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Changes to the national sides of euro coins

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The Commission Recommendation lays down common rules for changes to the national obverse sides of euro coins. From 2004 onwards, Member States can issue two-euro commemorative coins to celebrate significant events or personalities. The moratorium for normal national sides is maintained until 2008.

ACT

Commission Recommendation 2003/734/EC of 29 September 2003 on a common practice for changes to the design of national obverse sides of euro circulation coins.

SUMMARY

This Recommendation, drawn up in close cooperation with the Member States, sets out a common framework for changes to the design of the national sides of euro circulation coins. It covers both normal and commemorative euro coins.

No changes to the national side of euro coins until the end of 2008

The Commission recommends that the national sides of normal euro coins intended for circulation should not be modified before the end of 2008, except in the event of a change in the head of state depicted on a coin.

In a communication of 28 December 2006 entitled "Five years of euro banknotes and coins" [PDF] the Commission reaffirmed the visual coherence of the euro.

Issue of commemorative coins authorised from 2004

On 23 November 1998 the Council decided that "there should be a moratorium on issues of commemorative coins intended for circulation in the early years of the new notes and coins". The Commission recommended that the issue of commemorative coins should be authorised from 2004. The Council meeting of 8 December 2003 welcomed the Commission Recommendation (see "Related acts").

From 2004, therefore, Member States may issue commemorative euro coins for circulation and these are legal tender in all the Member States of the euro area. The issue of these coins is subject to certain conditions:

  • Only the national side may be modified.
  • The number of issues is limited to one per Member State per year.
  • The two-euro coin is the sole denomination that may be used for such commemorative issues.
  • The total number of coins put into circulation must not exceed the higher of the following ceilings:

- 0.1 % of the total number of two-euro coins brought into circulation by all the Member States in the euro area; this ceiling may be raised to 2 % if a highly symbolic event is commemorated, in which case the issuer should refrain from launching another similar commemorative coin issue for a period of four years;

- 5.0 % of the total number of two-euro coins brought into circulation by the issuing State.

The design of the national side of commemorative coins is subject to the following conditions in particular:

  • The national side should bear twelve stars surrounding the design.
  • The year must be indicated.

The Commission should be informed about intended changes at least six months before the coins are issued. The Economic and Financial Committee must approve all issues of commemorative circulation coins having an envisaged issuing volume exceeding the 0.1 % referred to above. All relevant information on new designs will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Applying common practice under monetary agreements

The Community has signed monetary agreements with the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City State. Under the agreements, those countries are allowed to issue certain quantities of euro coins for circulation. The common practice should therefore also apply to coins issued by those countries.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Commission Recommendation 2003/734/EC1.1.2004-OJ L 264, 15.10.2003

RELATED ACTS

Conclusions of the Council meeting on general affairs and external relations on 8 December 2003 [Not published in the Official Journal].
In its conclusions the Council welcomes the Commission's recommendations, presented on 29 September 2003. The Council agreed to the following:

  • the Member States should not change the national side of their euro circulation coins until the end of 2008, except where the head of state depicted on a coin changes;
  • the moratorium on issuing commemorative circulation coins should be lifted. That moratorium was introduced by the Council meeting on economic and financial affairs (the Ecofin Council) on 23 November 1998. Thus, from 2004 the Member States may issue commemorative two- euro coins subject to certain conditions, such as the issuing volume.

Commemorative coins in chronological order:

Greece - Olympic Games in Athens 2004 [Official Journal C 91 of 15.4.2004].

  • Design: Ancient statue depicting a discobulus about to throw the discus and the five Olympic rings.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 50 million coins.

Finland - Enlargement of the European Union by ten new Member States [Official Journal C 243 of 30.9.2004].

  • Design: Stylised pillar with shoots growing upwards.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of one million coins.

Luxembourg - Grand Duke Henri [Official Journal C 243 of 30.9.2004].

  • Design: Effigy and monogram of Grand Duke Henri.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 2.49 million coins.

Republic of San Marino - Bartolomeo Borghesi [Official Journal C 298 of 3.12.2004]

  • Design: Bust of Bartolomeo Borghesi (historian and numismatist).
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 110 000 coins.

Italy - Fifth decade of the World Food Programme [Official Journal C 313 of 18.12.2004]

  • Design: A globe bearing the inscription "WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME", from which emerges an ear of maize, an ear of rice and an ear of wheat, representing the world's basic sources of nourishment.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 16 million coins.

Vatican City State - 75th anniversary of the founding of the Vatican City State [Official Journal C 321 of 28.12.2004]

  • Design: A schematic representation of the perimeter walls of the Vatican City with St Peter's Basilica in the foreground.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 100 000 coins.

Luxembourg - 50th birthday of Grand Duke Henri, 5th anniversary of his accession to the throne and 100 years of the death of Grand Duke Adolphe [Official Journal C 11 of 15.1.2005]

  • Design: Effigies of Grand Duke Henri and former Grand Duke Adolphe.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 2.8 million coins.

Belgium - Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union [Official Journal C 61 of 11.3.2005]

  • Design: Effigies of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and King Albert II of Belgium.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 6 million coins.

Austria - 50th anniversary of the Austrian State Treaty [Official Journal C 61 of 11.3.2005]

  • Design: A reproduction of the signatures and seals in the Austrian State Treaty.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 7 million coins.

Spain - 4th centenary of the first edition of "The Ingenious Nobleman Don Quixote of La Mancha" [Official Journal C 131 of 28.5.2005]

  • Design: Don Quixote holding a lance, with windmills in the background. The coin bears the word "ESPAÑA".
  • Issuing volume: 8 million coins.

