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A Euro Coins meme

...also known as "What has it got in its pocketses?"

This being the first weekend of the year, I find my pockets weighed down by change accumulated over the Christmas break. To be precise, I have 39 coins of various denominations, from nine different euro zone countries.

15 of the 39 - 38% - are from the country where I live, Belgium, and feature King Albert II looking firmly to the left. I have at least one Belgian euro coin in all eight denominations.

The next largest group of 10 coins - just over 25% - is from France, one of our neighbouring countries. The €2 and €1 coins feature the tree of liberty, the 20c and 50c coins a stylised sower, and the 5c coins a slightly theatrical Marianne.

Germany is also a neighbouring country and the biggest economy of the euro zone, but I have only five German coins: the 1 German eagle, the 50c Brandenburg gate, and three oak twig coppers.

I was slightly surprised that Spain, Italy and Austria came next; I was in Spain briefly in October, but I haven't been to Austria in over a year and Italy in even longer, so I guess this represents coins in circulation in Brussels. Peace campaigner Bertha von Suttner looks out from two Austrian €2 pieces; the Italian €1 coin celebrates Leonardo and the 50c Marcus Aurelius; and King Juan Carlos adorns the Spanish €2 coin with the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela on the 1c piece.

Finally we have three rulers of three different countries: one dead, the Greek leader Ioannis Capodistrias on the 20 cent (or as it defiantly informs us the 20 λεπτά) piece; and two living monarchs on their respective states' 10c pieces, a rather stylised Queen Beatrix and a slightly more recognisable Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. (Again, I am slightly surprised that I do not have more currency from these last two neighbouring states.)

So, fellow euro-zone inhabitants: what have you got in your pockets?



( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2013 02:41 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth, the drawer of my desk yielded the following haul:

2c (one from Luxembourg)
10c (one from Spain, one from Belgium)
50c (one from Greece)
€1 (one from Germany)
€2 (one from France)

But mostly, I'm going to remember "50c Marcus Aurelius" as a great insult for people pretending to be Stoical.
Jan. 6th, 2013 02:42 pm (UTC)
Nothing, which means Gollum wins and I get eaten.
Jan. 6th, 2013 03:00 pm (UTC)
For 10 cents and above (since I dump all the copper into a big jar), I have 13 Irish, 4 Spanish, 1 Italian and 1 French. That should be a snapshot of what's in circulation in Dublin and Bray, as I haven't been abroad for over a year and spend down all my loose coins on a fairly regular basis.
Jan. 6th, 2013 03:58 pm (UTC)
I have 27 Belgian, 6 Dutch, 9 French, 17 German, 1 Spanish, 1 Portugese and 1 Italian
Jan. 6th, 2013 08:19 pm (UTC)
Heh, interesting that here on the taalgrens I had only one Dutch coin, but where you are, 15km from the border, you get a lot more!!!
Jan. 6th, 2013 08:50 pm (UTC)
Probably because of the tourists. When I was working at the guide office the most tourists where German, then French and then Dutch.
Jan. 6th, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
I think that my biggest problem is that I don't have a clue which country some of these are from.

Eight Belgian coins
one penny I had left from visiting my sister in England
3 spanish two and one cents
one cent with a leaf and acorn on it
two coins with a lady and the letters RF on it and one 2€ piece with those same letters and the motto liberté, egalité and fraternié on it, so I'm guessing all three of them are French
two larger coins with a bird on it
one 50st piece with a guy on a horse riding over some kind of starlike symbol
Jan. 6th, 2013 05:43 pm (UTC)
one cent with a leaf and acorn on it
German - see my pic.

one 50st piece with a guy on a horse riding over some kind of starlike symbol
Marcus Aurelius for Italy - also in my pic.

two larger coins with a bird on it
German eagle? See top, second from right, in my picture.
Jan. 6th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
Well. I'm not a eurozone inhabitant, so my foreign currency jar is a snapshot of what was circulating in Dublin at the end of last August, and contains:

