Attendees of the World Money Fair are beginning to gather in the Estrel Hotel in Berlin. It is still early, Set-up is yet to begin. Even though my body has not yet adjusted to the new time, I could still feel the urge for coffee. I went down for breakfast a little bit after 8 a.m. and happily spotted Albert Beck, founder of the show, having breakfast with his wife. We exchanged greetings and good wishes and then I went off to find a table at which to sit.
I had a bit of luck. I stumbled upon the table of the director of the Slovakian Mint. One of his staff was occupying the table alone and he motioned me to a vacant fourth place. The director of the mint and the head of his board returned shortly from the breakfast buffet and made me feel welcome. Only the director spoke English. His mint in Kremnica is 680 years old. He has been director for six years. Slovakia has just become the 16th member of the euro zone. He said they went on a crash four-month program to strike enough euro-denominated coins to be ready.
He noted that the other euro member countries had three years in which to prepare an adequate stockpile of coins. Slovakia used six presses to strike the eight denominations ranging from one euro cent to 2 euro. The mint also strikes coins for many other countries, including Costa Rica. Since I am familiar with that country, I was pleased to learn of the 100 colones that were struck for use there.
The director did not have his business cards with him, so I will not attempt to spell his name here. My apologies. I will make up for it when I visit his booth after the show opens.
On one other note, I happened to hear that Don Willis, president of the Professional Coin Grading Service, had difficulty transiting Heathrow in London. There was a winter storm there that pretty much shut down the country for a number of hours. I plan to get together with Willis after he arrives here for an interview.