€2 commemorative coins

€2 commemorative coins

€2 commemorative coins are special euro coins minted and issued by member states of the eurozone since 2004 as legal tender in all eurozone member states. The coins typically commemorate the anniversaries of historical events or draw attention to current events of special importance. As of 2008, fifty variations of €2 commemorative coins have been minted—six in 2004, eight in 2005, seven in 2006, twenty in 2007 (including the thirteen versions of the common issue) and ten in 2008. At least one more is planned to be minted in 2008, and four more in 2009 (plus a second common issue, with sixteen states to participate, as Slovakia joins the eurozone on 2009-01-01). €2 commemorative coins have become collectibles. The €2 commemorative coins are not to be confused with commemorative coins (with a face value higher than €2), which are officially designated as "collector coins" and usually made of precious metal. [ cite web | author=European Commission | url=http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/the_euro/notes_coins8787_en.htm | title= Euro coins | accessdate=2008-09-22 ]

Regulations and restrictions

The basis for the commemorative coins derived from a decision of the European Council, which repealed the prohibition of changing the national obverse sides of euro coins from 1 January 2004 onwards. [ cite journal | title=OJ 2003/C 247/03 | journal=Official Journal of the European Union|date=15 October 2003 | url=http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2003:247:0005:0006:EN:PDF ] However, a number of recommendations and restrictions still apply.

Two restrictions concern the design. For one, nothing has changed about the fact that euro coins have a common reverse side, so only the national obverse sides may be changed. Additionally, the standard national obverse sides "per se" should not be changed before 2008 at the earliest, unless the head of state depicted on some of the coins changes before then. (This clause already came into effect for Monaco and the Vatican City, whose heads of state—Rainier III and Pope John Paul II respectively—died in 2005 and whose national obverse sides were changed for 2006.) The moratorium on these changes will be reviewed for extension in 2008.

Further regulations restrict the frequency and number of commemorative coin issues. Each member state shall only issue one commemorative coin per year, and it shall only be denominated as a €2 coin. The total number of such coins put into circulation per year should not surpass the higher of the following two numbers: [ cite web | author=General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union | date=2003-11-17 | url=http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/03/st14/st14941.en03.pdf | title=Draft Council conclusions on the Commission Recommendation on a commonpractice for changes in the design of national obverse sides of euro circulationcoins | accessdate=2008-07-07 | format=PDF ]

* 0.1 per cent of the total number of €2 coins put into circulation by all members of the eurozone. This limit can exceptionally be increased to up to 2.0 per cent if the coin commemorates a very important and noteworthy event; in this case, the member state issuing this higher number of coins should refrain from putting any commemorative coins into circulation for the following four years.
* 5.0 per cent of the total number of €2 coins put into circulation by the member state issuing the €2 commemorative coin.

Another decision [ cite journal | title=OJ 2005/L 186/01 | journal=Official Journal of the European Union | date=18 July 2005 | url=http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2005/l_186/l_18620050718en00010002.pdf ] added two more guidelines regarding the design of the coins. The state issuing a coin should in some way clearly be identified on the obverse side, either by stating the full name or a clearly identifiable abbreviation of it; and neither name nor the denomination of the coin should be repeated on the obverse, as it is already featured on the common reverse side.

These restrictions do not apply retroactively; only new designs—the national obverse sides for regular issues of states newly joining the euro or of eurozone states which change their design, and €2 commemorative coins issued from 2006 onwards—are subject to them. However, the five countries whose designs violated the rules (Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany and Greece) will have to change their design in the near future, which Finland already did for 2007 [ cite press release | title=Designs of euro coins will be amended in 2007 | publisher=Bank of Finland | date=2006-12-27 | url=http://www.bof.fi/en/suomen_pankki/ajankohtaista/tiedotteet/2006/tiedote33_2006.htm | accessdate=2007-04-22 ] and Belgium for 2008.



legend|#CDC3CC|not part of the eurozone]

As of May 2008, fourteen countries have independently issued €2 commemorative coins (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain and the Vatican City), with Greece being the first country to issue this type of coin. Four eurozone countries have not yet independently issued such coins (Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and the Netherlands); Malta plans to do so in 2008, and there has also been common Treaty of Rome €2 commemorative coin issued by all eurozone member states in 2007. (Another one is planned for 2009.)

The face value of the coins is typically less than their market value of between €3 and €12. The exceptions are San Marino and the Vatican City, where coins from the former are regularly sold for between €30 and €40, while coins from the latter are very rarely obtained for less than €100.

Issued designs are made public in the Official Journal of the European Union (references to these publications are given in the tables below).

Note: "In heraldry, directions are often described as they would appear to the bearer of a coat of arms, rather than as they would appear to the viewer. Therefore, the following descriptions will use "facing to the left" when it would appear to the layman that the person depicted is facing to the right."

2004 coinage

2007 coinage

2009 coinage

The other thirteen coins will be issued in the following years; note that some designs are not yet finalised and still subject to change. Originally, the designs for the following states were different:
* Hamburg: Landungsbrücken
* Bremen: City Hall only
* Bavaria: Munich Frauenkirche
* Lower Saxony: Hanover New City Hall, then St. Michael's Church in Hildesheim
* Hesse: Römer in Frankfurt am Main
* Berlin: Reichstag

The series is similar to the United States' 50 State Quarters series, which is issuing fifty coins for its fifty constituent states, five per year between 1999 and 2008, plus six more in 2009 for the District of Columbia and five territories of the United States.




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