Imprensa Nacional – Casa da Moeda (INCM) was established on July 4, 1972, resulting from the merger of Imprensa Nacional and Casa da Moeda. But its history has much earlier roots.

The Lisbon Mint is probably the oldest manufacturing establishment of the Portuguese State, and its continuous operation in a fixed location in the city dates back to at least the end of the 13th century.

Its history is marked by different professional legacies (starting with the organization of the minters, regulated mainly from the reign of King Afonso III, with the first law on the manufacture of the coin in Portugal) and by a long industrial path, with an important socio-cultural dimension that today is reflected, for example, in the philatelic legacy and, in particular, in the numismatic and medal collections in its custody. On a formal level, the first known Regiment dates from March 23, 1498, marking an important moment of institutional organization.

Until 1678, the coinmaking process remained entirely manual, through hammer minting, and was then replaced by screw-balance minting, with a special technical impact on production.

The introduction of steam power in 1835 represented a second key moment of modernization, which continued with the acquisition of the Ulhorn money presses in 1866.

After passing through various premises, from the Sé cathedral to the Paço da Ribeira, on September 12, 1720, the Casa da Moeda was transferred to Rua de São Paulo, where it remained until it moved to its current location 1941.

Mint building, on Rua de São Paulo.
Drawing by Casellas (1891)

In the 19th century, the Mint diversified its production areas.

The merger with the Sealed Paper Department, on July 28, 1845, and the subsequent integration of the Assay Offices, in 1882 (whose history goes back at least to the 14th century, with the first regulation of the goldsmith’s profession and the goldsmith’s trade), added new dynamics to its activity.

The introduction of postage stamps in Portugal in July 1853 introduced the manufacture of postal values at the Casa da Moeda e Papel Selado.

“How the new currency of the Republica will be made,”
Illustração Portugueza
, June 12, 1911, p. 753.

Gumming workshop. “The Mint,
Illustração Portugueza, December 5, 1904, p. 70.

Cutting the silver bars. “The Mint,
Illustração Portugueza, December 5, 1904, p.71.

Meanwhile, on December 24, 1768, under the reign of King José I, the Imprensa Nacional had been created, and since then it has uninterruptedly pursued its public mission of disseminating the Portuguese language and culture through its editorial and cultural program.

The then-named Imprensa Régia (Royal Printing House) was charged with making itself “useful and respectable for the perfection of the characters, and for the abundance and neatness of its printing”, integrating a typographical workshop, a type foundry (or letter factory), a playing card and cardboard factory, and an engraving workshop, which was immediately assigned the mission of training apprentices.

The Soares de Noronha Palace, the former National Press building,
demolished between 1895-1913 [s/d]. Lima’s engraving.

From the mid-19th century, at the dawn of regeneration, the National Press (so-called from 1833 onwards) experienced one of the cycles of greatest technological and artistic development, placing itself at the level of the most important European counterparts, earning it several international awards: the typographical workshop and the complete manufacture of type were modernized, the first mechanical foundry equipment was introduced, and production was standardized with the introduction of the Didot in type production.

The Official Gazette also took shape during the 19th century: the Official Gazette which has its earliest origin in Lisbon Gazette and went through several designations took on the role of an official government bulletin and started being printed exclusively by the Imprensa Nacional, which today ensures its publication in digital format.

Women workers at the envelopes machine of the Imprensa Nacional
at the National Exhibition of Graphic Arts. Iliustração Portugueza,
of October 13, 1913, p.418.

After the technological modernization, the period of the First Republic marked a new phase of valorization of the public publishing house, especially at the social level, giving rise to the introduction of the eight-hour daily work regime in 1913, the creation of support funds for widows and orphans, the canteen, the bathhouse, and the medical post, as well as the first cooperative, integrated into state services.

In 1923, it asserted its cultural role more clearly through the inauguration of its new Library.

During the Estado Novo, the National Press was remitted to the almost exclusive fulfillment of services of public character (publications and official documents), in a context of stimulus to private initiative and political centralization, seeing its professional schools closed between 1934-1946.

Already during the Marcelist period, in 1969, on the occasion of the second centennial, the Imprensa Nacional was transformed into a public company, ceasing to function as a mere state department and finding the necessary conditions for a modern editorial activity.

These transformations culminated, most durably and consequently, in the merger with the Casa da Moeda.

School of composition of the National Press.
Aspects of manual composition [1912-1927].

Livraria do Estado, of the INCM, in Lisbon.

The merger process, which took place on July 4, 1972, resulted from the coincidence of activities between the two industrial units – Imprensa Nacional and Casa da Moeda – especially in what concerns typesetting and typesetting, photomechanics and offset printing, as well as engraving and foundry.

The intention was, in this way, to monetize in a single “efficient productive unit” the production of both, through the articulation of services and areas of intervention.

Jornal do Comércio newspaper,
of October 17, 1973, pp. 36-39.

Jornal do Comércio newspaper,
of October 17, 1973, pp. 36-39.

Among the attributions of the INCM, directly inherited from the Imprensa Nacional, were the publication of the Official Gazette, the editorial activity, the book activity, the teaching of graphic arts (including coining techniques), and type foundry.

The legacy of the Mint included the manufacture of currency, stamped paper, and tax stamps, stamps, postal and other postal values, public debt securities, and commemorative medals, and the sealing of private values.

With the transition to democracy, INCM started a new cycle in the labor, cultural and economic plan. In the early 1980s, the reorganization strategy focused mainly on the creation of the offset and co-publishing sectors, followed in the 1990s by the modernization of photo composition and printing.

On the whole, the technological modernization effort has made it possible to speed up some points in the manufacturing processes, such as the printing of official periodical publications and the printing and personalization processes for bank and non-bank cards, as well as security holograms.

Along with the expected transformation of the DRE into a public service of universal and free access, INCM has been finding a new framework for its activity, currently more focused on the production of security documents with an electronic component, such as the Portuguese Electronic Passport, in 2006, and the Citizen Card, in 2008.

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