2 euro coin
|Eurozone and Institutions|
|Edge||Edge lettering, fine milled. Exact design varies, see below.|
|Composition||Outer segment: copper-nickel.
Inner segment: three layers: nickel brass, nickel, nickel brass.
|Years of minting||2002–present|
|Design||Numerous variations, see below.|
|Design||Map of Europe with the denomination shown in Latin characters|
The 2 euro coin (€2) is the highest value euro coin and has been used since the introduction of the euro (in its cash form) in 2002. The coin is used in the 22 countries which have it as their sole currency (with 20 legally adopting it); with a population of about 332 million. The coin is made of two alloys: the inner part of nickel brass, the outer part of copper-nickel. All coins have a common reverse side and country-specific national sides. The coin has been used since 2002, with the present common side design dating from 2007.
The €2 coin is the coin subject to legal-tender commemorative issues and hence there is a large number of national sides, including three issues of identical commemorative sides by all eurozone members.
- 1 History
- 2 Design
- 3 Commemorative issues
- 3.1 Types of Commemorative €2 coins
- 3.2 Proposing a topic for a €2 Commemorative Coin
- 4 Similar coins
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The coin dates from 2002, when euro coins and notes were introduced in the 12 member eurozone and its related territories. The common side was designed by Luc Luycx, a Belgian artist who won a Europe-wide competition to design the new coins. The designs of the one and two-euro coins were intended to show the European Union (EU) as a whole with the then 15 countries more closely joined together than on the 10 to 50-cent coins (the 1-cent to 5-cent coins showed the EU as one, though intending to show its place in the world).
The national sides, then 15 (eurozone + Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican who could mint their own) were each designed according to national competitions, though to specifications which applied to all coins such as the requirement of including twelve stars. National designs were not allowed to change until the end of 2008, unless a monarch (whose portrait usually appears on the coins) dies or abdicates. This happened in Monaco and the Vatican City resulting in three new designs in circulation (the Vatican had an interim design until the new Pope was selected). National designs have seen some changes due to new rule stating that national designs should include the name of the issuing country (Finland and Belgium both do not show their name, and hence have made minor changes).
In 2004 the commemorative coins were allowed to be minted in six states (a short interim period was set aside so citizens could get used to the new currency). By 2007 nearly all states had issued a commemorative issue and the first eurozone-wide commemorative was issued to celebrate the Treaty of Rome.
As the EU's membership has since expanded in 2004 and 2007, with further expansions envisaged, the common face of all euro coins from the value of 10 cent and above were redesigned in 2007 to show a new map. This map showed Europe, not just the EU, as one continuous landmass, however Cyprus was moved west as the map cut off after the Bosphorus (which was seen as excluding Turkey for political reasons). The redesign in 2007, rather than in 2004, was due to the fact that 2007 saw the first enlargement of the eurozone; the entry of Slovenia. Hence, the Slovenian design was added to the designs in circulation.
Cyprus and Malta joined in 2008, Slovakia in 2009 and Estonia in 2011, bringing four more designs. Also in 2009, the second eurozone-wide issue of a 2-euro commemorative coin was issued, celebrating ten years of the euro. In 2012, the third eurozone-wide issue of a 2-euro commemorative coin was issued, celebrating 10 years of euro coins and notes.
The coins are composed of two alloys. The inner circle is composed of three layers (nickel brass, nickel, nickel brass) and the outer ring of copper-nickel giving them a two colour (silver outer and gold inner) appearance. The diameter of the coins is 25.75 mm, the thickness is 2.20 mm and the mass is 8.5 grams. The coins' edges are finely milled with lettering, though the exact design of the edge can vary between states with some choosing to write the issuing state's name or denomination around the edge (see "edges" below). The coins have been used from 2002, though some are dated 1999 which is the year the euro was created as a currency, but not put into general circulation.
Reverse (common) side
The reverse (used from 2007 onwards) was designed by Luc Luycx and displays a map of Europe, not including Iceland and cutting off, in a semicircle, at the Bosporus, north through the middle of Ukraine and Belarus and through northern Scandinavia. Cyprus is located further west than it should be and Malta is shown disproportionally large so it appears on the map. The map has numerous indentations giving an appearance of geography rather than a flat design. Six fine lines cut across the map except where there is landmass and have a star at each end – reflecting the twelve stars on the flag of Europe. Across the map is the word EURO, and a large number 2 appears to the left hand side of the coin. The designer's initials, LL, appear next to Cyprus.
