Bulmint returned as an exhibitor for the 50th edition of the World Money Fair in Berlin

Published on 14 February 2023

Mere days ago, the 50th edition of the World Money Fair 2023 took place in Berlin. It is one of the most prestigious international forums for numismatics and coin collecting - each year government and private mints, manufacturers of blanks, bars and machines, refineries, and dealers from all over the world gather to exchange ideas and industrial experience. This year’s fair held special significance for Bulmint - this was the second time we attended as exhibitors, and two of our experts took part in the Technical Forum, where they presented the newest technological improvements in our production plant.

Bulmint's stand at WMF

But what exactly is the World Money Fair?

The World Money Fair started off as a modest regional event for numismatists and coin collectors. Its foundations were built by the Organization Europäische Münzenbörsen (OEMB), helmed by A. M. Beck - editor-in-chief of Münzen-Revue magazine, in collaboration with seven coin exchanges. It took place in the city of Basel. Over the next few years, the exhibition secured its place as a classical numismatic fair in Bern and Zürich. In 1981, to honor the 10th anniversary of Switzerland hosting the fair, for the very first time, a government mint took part - the Royal Canadian Mint. Aside from showcasing their products, they demonstrated live before a fascinated audience how coins are minted. The garnered interest inspired other coin mints to join in for future editions. Over the years it kept growing - from a European, to an international, and, finally, a world fair. Nowadays it is based in Berlin and over 500 exhibitors from 50 countries take part annually.

In 2019 Bulmint participated for the first time as an exhibitor at the 49th edition of the World Money Fair. The Covid crisis severely impacted the organization of the fair - in 2021 it took place online, and in 2022 it was rescheduled during the summer. Now the most significant fair in numismatics and the coin minting industry is back to its usual format - and we once again took on the challenge of showing the world the full scope of Bulgaria’s manufacturing capabilities and our own evolution over the past two years.

What was the jubilee edition of the fair like for our team?

Networking Event at the Reichstag

The World Money Fair was, first and foremost, an opportunity to exchange know-how. In the spirit of the special occasion, on February 1st - just before the start of the fair - we organized a networking dinner event at the restaurant of the Reichstag building. Representatives of the most respected mints, machine manufacturers and dealers on a worldwide scale attended. The main goal was to provide an environment where the leaders of the industry could exchange ideas and contact information or simply enjoy a nice dinner - and we dare say the evening was a success. The elegant atmosphere of the restaurant, the beauty of one of the most significant landmarks in Berlin, and the pleasant company contributed to the joyous mood of all of our guests throughout the evening and gave a positive start to the entire event.

Bulmint Networking event at the Reichstag

The most valuable gain from this fair was the time spent in a setting where we could freely establish business relations with potential partners from all over the world and secure already existing ones. The solidarity that formed between the different manufacturers during the networking event remained with us for the duration of the fair. More than once, new and old friends paid us a visit at our stand - for business meetings as well as out of interest in seeing our products.

Presenters at the 19th Technical Forum

On the day before the fair, the 19th Technical Forum took place - an international technical conference dedicated to the most innovative technological advances in the world of coin minting and precious metals. The program covered topics from every aspect of coin manufacturing - minting, rolling, die manufacturing and PVD coatings, packaging, design softwares and sustainability in the industry. There were over 400 viewers - including those attending in person and online. The moderators of the forum were Thomas Hogenkamp, sales director of Spaleck, and Dieter Merkle, Schuler board member. The forum included three Q&A sessions, in which audience members could ask the speakers additional questions and learn more about the technology. Our company, represented by Nina Yordanova and Thomas Koeninger, revealed the newest addition to our production plant - a fully automated Spaleck Z44 polishing station, modified in collaboration with the manufacturer to be able to work with silver blanks for bullion products.

