Today, Tuesday April 29th, 2014, French regional newspaper Midi Libre presented the euphory of collectors for a new issue of only five thousands pieces... A new discreet issue of special stamps? Golden coins?
No, metallic token for the tenth anniversary of the Millau Viaduct, on the A75 highway. Viaduc Exclusive Diffusion, the company that exploits the rights of the Viaduct's image (created for Eiffage by Norman Forster and al.), ordered them to France's main producer, Monnaie de Paris.
Created in the Ninth Century, Monnaie de Paris is the French official mint. It produced quadrizillions coins before the current euro coins.
It even printed the first postage stamps of France figuring Cérès from 1849 to 1876 and Napoléon III series during the Second Empire, thank to innovative entrepreneur Anatole Hulot and engravers Jacques-Jean Barre and his sons, Désiré-Albert and Auguste. Tired of Hulot's monopoly and delays, not mentioning the clashes between Hulot and Désiré-Albert, the French postal administration gave the stamp printing contract to a Banque de France's printing plant in 1875. Bought by the Posts in 1880, it gave birth to the Atelier des timbres-poste in 1895, currently Phil@poste Boulazac in Dordogne.
Back to Paris Mint, the 2000s were difficult for the Public Enterprise with Industrial and Commercial Purposes (ÉPIC in French acronym) based in the historic and prestigious Hôtel in Paris, rent to companies for their great occasions, and in a plant in Pessac, in Bordeaux suburbs.
Since 2007, current President-Director Christopher Beaux succeeded to transform the old office into a profitable company: producing high quality French proof and uncirculated euro coin packs, commemorative silver and gold euro coins valid in France up to five thousands euro!!!... and a lot of tokens.
Surf through Paris Mint website: official decorations, baccalauréat tokens for happy former high school students, wedding tokens and any kind from comics to art.
For touristic entrepreneurs, the Mint can provide touristic tokens, jetons événementiels, that you can buy at two or three euros in machines near or inside famous places of France.
Eurphory... I hope these collectors will be happy for a long time and won't seek to sell their collections as a whole in ten or so years. Post Second World War new stamp collectors already know the consequences of such an easy-to-get collection.