Luc Luycx designed the original coin, which was much the same except the design was only of the then 15 members in their entirety and showing border and no geographic features. The map was less detailed and the lines the stars were upon cut through where there would be landmass in eastern Europe if it were shown.
Obverse (national) sides
The obverse side of the coin depends on the issuing country. All have to include twelve stars (in most cases a circle around the edge), the engravers initials and the year of issue. New designs also have to include the name or initials of the issuing country. The side cannot repeat the denomination of the coin unless the issuing country uses an alphabet other than Latin (currently, Greece is the only such country, hence it engraves "2 EYPΩ" upon its coins). Austria also engraves "2 EURO" on the reverse of its coins.
The Austrian design features Bertha von Suttner, a radical Austrian pacifist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, as a symbol of Austria's efforts to support peace. The Austrian flag is hatched below the denomination (which is against the new rules for national designs and hence will be changed at some point) on the left hand side. The year appears on the right hand side.
The Belgian design was chosen by a panel of leading Belgian officials, artisans and experts in numismatics. They chose an effigy of King Albert II designed by Jan Alfons Keustermans, Director of the Municipal Academy of Fine Arts of Turnhout. To the right hand side among the stars was the King's monogram, a letter "A", underneath a crown. The year was lower down, also among the stars. The 2008 redesign included the letters BE (standing for Belgium) beneath the monogram, which was moved out of the stars into the centre circle but still to the right of the King's portrait. The date was also moved out and placed beneath the effigy and included two symbols either side (left: signature mark of the master of the mint, right: mint mark). A third series was issued from 2014, depicting the rightwards-facing effigy of the new head of state, King Philippe, his royal monogram "FP" and the Belgian country code, "BE". The mint marks are included on either side of the year of issuance.
1st Series (2002–2007)
2nd Series (2008-2013)
3rd Series (2014 onwards)
The Cypriot design features the Idol of Pomos, a prehistoric sculpture dating from the 30th century BC, as an example of the island's historic civilisation and art. It was chosen in a public vote and the exact design was created by Erik Maell and Tatiana Soteropoulos. It includes the name of Cyprus in Greek and Turkish (ΚΥΠΡΟΣ and KIBRIS) on each side of the idol. It has been used since Cyprus adopted the euro in 2008.
The Estonian design is a design by Lembit Lõhmus and features a geographical image of Estonia and the word "Eesti", which means "Estonia". The twelve stars, symbols of the EU, are surrounding the map. This was the winning design in a public vote of ten announced in December 2004. The design started to circulate in 2011.
The Finnish design depicts fruit and leaves of the cloudberry, with the date visible at the bottom above the stars. It was designed by Raimo Heino. It includes the initial of the mint master of the Mint of Finland, Raimo Makkonen (an M), to the bottom right.
The French design by Joaquim Jimenez depicts a stylised tree (which symbolises life, continuity and growth) upon a hexagon (l'hexagone is often used to refer to France due to its broadly hexagonal shape). The letters RF, standing for République française (French Republic), stand each side of the trunk of the tree. Around the edge, but inside the circle of stars, is the motto of France: "Liberté, égalité, fraternité". The stars themselves are stylised, linked together by a pattern of lines. The date is located towards the bottom between the stars and the mint marks are located at the top.
The German design depicts the German coat of arms (the German eagle) which symbolises German sovereignty. The date appears at the base of the eagle and the gold behind the stars is etched to give visual effect. It was designed by Heinz and Sneschana Russewa-Hoyer.
The Greek design is a depiction of the abduction of Europa by Zeus, in the form of a bull, shown in a 3rd-century Spartan mosaic. Europa was a Phoenician in Greek mythology whose name, due that that story, is the origin of the continent's name: "Europe". The value of the euro in the Greek alphabet, 2 EYPΩ, is shown below the motif. The mint's mark is to the top right, designer's initials to the left, the word "Europa" (ΕΥΡΩΠΗ) in Greek to the top left and the date on the bottom side among the stars. It was designed by Georgios Stamatopoulos.
The Irish design shows an Irish harp (the Cláirseach, see Clàrsach) used as a national symbol (for example, on the Seal of the President of Ireland). Vertically on the left hand side is the word "Éire" (Ireland in the Irish language) and on the right hand side is the date. The harp motif was designed by Jarlath Hayes.