Bulmin's experts and their presentation at Technical Forum WMF 2023

This was Nina’s first time as a speaker - we are proud to say her performance was exemplary. The presentation covered the main advantages of the machine over the standard methods - a larger work capacity per day, lower water and electricity consumption and the removal of human error as a factor. It included a video demonstrating the way the Z44 functions and the modification that made it suitable for silver blanks - teflon plates down which the blanks can safely and without scratching slide to the next conveyer belt. This technology is only the beginning of our long-term plan to optimize the production process - the same high quality that secured our place on the market, now on an industrial scale and with a heightened focus on protecting the environment. The presentations were followed by a Q&A session, where audience members could ask the speakers additional questions about their respective topics, with Thomas representing our team. The Forum gave us insight into a number of innovative technologies - many of the new advancements in the industry were geared towards automation, sustainability, and alternative and improved methodologies and softwares in the industry. Among the presenters, we saw famed machine manufacturers, such as Spaleck, Schuler, Gräbener, and many others. A number of coin mints took part, among which were the Royal Canadian Mint, The Royal Mint and Münze Österreich.

World Money Fair 2023

10:00 AM on February 3rd marked the official start of the World Money Fair 2023. Bulmint was situated at stand C20, which consisted of two parts, separated by a closed conference room. The exhibition drew participants and guests from all over the world. The most prominent manufacturers and mints from all over the world attended, but so did talented up-and-comers who sought to prove their mettle before the businesses with a decades or even centuries-old history. Our own team’s goal was to show the leaders in the industry our skills. We placed the focus on our large 999.9 gold and silver blanks weighing 1 kg, 3 kg, 5 kg and 7.5 kg, which require a different and more challenging production method than the standard coin blanks up to 1 troy ounce.

Unveiling the “Vasil Levski - 150 Years of Immortality” 15-kilogram silver medal

One of the most impressive creations in the history of our company premiered at the WMF 2023 - the massive “Vasil Levski - 150 Years of Immortality” medal, made out of 15 kilograms of fine silver in proof matt-gloss quality and a diameter of 22 centimeters. We made this impressive example of modern medalwork to commemorate 150 years since the death of Bulgaria’s Apostle of Freedom - it is our most ambitious project to date and an example of our skills and expertise. This medal was the largest exhibition piece at the fair and an undisputedly popular attraction among the visitors and our fellow exhibitors.

Bulmint's silver medal

For the Bulgarian public, we are about to issue a smaller version of the medal minted out of 999.9 silver, with a proof matt-gloss finish, a diameter of 32.5 mm and weighing 15 g.

World Money Fair 2023 through the eyes of manufacturers and enthusiasts

All those who attended managed to experience the full scope of the art of coin minting - historic coins sat alongside modern ones, stunning artworks of pure gold and silver were displayed within reach of luxury boxes, packages with ingrained security measures and magnifying glasses, and some stands even offered a variety of books on numismatics.

Bulmint partners and visitors at the WMF's stand

Getting in close contact with the huge variety of mints and precious metal product manufacturers - each of them with their own signature style and identity - was an invaluable experience for all of us. The Royal Mint presented the first coin bearing the effigy of the new King Charles III with a nominal value of 50 pence - as per tradition, his effigy depicts his left side profile, the opposite of the late Queen Elizabeth II. The Perth Mint issued a special edition of their 1 oz Kookaburra 2023 silver coin for the WMF - with added colorization. Monnaie de Paris exhibited their recent collaborative project with the Louvre - the “Excellence à la Française - musée du Louvre” set of Ancient Egypt-themed gold and silver coins, the most impressive of which was the 1-kilogram gold coin with a face value of 5000 euro, which stood out with the enamel Eye of Ra and Eye of Horus on the reverse. The Lithuanian Mint unveiled the first in their “World of Cryptids” silver coin collection, depicting Baba Yaga. The Croatian Mint set a new Guinness World Record for the smallest gold coin ever minted, dedicated to the world’s smallest city - Hum. Visitors to the fair could have a look at the miniature piece through a magnifying glass - with a diameter of 1.99 mm and a weight of no more than 0.55 g. Each mint had brought the newest, most topical and interesting products in its portfolio - high relief coins and medals, ones with encrusted crystals, interactive elements, and even a cube-shaped coin made out of 500 grams of silver and 500 grams of genuine meteorite.

Exhibition finale

The World Money Fair came to a close at 4 PM on February 5. Satisfied with our performance and grateful for the opportunities the event gave us, we bid Berlin farewell and set off for Plovdiv, Bulmint’s birthplace. What awaits us next year is the 51st edition - and we plan on returning with fresh ideas and ready to face new challenges.