to carry on producing coins itself and has decided that a private company should produce Belgian euro coins. And with more and more people paying electronically there is less and less need for coins.
Instead, the task of striking coins is being outsourced to a private company in an effort to save money.
The Royal Belgium Mint caused a stir back in 2015 when they issued a €2.50 coin to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo after France forced it to scrap a €2 coin with the same purpose.
Paris objected to the Belgian coin, commemorating the French emperor’s defeat by British and Prussian forces, branding the commemoration of Waterloo as a “symbol that is negative” which would “undermine the unity of the Eurozone.”
Belgium was forced to get rid of about 180,000 €2 coins that had already been minted after Paris sent a letter saying they could cause an “unfavourable reaction in France”.
But Belgium managed to skirt the French protests by taking advantage of a European rule stating that Eurozone countries are permitted to approve their own coins without approval of other member states, providing the new denomination as an irregular one. In this case the irregular denomination was €2.50.
The Royal Belgium Mint strikes more than 40 million coins a year but the final batch of commemorative coins have now been minted, ready to close its doors in just over a month.
The last coins ever struck at The Royal Belgian Mint were the special €2 coins issued to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Ghent University.
The special coin features an engraved logo of the University of Ghent with the dates 1817-2017. The Belgian mintmark, a helmeted head of the archangel Michel, as well as the mintmaster mark, the armorial bearings of Herzele city, are located respectively on the right and on the left of issuing country indication ‘BE’ (meaning Belgium). The12 stars of the European flag are represented on the external ring of the coin.
Own the last coin struck at the Royal Mint of Belgium – limited availability
We have been able to secure a very limited number of the last ever coins struck at the Royal Mint of Belgium Mint
They are available now for just £15.95. Click here to reserve yours >>
In March we shared a story on our Facebook page about a new €2 coin proposed by Belgium to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo in this, its bicentenary year. France made it very clear they would not welcome any such design, branding the commemoration of Waterloo as a “symbol that is negative” which would “undermine the unity of the Eurozone.”
This caused more than a little grievance with Belgium, who had already struck around 180,000 €2 coins ready for circulation, prior to receiving the veto letter from Paris.
Now, in an unprecedented and surprisingly provocative move, Belgium has moved to defy France and issue a new coin which takes advantage of a European rule stating that Eurozone countries are permitted to approve their own coins without approval of other member states, providing the new denomination is an irregular one.
In this case the irregular denomination is €2.50.
The reverse design features the Lion’s Mound monument which currently stands at the Waterloo battlefield, as well as lines indicating the position of the troops.
Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat and ultimate exile in 1815 still leaves a bitter taste with the French, but Belgium have denied acting antagonistically.
Belgian finance minister, Johan Van Overtveldt, defended the new coin by emphasising the magnitude of the occasion; “There’s been no battle in in recent history as important as Waterloo, or indeed one that captures the imagination in the same way.”
Regardless of intent, the new coin has caused quite a stir, with the story being picked up by the worldwide media.
There are only 70,000 new coins which will all be legal tender in Belgium, but it is thought that collectors will be very quick to snap them up considering the controversy over their release.
** Unfortunately this has now SOLD OUT **
We have been able to secure a very limited number of the new Waterloo €2.50 coin from Europe.
They are available now for just £9.99, however, we are expecting them to sell out in record time – so please be quick to reserve yours!