The Italian design is a portrait of Dante Alighieri by Raphael. Dante was a poet in the Middle Ages and is considered the father of the Italian language while Raphael was a master artist and architect of the High Renaissance. The original portrait, part of the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, is in the Apostolic Palace of Vatican City. The coin was chosen through a televised contest involving a public phone in vote. The interpretation for the coin was engraved by Maria Carmela and it includes the interconnected letters IR (for Repubblica Italiana – Italian Republic), the year and the mint mark are shown to the left of Dante's face.
The Latvian design feature the Latvian maiden with Latvijas Republika written either side.
The Lithuanian design is a design by Antanas Žukauskas and features Vytis (symbol of the coat-of-arms) and the word "Lietuva", which means "Lithuania". The twelve stars, symbols of the EU, surrounds the Vytis. This was the winning design in a public vote announced in 2004. The design started to circulate in 2015.
The Luxembourgian design contains a stylised effigy of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg designed by Yvette Gastauer-Claire in consultation with the government and monarchy of Luxembourg. The left 40% of the coin has the effigy cut off and the style of the stars inverted. The year, followed by Lëtzebuerg (Luxembourg in Luxembourgish) written vertically.
The Maltese design is dominated by the Maltese Cross (the emblem of the Sovereign Order of Malta: 1520–1798, now a national symbol), with the background of a darker hatched texture. The word MALTA is shown with each letter appearing in a segment across the top half of the coin to the edge of the inner circle. The date is shown at the base of the inner circle. The cross was most popular in a public vote and was designed by Noel Galea Bason, the final design once more was most popular of all other proposals and hence was used for the one euro coin. It has been used since Malta switched to the euro in 2008.
The first Monegasque design contained an effigy of Prince Rainier III with the name MONACO was written across the top of the coin's outer circle and the year across the bottom of the outer circle with the mint marks. Upon the death of Prince Rainier III in 2005, and the accession of Prince Albert II Prince Rainier's effigy was replaced with that of Prince Albert's and the name Monaco and the year were brought within the inner circle.
The Dutch design displays a stylised profile of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands over the left half of the coin, with the right hand side containing the words "Beatrix Koningin der Nederlanden" ("Beatrix Queen of The Netherlands" in Dutch) written vertically on three lines and the year written horizontally to the lower right. This design was taken from the former Dutch guilder. The mint marks are located on the bottom of the outer ring and the twelve stars are compressed onto the left side of the coin only, rather than forming a full circle. Following the change of head of state, a new Dutch series was introduced from 2014. It shows the effigy of King Willem-Alexander facing right and bears the inscription "Willem-Alexander Koning der Nederlanden" (William-Alexander King of the Netherlands) with the year of issuance.
|First series (1999-2013)||Second series (2014 onwards)|
The Portuguese design shows the royal seal of 1144 surrounded by the country's castles and five escutcheona with silver bezants set in relation to the surrounding European stars which is supposed to symbolise dialogue, exchange of values and dynamics in the building of Europe. Between the castles is the numbers of the year towards the bottom and the letters of the name Portugal between the upper icons. The stars are inset on a ridge.
| San Marino:
The Sammarinese design features the Palazzo Pubblico, the town hall and main government building of the city state. The date and mint mark is shown on the left, and the name San Marino on the right.
The Slovak design came into use in 2009, when Slovakia adopted the euro. It features the Coat of arms of Slovakia, a double cross on three hills extending across the lower three stars. The background is a relief of rocks, representing the stability and strength of Slovakia. "SLOVENSKO" (Slovakia) is written to the right of the emblem and the date to the lower left. The design was chosen by a public competition and vote in 2005, with Ivan Řehák creating this winning design. His initials appear under the right branch of the cross, and the mint mark under the left branch.
The Slovenian design is a silhouette of France Prešeren, a Slovene romantic poet from the 19th century who inspired much of Slovene literature that followed him. Below his silhouette are the words, in stylised writing, "Shivé naj vsi naródi" meaning "God’s blessing on all nations". This is from the first line of the Slovenian national anthem, which is the 7th stanza of Zdravljica, a poem by France Prešeren. To the bottom left, tracing the curve of the outer circle is Prešeren's name and similarly on the right hand side, divided by a star per letter, is the name SLOVENIJA (Slovenia). The year and mint marks are also placed within the stars. The design came into use in 2007 when Slovenia adopted the euro and it was designed by Miljenko Licul, Maja Licul and Janez Boljka.
The Spanish design has an effigy of King Juan Carlos I designed by Luis José Díaz. To his left on a curved raised area is the name "España" (Spain) and four stars on the right hand size are on a raise area in the same manner. The mint mark is located beneath España and the date on the lower portion between the stars. After the abdication of King Juan Carlos I, a new 2 euro coin features an effigy of King Felipe VI, in profile to the left, with the name of the country "España" (Spain), the date of issue, and at the right is the mint mark.
