Gnomon: Euro Coins

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When the Euro currency was first introduced, the mnemonic Baffling Pigs was use to remember which countries were in the Euro: Belgium Austria France Finland Luxembourg Italy Netherlands Germany Portugal Ireland Greece Spain.

Not all countries in the EU choice to common currency: Denmark, the United Kingdom and Sweden chose to keep their own currency. Since then other countries have joined the EU and they have all adopted or are in the process of adopting the Euro as their currency. In addition, a few small countries which are not in the EU have also by agreement with the EU adopted the Euro as their currency. These include the Vatican State, San Marino, Monaco and Andorra. All of these mint their own coins.

Euro Coins

Euro coins are available in 8 different denominations: €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c and 1c. Finland decided from the start not to bother with the 2c and 1c coins as they are too small and fiddly. They did, however, produce a few of them before the currency was introduced, so it is possible to buy such coins as collector's pieces, although it is unlikely there are any in circulation.

The basic design of the coins has a standard pattern on one side and a country's own design on the other. The standard side has a map of Europe and the value of the coin e.g. 2 EURO, 50 EURO CENT. This is in Roman lettering even in countries which use a different alphabet (Greece and Cyprus). The country side has the ring of 12 stars from the EU flag and the year, along with a country-specific design which often includes the name of the country.

A very small number of countries also put extra stuff on the edge of the €2 (and possibly the €1) coin.

Some countries have the same design on all 8 denominations. For example, the Irish coins all have a harp, the symbol of Ireland. Others have a different design on each of the eight coins: these include France, Italy and Greece. Still others have three designs - one for mixed bronze/silver €2 and €1, one for the bronze-type coins and one for the copper coins (5c, 2c, 1c).

Country€2€150c20c10c5c2c1cCountry Identifier if any
ItalyHead of Venus (Botticelli)IR monogram
GermanyBrandenburg Gate-
GreeceWoman "Europa" on a cow's backOwl of AthenaPerson: Ioannis Kapodistrias (first Head of State of Greece)Person: Rigaz Feraios (writer and revolutionary)Modern cargo shipSailing shipAncient sailing boatDenomination in Greek: ΕΥΡΩ or ΛΕΠΤΑ
SpainPerson: CervantesESPAÑA
CyprusStatue/CrossStatue/CrossSailing boatSailing boatSailing boatA pair of goatsA pair of goatsA pair of goatsΚΥΠΡΟΣ KIBRIS
Vatican City

Some countries have chosen to produce occasional commemorative coins - limited runs. These are (always?) the €2 coin. Particularly notable for these are Ireland, Germany, France and Italy.


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