Poles complaining about the vast amounts of tiny change clogging their wallets and pockets will have to look abroad to vent – the National Bank of Poland announced on Thursday that three of the country’s smallest denomination coins will be made by the UK’s Royal Mint.

The Mint edged out competition from the Mint of Finland, the Royal Mint of Canada and Poland’s own Mennica Polska, a listed company that until now has supplied all the bank’s coins.

The Polish press reports that the Mennica plans to file a lawsuit alleging that the Royal Mint is price dumping to win the contract. Mennica’s bid was 61m zlotys, significantly less than its previous contract, but still well above the winning price.

The three-year contract worth 54m zlotys ($18m) came in significantly below the bank’s estimate of 107m zlotys – the savings are likely to end up bolstering the government’s budget.

The central bank spends about 300m zlotys a year to emit paper notes and coins. It had argued that it makes sense to follow in the footsteps of many other countries ranging from the Czech Republic and Russia to Canada in phasing out its lowest denomination coins, but was shot down by the finance ministry, which worried about the impact of rounding on tax revenues.

The three coins in question are the 1, 5 and 10 grosz coins, with the smallest one worth about a third of a cent. Even in Poland, that kind of money will buy nothing at all.

“It’s absolutely absurd to keep minting these coins,” grumbled a bank official.

The news came after the end of trading on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, where the Mennica was down 0.6 per cent at 16.30 zlotys. The news had been widely predicted in the press, so is unlikely to wreak havoc with share prices.

Related reading:
Poland file, beyondbrics

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