Republic of San Marino - 2005: World Year of Physics [Official Journal C 244 of 4.10.2005]

  • Design: Free interpretation of the allegorical painting known as "La fisica antica" or the study of the planets, depicting Galileo Galilei. The twelve stars of the European Union are depicted on the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 130 000 coins.

Finland - 60th anniversary of the United Nations and 50th anniversary of Finland's membership of the United Nations [Official Journal C 244 of 4.10.2005]

  • Design: The inner part of the coin depicts a dove of peace formed of pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The twelve stars of the European Union are depicted on the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 2 million coins.

Italy - 1st anniversary of the signing of the European Constitution [Official Journal C 283 of 16.11.2005]

  • Design: The inner part of the coin shows a representation of Europa and the bull. Europa holds a pen and the text of the European Constitution. The words "COSTITUZIONE EUROPEA" form a semicircle on the lower part of the outer ring. The twelve stars appear on the upper part of the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 18 million coins.

Vatican City State - 20th World Youth Day held in Cologne in August 2005 [Official Journal C 283 of 16.11.2005]

  • Design: The inner part of the coin shows a representation of Cologne cathedral with a comet in the upper part of the design. The words "XX GIORNATA MONDIALE DELLA GIOVENTÙ" form a semicircle. The twelve stars appear on the upper part of the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 100 000 coins.

Luxembourg - 25th birthday of the heir to the throne, Grand Duke Guillaume [Official Journal C 20 of 27.1.2006]

  • Design: the left-hand side of the inner part depicts the effigy of His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri looking to the right superimposed on the effigy of the hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, on the right-hand side of the inner part. The date 2006 appears below both effigies.
  • Issuing volume: 1.1 million coins.

Germany - Schleswig-Holstein [Official Journal C 33 of 9.2.2006].

  • Design: The inner part of the coin shows a representation of the "Holstentor", the landmark gate of the town of Lübeck. The twelve stars form a semicircle on the upper part of the outer ring, interrupted by the year of mintage "2006" at the top of the coin. The words "BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND" form a semicircle on the lower part of the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 30 million coins.

Italy - XX Olympic Winter Games - Turin 2006 [Official Journal C 33 of 9.2.2006].

  • Design: the foreground shows a skier racing, against a background of stylised graphic elements: the monogram of the Italian Republic "RI" at the top left, below it the letter "R" and an image of Turin's landmark Mole Antonelliana building. The twelve stars of the EU encircle the design.
  • Issuing volume: 40 million coins.

Belgium - Atomium [Official Journal C 53 of 3.3.2006].

  • Design: The inner part of the coin shows a representation of the Atomium. Twelve stars surround the design on the outer ring of the coin. The monogram "B" appears at the top of the coin between two stars and the year of mintage "2006" at the bottom of the circle between two stars.
  • Issuing volume: 5 million coins.

Finland - 100th anniversary of universal and equal suffrage [Official Journal C 248 of 14.10.2006].

  • Design: The inner part of the coin shows faces. The twelve stars of the European flag are depicted on the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 2.5 million coins.

Republic of San Marino - 500th anniversary of the death of Christopher Columbus [Official Journal C 248 of 14.10.2006].

  • Design: A portrait of Christopher Columbus and a representation of the three Caravels; above the portrait the inscription "SAN MARINO" and the wind rose.
  • Issuing volume: 120 000 coins.

Vatican City State - 5th Centenary of the Pontifical Swiss Guard [Official Journal C 260 of 28.10.2006].

  • Design: The coin features a Swiss guard taking the solemn oath on the Swiss Guard flag.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 100 000 coins.

Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland - 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome [Official Journal C 65 of 21.3.2007].

  • Design: The centre of the coin shows the Treaty signed by the six founding Member States on a background evoking the paving, designed by Michelangelo, of the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome where the Treaty was signed on 25 March 1957. The translation of the word 'Europe' appears above the book.
  • Issuing volume: varies according to the Member States (from 0.4 million in Slovenia to 30 million in Germany)

Germany, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern [Official Journal C 76 of 4.4.2007].

  • Design: the inner part of the coin shows the Schwerin castle. The words 'Meckenburg-Vorpommern' appear underneath it. Twelve stars form a semi-circle on the upper part of the outer ring, intercalated by the vintage year '2007' above the coin. The words 'Bundesrepublik Deutschland' form a half-circle on the lower part of the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 30 million coins.

Republic of San Marino - Bicentennial of the birth of Giuseppe Garibaldi [Official Journal C 233 of 5.10.2007].

  • Design: The inner circle of the coin features a portrait of Giuseppe Garibaldi. The inscription 'SAN MARINO' and the year mark '2007' are engraved along the circle on the left and right hand sides respectively.
  • Issuing volume: 1 30 000 coins.

Monaco - 25th Anniversary of death of Princess Grace [Official Journal C 172 of 25.7.2007].

  • Design: On the inner part of the coin there is an effigy of Princess Grace in profile facing to the left. 'MONACO', followed by the mint mark, the year '2007' and the engraver's mark, is engraved in an arc in the bottom right of the inner part. The coin's outer ring depicts the twelve stars of the European flag.
  • Issuing volume: maximum 20 001 coins.

Vatican City State - 80th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI [Official Journal C 233 of 5.10.2007].

  • The inner part of the coin features a bust of His Holiness Benedictus XVI in profile facing to the left.
  • Issuing volume: 100 000 coins.

Germany - Hamburg [Official Journal C 13 of 18.1.2008].

  • The inner part of the coin features St Michael's church, Hamburg. The name of the federal State 'HAMBURG' is inscribed beneath the church.
  • Issuing volume: 30 million.
Last updated: 05.10.2007

See also

For further information, please consult:

- The European Central Bank: Illustration of coins and useful links on collectable coins.

- Internet site of the Economic and Financial Affairs Directorate-General on the euro.

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