Mont-de-Piété in Brussels presented its joint project with the Dutch Royal Treasury on Friday. The Dutch Treasury began making coins with Belgium on the 1st of January 2018. The new Belgian coin is a 2.5-euro coin that commemorates the pawnbroker’s 400th anniversary.
This is the third Belgian commemorative 2.5-euro coin issued officially since the 2.5-euro unit was introduced in Europe. A griffon, the institution’s symbol, is on one side of the coin. There are two versions, a French one and a Dutch one. A limited amount of 25,000 coins have been produced. The price has been set at 10 euros.
Mont-de-Piété was started in Italy in the 15th century, but pawnbrokers have probably existed for a lot longer. Monk Barnabé de Terni came up with the idea of creating of a charitable institution that lent money against goods to combat the greed of usurers at the time. According to historians, the institution was created in Perouse, in the centre of the Italian peninsula, in 1462. It was named Mont-de-Piété.
Like in Italy, Mont-de-Piété spread rapidly through most towns in Belgium. Historians count more than 20, but they all closed one after the other. The only exception was the one in Brussels, which was the first to open and remains the only one in Belgium. A book on its history will be published by the end of the year.
Mont-de-Piété in Brussels was renovated for its 400th birthday. The results were unveiled in December 2017. The festivities for its 400th anniversary started at the end of January 2018, with a ceremony at the Brussels town hall. This year also saw the launch of the Tanteke beer, the inspiration behind Mont-de-Piété being invited to the official Ommegang tribune, the “From Stone to Jewellery” exhibition, a jewellery creation competition, a sale to benefit Télévie 2019 and a barbecue for King Philippe’s visit on the 19th of June.
The institution let customers benefit from the profit made during the 2008 crisis by allowing those that only had one pawn on the 1st of February to withdraw it for free if it wasn’t already listed in a sale and the capital borrowed was less than 100 euros. New customers (borrowing or selling) that had been recommended to Mont-de-Piété were able to enter a draw where the top prize was around 500 euros. The winner will be drawn at the end of 2018.