The right to mint coins belonged to a sovereign in the distant past and the coin used to be considered his property. At that time, a mintage of coins was one of his priviliges and it included the right of control over a coin quality as well circulation of coins. The application of the minting privileg was administered by a royal mintmaster.
From the 10th till the 13th century, there were several mints located in our country. However, the mint in Prague belonged to those most important ones in Bohemia.
The Prague tradition of coin minting is older than the tradition of minting in Kremnica (1328) or Vienna (1194). Prague, however, unlike these cities, cannot boast of a continuous minting activity.In its thousand-year history, there alternated periods of minting of famous coins with long breaks, when the mint was closed. And there also changed the founders as well as the place of the mint´s action.
The earliest stage of the Prague mint coin production is represented by the mintages of the second half of the 10th century to the early 11th century. Although until the end of the 13th century the position of the Prague mint was undoubtedly important, the local production cannot be identified reliably. At the beginning of the 11th century, the marking of mints is disappearing from the Bohemian dinars namely.
The very beginning of minting the Prague Groschen in 1300 could take place in Prague, as its name suggests. Right the famous Prague Groschen of Wenceslas II. were after all the top of the minting art of that time, especially for the level of the mintage. The centralization of the Czech minting and the introduction of the Prague Groschen in 1300 resulted however in the transfer of minting activities to Kutna Hora and the end of minting of coins in Prague.
However, already around 1325, the mintage was restored in Prague. There were also struck the ever first gold coins of the Kingdom of Bohemia – the florens (1325) in Prague. For the mintage of florens the king John of Luxembourg invited experts from the Tuscan Florence. The coins were minted from gold mined in Bohemia. The mintage of these coins came under the royal chamber directly and it was concentrated in Prague. The abundant production capacity of the mint in Prague increased sharply under the reign of Charles IV., who had closed the mints in Kutná Hora and Jáchymov.
The regular mintage of a gold coins was restored another time again – namely under the reign of Wladislaus II. Jagiello and Luis I. Jagiello. Continuously, Ferdinand I. kept on striking the golden ducats as well. It was during his reign in 1539, when also the regular mintage of silver coins was restored, which with a number of breaks lasted until 1856.
In 1927, works on the project of a new mint´s establishment in Prague were initiated. Nonetheless, this project was cancelled and the Czechoslovak coins were minted in the Slovak Kremnica. Nor the Protectorate government wished Prague the own mint house later. After the separation of Slovakia, coins were minted in metal furniture factory Vichr a spol. in Lysá nad Labem. After another split of Czechoslovakia in 1993 there was no space for the foundation of a mint found. Hence in a time pressure, a new mint rose on the foundations of a company with a jewellery tradition in Jablonec nad Nisou.
Various places, houses and palaces, the history of which figuratively speaking is marked by minting activities, can be found throughout Prague.
Prague's historically oldest mint is believed to have been situated at the Prague Castle near the Third Courtyard.
It is possible however, that first coins were minted in the settlement around the castle in the Lesser Town Square and yet later began being minted at the Castle. The minting activities in Prague are documented by coins provided with a marking of a place of mintage PRAGA CIVITAS (City of Prague).
The workshop from the lower castle is supposed to have moved up to Vyšehrad, where it worked for a certain time. It is the dinars from the local Přemyslid mint after all (historical coins), the rim inscriptions of which bring the first written evidence about the existence of Vyšehrad.
There were created upto thirty-two type versions of Bohemian dinars in this mint between 992 and 1012. The obverse side of the most of Vyšehrad dinars are provided with the sovereign´s name (usually BOLEZSAV or BOLEZLAUS) followed by the title DVX. The most frequently presented are BOLEZSAV or BOLEZLAUS. The reverse side bears the minting place VAISGRAD, VSIGRAD or VITTEGDAD. Characteristic for the Vyšehrad mint is the use of Slavonic words instead of the usual expressions in Latin.
The large building on the corner of Celetná Street and the Fruit Market is the place, where the Queen´s of Bohemia court in the 14th century was located. Thus the Queen´s court was situated very near the King´s court. After the death of the King Wenceslas IV., the residence on the road from the rich silver mines of Kutná Hora was purchased by the Old Town community and transformed into a mint house, which ceased to exist in 1434, renewed then in 1539 again.
The mint palace in Prague was built after 1755 on the site of three medieval houses in Celetná Street by the supreme mintmaster, the count František Josef Pachta of Rájov according to plans by A.Kuntz. By order of the Emperor the mint ended its activities in 1784.
The facility was transferred to the house of “bankal-administration” in today´s Hus Street.
The newly created Pražská mincovna a.s. (Prague Mint Inc.), founded in 2011 and located in the building of the Municipal House, endeavours to restore this ancient tradition of coin minting in Prague.