1st Series (1999–2009)
2nd Series (2010–2014)
3rd Series (2015 onwards)
| Vatican City:
The Vatican design has changed twice. The first displayed an effigy of Pope John Paul II. The name CITTA DEL VATICANO (Vatican City), followed by the year and mint mark, was written in a break between the stars below. Following the death of John Paul II in 2005, a new coin was issued during the Sede vacante until a new Pope was chosen. This contained the insignia of the Apostolic Chamber and the coat of arms of the Cardinal Chamberlain. When Pope Benedict XVI was elected, his effigy appeared on the coins, with the name of the city now broken to his top right with the year and mint mark in the middle to his right. After the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis, a new effigy of Francis appeared on the new series of Vatican euro coins, with the 2 euro displaying the portrait of Francis slightly turned to the left in profile.
1st Series (2002–2005)
2nd Series (2005–2006)
3rd Series (2006–2013)
4th Series (2014-)
The edges of the 2 euro coin vary according to the issuing state;
|Austria||The sequence "2 EURO ★★★" repeated four times alternately upright and inverted.|
|Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain||The sequence "2 ★ ★" repeated six times alternately upright and inverted.|
|Cyprus||The sequence "2 ΕΥΡΩ 2 EURO" repeated twice (2 EURO in Greek and Turkish).|
|Estonia||"EESTI ○" (ESTONIA in Estonian) upright and inverted.|
|Finland||"SUOMI FINLAND" (FINLAND in Finnish and Swedish, the two official languages in Finland), followed by three lion's heads.|
|Germany||"EINIGKEIT UND RECHT UND FREIHEIT" (UNITY AND JUSTICE AND FREEDOM in German), Germany's national motto and the beginning of Germany's national anthem, followed by the Federal Eagle.|
|Greece||"ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ ★" (ELLINIKI DIMOKRATIA: "HELLENIC REPUBLIC" in Greek).|
|Italy, San Marino, Vatican||The sequence "2 ★" repeated six times alternately upright and inverted.|
|Latvia||"DIEVS SVĒTĪ LATVIJU" (GOD BLESS LATVIA)|
|Lithuania||"LAISVĖ, VIENYBĖ, GEROVĖ" ("Freedom, Unity, Prosperity" in Lithuanian)|
|Malta||The sequence "2✠✠" repeated six times alternately upright and inverted|
|Netherlands||"GOD ★ ZIJ ★ MET ★ ONS ★" (GOD BE WITH US in Dutch). The same lettering had been applied to the larger denomination guilder coins.|
|Portugal||The edge design features the seven castles and five coats of arms also found on the national side, all equally spaced.|
|Slovakia||"SLOVENSKÁ REPUBLIKA" (SLOVAK REPUBLIC in Slovak) with two stars and linden leaf between.|
|Slovenia||"SLOVENIJA •" (SLOVENIA in Slovene)|
Austria, Germany and Greece will also at some point need to update their designs to comply with guidelines stating they must include the issuing state's name or initial, and not repeat the denomination of the coin.
In addition, there are several EU states that have not yet adopted the euro, some of them have already agreed upon their coin designs however it is not known exactly when they will adopt the currency, and therefore these are not yet minted. See enlargement of the Eurozone for expected entry dates of these countries. Latvia officially introduced the euro on 1 January 2014, its design for the 2 euro coin is similar to the 5 lati coin's design from 1929 to 1932:
Each state, allowed to issue coins, may also mint two commemorative coins each year (until 2012, it was one a year). Only €2 coins may be used in this way (for them to be legal tender) and there is a limit on the number that can be issued. The coin must show the normal design criteria, such as the twelve stars, the year and the issuing country. Not all states have issued their own commemorative coins except for in 2007, 2009 and 2012 when every then-eurozone state issued a common coin (with only different languages and country names used) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome (1957–2007), the 10th anniversary of the euro (1999–2009) and the 10th anniversary of euro coins (2002-2012). Eurozone-wide issues do not count as a state's two-a-year issue. Germany has begun issuing one coin a year for each of its states (the German Bundesländer series which will take it up to 2021.
Types of Commemorative €2 coins
There are several types of Commemorative €2 Coins:
- Commemorative coins that the euro countries are issued jointly by all EU Countries
- Commemorative coins issued by a single country
- Commemorative coins issued by a number of countries
Commemorative coins that are issued jointly by all eurozone countries
So far, there have been three commemorative coins that the eurozone 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 commemorate the tenth anniversary of the euro is celebrated with a coin called the "10th anniversary of Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union" and the third one in 2012, to commemorate 10 years of the euro coins and notes.
