Make expensive money. This is how the work of St. Petersburg’s famous Mint can be described. Over several centuries it has changed its original goal to a more specific one – nowadays only rare coins are made there. How does this happen? Yuriy Scherbakov witnessed the production
Using a breakthrough technology for that time, although it was very complicated, St. Petersburg’s Mint released its first ruble back in 1724. Almost 300 years later, the money making process is done through computerized printing machines. But even today it's impossible to trust the computers 100% for the production.
Yuriy Scherbakov, reporter: “So, an artist created a blueprint, approved it with a special commission. What's next? A specialist would tell you. We've got one right here – the head of workshop Andrey Kondratyev. Hello, Andrey. So what happens next?
Andrey Kondratyev, head of coin and medal workshop at St. Petersburg’s Mint: “An artist creates a model according to the blueprint. You can see it here. It's identical to the picture which had been approved. After which its transported to the workshop, to the printing segment, where it is scanned - literally digitalized. There is a special 3-D scanner which scans the blueprint”
It takes a full day just to scan it. Simultaneously, while the model is being created, material for the future coins is being made at a different segment
Andrey Kondratyev, head of coin and medal workshop at St. Petersburg’s Mint: “You can see a silver brick. Which we received from the central bank. This is, basically, the material to create coins. But it arrives here as an ingot. A standard ingot weighs 30 kg”
On the day of the filming, a gram of silver cost around 30 rubles. In other words, you can see about 900,000 in that ingot on the screen
Andrey Kondratyev, head of coin and medal workshop at St. Petersburg’s Mint: “After we roll it, we take a stripe and create carvings on special machinery. And then those will be stamped. And this hewing which is created after the chopping will be used for stamping metal. The stamping segment. The place where blueprints and coins are being made. Here, for example, one of the smallest things we are making. This is gold. 10 mm in diameter, weighing 1 g. Just for an example – it is smaller than a nail on a pinky. Listen, this is fantastic”
By the way, to create such a small thing you would have to use kilowatts of energy to make modern machines run, as well as two weeks of hand labor. Even in the 21st-century the coin production business cannot do without human hands