Smartminting is dead! Long live Smartminting Reloaded! CIT’s groundbreaking tech gets an upgrade.
It was only four short years ago that the Liechtenstein-based masters of coin design, CIT Coin Invest, partnered up with B.H.Mayer, the German mint world renowned for its expertise, to produce a new minting technology called Smartminting. The premise was simple enough. Greater levels of relief, with finer detail for a given weight, or keep a similar level of relief, but expand the diameter for a greater working area. The latter has merits, of course, but Smartminting has become so iconic for its ability to increase levels of sharply-defined and heavily detailed relief, while maintaining sensible coin weights.
The first issue to showcase the technique was a very clever choice on CIT’s part. The stunning statue of Genghis Khan that stands in an isolated part of Mongolia, had already been seen on one of their coins in 2014, so what better way to highlight the enhancements than re-issue that coin with a Smartminted strike. The coin was quite stunning, having an eerie ability to give the impression its eyes were following you around as you looked at it from different angles. What it also did was define just what we were getting with the new technique.
Over the next few years, Smartminting has become a term inextricably linked with outstanding strikes. Applied to a whole range of coins from not only CIT themselves, but from other producers bringing their own ideas to them for realisation in precious metal. Chief amongst those are Numiscollect and Powercoin, both of whom have won numerous awards with their Smartminted designs. Indeed, the three producers have just won another four at the 2019 Coin Constellation Awards. Just a quick look through our own articles over the last four years will give you some idea of the impact it has had.
Smartminting hasn’t stagnated, and has seen a steadily more impressive quality of strike in the intervening period, but the World Money Fair in Berlin gave the company the chance to redefine it with their enhanced version, tagged for the launch as Smartminting Reloaded, although it will continue to be known simply as Smartminting moving forward.
As with the initial debut, CIT have chosen a single design to showcase the technology, but we’ll continue to see its use spread further as the year progresses. It’s an all-new design this time, as they no doubt feel that everyone knows what Smartminting is by now, and they’ve come up with something that showcases just what the new enhancements are. This isn’t a reinvention of the wheel, more a case of sticking a turbo on the engine to take it to ever greater heights. The ‘Majestic Eagle’ coin certainly does that.
Chief among the benefits of the new implementation of Smartminting are going to be very easy to spot moving forward. The 100% increase in the levels of high-relief for a given weight are extremely impressive. It’s easy for us to assume it’s simply a case of striking a metal disc into whatever shape you want, but metal has to flow under pressure, and taking into account how that happens so that you get the end result you want is incredibly important, and why so few are able to pull off coins like this. Now imagine trying to design a coin with ultra high levels of tightly defined relief on BOTH sides of a coin, and you get some idea of the practical difficulties involved, and the level of expertise and
experience required to make it happen.
The new Mongolian coin, ‘Majestic Eagle’ has half of its reverse face set aside for an impressive high-relief depiction of the bird of prey’s head. Another touted benefit to the 2020 iteration of Smartminting is it’s ability to carry that high-relief through to the edge of the coin, so ably demonstrated here. Normally, that would be the end of it and we’d make passing reference to the national emblem on the obverse, but not so here.
Yes, the emblem of the Bank of Mongolia is present, but it’s located on a disc that comes out of the background field at an angle, terminating in a high-relief edge very close to the edge of the coin itself. On top of that, four equally high relief claws are struck into this face. Fortunately, CIT just yesterday uploaded videos of the different versions of the coin, so you can see the way the relief on both sides is done, and it’s certainly eye opening.
So, we have double the relief, two-sided ultra-high relief, and high-relief to the coin edge, so is there anything else? The next benefit seems to be its application to a wider range of metals than before. Smartminting in its first iteration seemed to focus predominantly on silver,with an occasional dabble in gold, but CIT are now promising they can use it for other coin metals – namely copper, platinum and palladium. To prove the point, they’ve issued a gorgeous 3oz copper variant of ‘Majestic Eagle’.
The benefit here is obvious. With copper being so cheap, it’ll be possible to produce some large versions of their most impressive designs, while keeping costs low. Platinum in particular has crashed in price compared to gold, although palladium has never been a great metal for coins given its sub-par ability to hold a reflective surface in the way that silver can. With it now also commanding some ridiculous prices on the spot market, don’t expect to see many palladium numismatics anytime soon. CIT did have an impressive box of variants to show us in Berlin, but we think this will predominantly remain a silver and gold technique, although we’d love to see an increase in copper numismatics as a gateway to experimenting with ever more ambitions releases.
Majestic Eagle is a fine debut for the enhanced Smartminting, offering a wide selection of different variants to suit most pockets. With Mongolian Wildlife Protection, and Tiffany Art now concluded, we’d expect their replacements to really push the envelope as CIT’s new flagship series. It looks like interesting times ahead.
|DENOMINATION||250 Togrog||500 Togrog||2,000 Togrog||1,000 Togrog||25,000 Togrog|
|COMPOSITION||Copper||0.999 silver||0.999 silver||0.9999 gold||0.9999 gold|
|WEIGHT||50.0 grams||31.1grams||93.3 grams||3.11 grams||31.1 grams|
|DIMENSIONS||38.61 mm||38.61 mm||45.0 mm||16.5 mm||33.0 mm|
|MODIFICATIONS||Dual U.H.Relief||Dual U.H.Relief||Dual U.H.Relief||Dual U.H.Relief||Dual U.H.Relief|
|BOX / C.O.A.||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes|
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