The Saint-Petersburg Mint was founded in 1724 by the Decree of Peter the Great.
Peter the Great had planned the foundation of the Mint already at the start of the 1720s. On February 27, 1721 “His Tsarist Majesty decreed in Senate: “For the monetary business to be more prosperous and for the better discretion of the correct model, gold coins should be struck in the fortress of Saint-Petersburg”. It was a logical consequence of relocation of the Russian capital to the City on the Neva.
According to Peter’s intention, the Mint was to become a model enterprise equipped with modern machinery and experienced specialists corresponding to the status of a European capital, as Saint-Petersburg was intended to be.
Finally, in 1724 the coin production was organized in Trubetskoy Bastion of Peter and Paul Fortress.
The coin production in Saint-Petersburg was quite small at first. Only limited quantities of gold coins were minted there (minting of all gold and silver coins was started in Petersburg in 1765 only). The equipment for the Petersburg Mint was ordered in Nurnberg – the center of minting press production in Europe, moreover, Peter ordered to purchase the most cutting-edge presses. Thus, the Mint in Trubetskoy Bastion became one of the most cutting-edge production sites of its profile in Europe.
In 1746 the Laboratory of precious metal disjunction was created at the Mint. Its foundation helped to overcome the dependence of Russia on precious metal export. Russia had purchased not only gold and silver, but also copper abroad for a long time.
It was necessary to master the technology of manufacture of precious metals from ore; its deposits were found in the middle of the 18th century in Urals and in Siberia. The Laboratory in Peter and Paul Fortress combining production and scientific activities was engaged in solving these problems. Thanks to its operation, Russia started using only its own metal for coin minting by the end of the 18th century.
By the end of the 18th century the issue of coins for currency circulation per year reached 100 thousand roubles. But the demand for coins constantly grew, and it was impossible to increase the minting. The Petersburg Mint already needed re-equipping and enlarging of the industrial premises – Trubetskoy Bastion could hardly accommodate the necessary equipment.
The construction of the new building of the Mint in the Peter and Paul Fortress was over in 1805 – 1807. The most cutting-edge machines of the time – the newly invented Bolton’s steam coin-making machines – were purchased to equip the new production site.
In the 19th century the Mint was a huge enterprise with a large number of employees; its industrial premises comprised over 7 thousand square meters.
But the pressure of business demanded urgent transfer of all the machinery to the electric power; that was started in the first years of the 20th century.
With the beginning of the First World war the Government decided to evacuate the plant: the equipment and all auxiliary tools and materials were sent to Ekaterinburg and other cities of Russia. At the beginning of 1918 the Petrograd Mint stopped its main production completely.
Renewal of activities of the Mint was connected with the preparation to the first currency reform in the Soviet Russia of 1922 – 1924. In 1924 because of the renaming of Petrograd the Mint also received a new name – the Leningrad Mint. In the 1920s and the prewar years the Mint developed and launched mass production of new kinds of products – orders of precious metals, insignia, gold bullions and disks for dentoprosthetic rehabilitation. A few orders for foreign countries were also carried out in the same years.
By 1941 the Mint represented a powerful industrial plant, one of the largest in Europe. The range of products of the Mint was increased constantly, the product quality improved, the quantity indexes grew.
During the years of the Great Patriotic war the Saint-Petersburg Mint was evacuated to Krasnokamsk. At the same place, on the premises of the Krasnokamsk Paper Mill of Association “Goznak” the equipment and personnel of the Moscow Printing Factory evacuated from Moscow were located. By the Order of the People's Commissariat of Finance of the USSR dated August 21, 1941 the Leningrad Mint was integrated into Association “Goznak”.
The Krasnokamsk Branch of the Leningrad Mint operated till autumn 1946 and produced the major part of the coin, medal and order products. But already in the spring of 1943 the Mint in the City on the Neva resumed its activity. Under the decision of the Government, medals “For the Defense of Leningrad” were minted here, and since 1944 subsidiary coins were struck. During the war years the issue of award lapel badges of excellent soldiers of various armed forces was increased considerably.
A new period in the history of the Leningrad Mint is referred to its participation in preparing the currency reform of 1961.
During 1961 – 1991 new products for the first time designed for export sales appeared in the assortment of the Mint. A large part of commemorative coins dedicated to the 22nd Olympic Games of 1980 was produced at the Saint-Petersburg Mint. The first products of “proof” quality were also produced at the Saint-Petersburg Mint during the same period.
In 1995 the historical name – the Saint-Petersburg Mint – was returned (“ЛМД” trademark was replaced with “СПМД” in 1997).
Today the plant is equipped with modern equipment ensuring manufacture of any complexity and geometric configuration. Various technological “know-how” are applied successfully: minting of assembled coin-like products of two and three parts, with cover plates and inner inserts of non-ferrous alloys and precious metals. The specialists of the Mint have mastered the technologies of minting coins with the weight from 1.55 g up to 5000 g (in purity) and with the diameter of from 12 up to 130 mm.
In 2004 the jewellery production was launched at the Mint; it’s equipped with the most cutting-edge Russian and foreign machinery necessary for the production of jewellery of various complexity levels, starting with plain rings and up to intricate brooches.