Photographer: Michele Limina/Bloomberg

150 Million Reasons to Visit the Swiss Mint

Swissmint makes all of Switzerland's coins, and with 5.3 billion in circulation the total weighs 17,000 metric tons worth almost 3 billion francs ($3 billion). Last year, the mint produced 150 million coins. The press for 5 francs can make 50,000 per day — each one embossed with pressure equal to the weight of 220 VW Golfs. After pressing, they're packaged into rolls and shipped to the Swiss National Bank for distribution. Photographs by Michele Limina/Bloomberg

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    A die for a Swiss 20 rappen coin sits on a desk inside Swissmint.

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    Blank metal coins, or 'planchets,' flow into a storage bin before the minting process. 

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    Rolls of steel sit stacked on a shelf, awaiting processing. Demand for coins has been growing, resulting in annual production rising by a third in the past two decades. 

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    Plaster models for commemorative coins hang on the wall. The Swissmint produces numerous collector coins in gold, silver, bimetal and cupronickel, as well as circulation currency.

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    A Swissmint engraver refines the reduction punch for the minting process of the Edelweiss commemorative coin.

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    The design for a nickel Swiss 50 rappen coin sits by tools in the workshop area. 

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    A freshly struck Swiss 20 rappen coin is inspected. This 4 gram coin features the Libertas head on the reverse.

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    A newly minted for 2016 Gotthard tunnel commemorative coin sits inside a presentation box. The coin depicts the north portal in Erstfeld of the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

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    Forgeries of the highest-denomination 5 franc ($5) coin have surged in the past two years, with criminals seeking to profit from one of the world’s most valuable pieces of money circulated for daily use. 

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    Freshly struck Swiss five franc coins roll off a conveyor. The coining presses can mint up to 750 coins a minute.