We’re now into the peak of summer and many of us have already returned from our summer holidays with slightly lighter pockets than when we left. That is, I’d imagine, the truth for most people, apart from perhaps us coin collectors. I recently returned from France with a new collection of Euro coins. Before I left, my coin collection only consisted of UK coins, so I set off on my holiday excited to expand my collection.
Like the pound, the Euro is a decimal currency with the same structure to its denominations – €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, 1c. Euro coins differ to our own mostly in colour, but there are a few other obvious differences – all Euro coins are round and the €1 is also bi-metallic.
The Euro coins have a common or ‘European’ side and a national side. The national side indicates the issuing country and is designed by that country. Conversely, the common side features on all Euro coins, regardless of the issuing country, and include images of the European Union or Europe, symbolising the unity of the EU. The common side designs were created by Mr. Luc Luycx of the Royal Belgian Mint.
By my count there are currently 248 different national sides. On top of that, there are a further 184 commemorative €2 designs. That takes a Euro circulating coin collection to 432 coins – an investment of €488.28. Given that 23 countries use the Euro, we can count ourselves lucky here in the UK to have over 100 different circulating coin designs to collect!
Up until 2012, each country was entitled to produce one €2 commemorative coin per year, but since July 2012, Euro countries may now issue two per year. They are only allowed to issue a third if it is issued jointly with another Euro country and if it commemorates events of Europe-wide importance. So far, there are three commemorative coins that Euro countries have issued jointly: the first, in March 2007, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the second, in January 2009, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Economic and Monetary Union, and the third, in January 2012, to commemorate ten years of Euro banknotes and coins.
So I suppose, like me, you’re wondering: with so many Euro coin designs to find, how easy is it to find them all? It would appear that it’s not that easy at all! Each country issues its own designs, and although they do ‘migrate’ between Euro countries, for example finding an Irish Euro in Germany may prove difficult. Euro coins can be used in any Euro country, but with 23 countries using them, you’re relying on holidaymakers to transport the designs across the Eurozone – so a fair bit of travelling may be required to collect them all.
If you’re not going on holiday this summer, there are plenty of coins to collect here in the UK. There are over 100 different designs on UK circulating coins that you can find in your change right now! Take a look at our website for more information.
And if you have just come back from your holiday, before you shove all those spare foreign coins into a jar, take a little look and see what little treasures you might have brought home with you!
We’d love to know more about your collections! What foreign coins are in your collection? What recent additions have you made? How are you getting on with your Coin Hunt? Share your collections with us on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts using #CoinHunt or #StrikingStories.