There are €2 commemorative coins that have been issued on the same topic by different member states, two (by Belgium and Italy) to celebrate Louis Braille's 200th birthday, four (by Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Finland) to celebrate 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and two (by Germany and France) to commemorate 50 years of the Elysee Treaty (1963-2013).
Commemorative coins issued by a single country
As a rule, euro countries may each issue only two €2 commemorative coins per year. Exceptionally, they are allowed to issue another, provided that it is a joint issuance and commemorates events of European-wide importance.
Proposing a topic for a €2 Commemorative Coin
Role of the European Central Bank
Designing and issuing the coins is the competence of the individual euro countries. The ECB's role regarding the commemorative but also all other coins is to approve the maximum volumes of coins that the individual countries may issue.
"Unlike banknotes, euro coins are still a national competence and not the ECB's. If a euro area country intends to issue a €2 commemorative coin it has to inform the European Commission. There is no reporting by euro area countries to the ECB. The Commission publishes the information in the multilingual Official Journal of the EU (C series).
The Official Journal is the authoritative source upon which the ECB bases its website updates on euro coins. The reporting process, the translation into 22 languages and publishing lead to unavoidable delays. The coin pages on the ECB’s website cannot therefore always be updated as timely as users might wish.
If the ECB learns of a euro coin that has not yet featured in the Official Journal, only its image will be posted on the ECB’s website, with a brief statement that confirmation by the European Commission is pending."
Role of the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs
The website of the European Central Bank where the Euro coins are mentioned, is not specific on the topic of proposing themes for €2 commemorative coins. It is not mentioned how the €2 commemorative coins that are in circulation today came about.
The coins were minted in several of the participating countries, many using blanks produced at Birmingham Mint, Birmingham, England. A problem has arisen in differentiation of coins made using similar blanks and minting techniques.
- The Turkish 1 New Lira coin (which was in circulation from 2005 till 2008) closely resembles the €2 coin in both weight and size, and both coins seem to be recognized and accepted by coin operated machines as being a €2 coin, however 2 euros are worth roughly 4 times than 1 Turkish lira. There are now some vending machines which have been upgraded to refuse the 1 lira coin.
- The 10 Thai baht coin, first minted in 1988, which is of similar shape and size to a €2 coin but worth around one-eighth of the value has recently been appearing in the coin boxes of vending machines throughout Europe and being given back as change in some smaller establishments.
- The new 50 qəpik coin of the Azerbaijani manat also looks like a €2 coin. The new coin set of the country contains other coins similar to some euro coins.
- The Philippine 10 peso coin is also similar to the 2 Euro coin making it easy to pass for a Euro in some establishments in the Eurozone.
- The Egyptian Pound coin is also similar to the 2 Euro coin making it easy to pass for a Euro in some establishments in the Eurozone. It's worth around 12–13 Euro Cents (1/16 of the 2 Euro coin). It is slightly thicker, with a marginally smaller diameter. In everyday exchanges the similarity is effectively misleading. Its use has been attested in Amsterdam.
- The Mexican 5 peso coin is also similar to the 2 Euro coin. It is worth around 28 Euro Cents (1/7 of the 2 Euro coin).
- "Andorran Euro Coins". Eurocoins.co.uk. Eurocoins.co.uk. 2003. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
- "By UNMIK administration direction 1999/2". Unmikonline.org. 4 October 1999. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "By monetary agreement between France (acting for the EC) and Monaco". 31 May 2002. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "By monetary agreement between Italy (acting for the EC) and San Marino". 27 July 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "By monetary agreement between Italy (acting for the EC) and Vatican City". 25 October 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "ECB: Map of euro area 1999 – 2011". ECB. ecb.int. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- "Total population as of 1 January". Epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu. 2011-03-11. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
- Other commemorative coins of various values are minted, but not for general circulation.
- "5 Lati". World Coin Gallery. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- ECB: Reproduction rules
- Gibbs, William T. (11 February 2002). "Thai bahts causing euro problems – 10-baht coins work in place of 2-euro coins in machines". Coin World. Amos Press. Archived from the original on 2 March 2009.
- Comparison between 5 Mexican peso and 2 Euro coins
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Euro coins (2 euro).|
- "National sides: €2". European Central Bank. Retrieved 18 August 2009.