An undoubted success
March 2002, Volume 39 No. 3
It’s here, it’s a reality and by the time this magazine hits the streets it will be the only currency in use in much of mainland Europe and Ireland. It is of course the Euro and love it or loathe it and all it represents there is no getting away from the fact that it has done something many of us had been hoping for for some time – it has brought something of a revival to this hobby of ours. Amongst non-collectors there is polite interest in these strange coins and notes and our newspapers are daily full of stories about them – from the Irish Euro–note forgery that was printed on one side only through to the Belgian coins that are slightly heavier on the obverse making them land “tails” more times than “heads” and on to the tales of Austrian fury that German Euro coins are jamming their parking meters because they are slightly thicker than they should be! At last coins are newsworthy again and we are able to bask in the fact that, for a while at least, interest in our hobby is again mainstream. However it isn’t just with the newspapers and odd-snippets tacked on the end of news bulletins that the advent of the Euro is making its numismatic mark, we always knew that the new-issue collectors would have a field day, and quite rightly so, but what we might not perhaps have realised is just how this new currency would capture the imagination of so many using it and how it would seemingly inspire a whole new wave of collectors. A precedent had been set of course with the Australian Territories numismatic programme, the Canadian millennium quarters and most notably the US treasury’s “States Quarters” programme, all designed specifically to get people “checking their change” for rarities, varieties etc. but it had not been anticipated that the Euro would have the same effect. Most collectors, certainly in this country, believed that a Euro was a Euro was a Euro, dated 2002 and with only the National obverses to tell them apart. Certainly it would be interesting to try to collect coins from each country but after that was achieved what more was there to do? With Euro coins now in circulation dating back to 1998, with different mintmarks as well as obverses (Germany for example has five mints striking Euros so there are mintmarks A,D, F, G and J to look out for) and certain countries coins seemingly scarcer than others (Coins from Spain, Greece and Monaco being particularly sought after at present) it seems that there is in fact plenty to do and once again collectors are scouring their change, checking their pockets and perusing their purses in an attempt to find those elusive varieties – and with an estimated 128 different 1 Euro coins to look out for in differing combinations of country, date and mintmark there are more varieties than many of us ever thought possible. Of course it isn’t just the mints or coin dealers who are benefiting from this interest, with accessories manufacturers quick to see the potential in this new currency and, just as happened in America with the States quarters, so in Europe too there is now a plethora of boxes, capsules, albums, collectors cards etc just waiting to be filled with these new coins. Whether the Euro works as a currency remains to be seen, but as an aide to encourage growth in, and expansion of, our hobby it has, so far, been an undoubted success.
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