By Richard Giedroyc
While countries around the world continue to lament the high cost of raw materials used in the composition of coins the lowly enclave of Transdnistria appears to have the answer to the problem —“composition materials”— more specifically coins made of plastic.
According to the Aug. 20 issue of the Russian newspaper Pravda, “The Transdnistrian Republican Bank (TRB) will issue new currency units that will be made of composite materials. The move is being done to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the national currency. Plastic coins, depending on denomination, will have a different geometric shape and color. According to the press service of the TRB, the new money will combine best qualities of coins and bank notes – high wear resistance and a wide range of security features. The coins for Transnistria were developed in Russia.”
Considering Pravda is a Russia government mouthpiece the final comment about Russia having developed the technology begs the question if perhaps Transdnistria is a test market for future composition or plastic coins elsewhere.
First Deputy Chairwoman of the TRB Olga Radulova appeared on television station First Transdnistrian Channel in August. There she proudly proclaimed, “For the time being this kind of money is not produced anywhere else in the world. This is an innovation not only for Transnistria, but also for the international banking community. The currency units were designed by our colleagues from the Russian Federation and we will be the first to use them!”
Transdnistria was formerly part of Moldova. It broke away in 1992. Since that time Russia has become the only country to recognize Transdnistria as an independent nation. The Transdnistria ruble, first issued in 1994, is on par with the Russian ruble. Non-circulating legal tender commemorative coins as well as those struck for use in circulation are produced at the Russian mints in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
According to Pravda, “Coins made of plastic will be introduced in circulation from 22 August 2014 and will have a parallel circulation with paper money of the same denomination.”
Sources indicate the new coins are made of a special texture with contour elements, micro-printing, and with reflection of light when exposed to ultraviolet and infrared lighting. Plans call for the new coins to circulate simultaneously with bank notes of the same denominations, the bank notes eventually being phased out at some date not yet announced.
The yellow-brown color 1-ruble coin depicts A.V. Suyorov, is round, and has a diameter of 26 millimeters. The green 3-ruble coin depicts F.P. De Volan, is square and has a diameter of 26mm. The blue pentagonal shaped 5-ruble coin depicts P.A. Rumyantsey and has a diameter of 28mm. The red hexagonal shaped 10 rubles depicts Russian Empress Catherine II (“the Great”) and has a diameter of 28mm.
The reverse of each coin includes a diamond-shaped design incorporating the initials of the TRB, the denomination, and 2014 date.
This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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