Ireland: 1 x €2, 2 x 50c, 2 x 20c, 4 x 10c, 1 x 5c, 1 x 2c, 2 x 1c
France: 1 x €2, 1 x 10c
Spain: 1 x €1, 1 x 20c
Portugal: 1 x €2
Austria: 1 x €2
Netherlands: 1 x €2
Germany: 1 x €2
Italy: 1 x 10c

I was a bit surprised that the German €2 didn't have the Bundesadler on it, but a city and the inscription "Mecklenburg Vorpommern", so I suppose it's a commemorative of some kind. Somewhere along the line I must have spent the Greek €2 I noticed I had.
Jan. 6th, 2013 05:49 pm (UTC)
That'll be a 2007 commemorative then!
Jan. 6th, 2013 06:30 pm (UTC)
That's the one!
Jan. 6th, 2013 05:26 pm (UTC)
This is Uli in Berlin.

On my desk (it's Sunday, so no money in my pocket):


1 Euro (Spain)
2 x 50 Cent (Germany)
11 x 2 Cent (Germany)
5 x 1 Cent (Germany)
1 x 1 Cent (Austria)

1 x 5 Fr.
2 x 1 Fr.
1 x 20 Rappen
2 x 10 Rappen
1 x 5 Rappen

Jan. 6th, 2013 06:49 pm (UTC)
So although they all use Euros, each country has its own designs? Are they interchangeable or does each only take their own?
Jan. 6th, 2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
They're interchangeable - wouldn't be a lot of point otherwise!
Jan. 7th, 2013 08:22 am (UTC)
So eventually they'll all be totally mixed!
Jan. 7th, 2013 09:02 am (UTC)
It's a good question - of course they've been circulating now for over a decade, so one might have thought that the mixing has reached saturation level.

The reason we don't end up with homogenous mixtures of the coins in euro-land (and indeed that sarah, who like me is in Belgium but much closer to the Dutch border, therefore has many more Dutch coins than I do) is that each country's central bank takes in all other countries' coins but only gives out their own. That means that at the core of every state you have a constant source of your own country's coins priming the pump. Not surprisingly, a French study found that non-French coins are much more likely to be found in areas bordering other Euro-land countries (not Switzerland).
Jan. 7th, 2013 09:16 pm (UTC)
Ah, thanks! I suppose the banks return others to their respective countries if they only give out their own.
Jan. 6th, 2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
I don't collect coins in my pocket. I make change and pay the exact amount to shops etc when I have change. I find it strange that people have lots of coins in their purse or pocket and really strange when people keep coins in jars. Even though in the past year I have been very glad of it. Visiting Dublin is a bad place to be without coinage.
Jan. 7th, 2013 01:51 am (UTC)
I tend to swap the coins in my pocket with the ones in a plastic bank bag, and switch banknotes between the front and back sections of my wallet, when I'm half way between Holyhead and Dublin or Dun Laoghaire on the ferry! One thing I do like about Dublin is that the LUAS ticket machines appear to accept any euro note and give change (though I only tried this with €20 and €10 notes when I bought a 7 day ticket). I notice Iarnród Éireann's machines will only accept €50 notes if the fare's over €30. My pockets are currently full of £1 coins because I paid a £1.40 tram fare in Manchester yesterday with a £20 note - it is painful waiting for the machine to produce 18 pound coins (or occasionally a few £2s), and if you start the transaction as the tram arrives, it will have long left before you get all your change!
Jan. 7th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC)
Looking through my Eurostash, I seem to have:

2 Euro - 1 Finland
50 cent - 1 Germany
20 cent - 2 Germany, 2 Spain, 1 Austria
10 cent - 1 Germany
5 cent - 2 Germany
2 cent - 4 Germany, 1 Netherlands
1 cent - 6 Germany

The preponderance of German coins is probably explained by the fact that my last continental trip was to Scandinavia (about 18 months ago), overland with overnight stays in Germany each way. The Dutch coin may or may not be explained by my travelling out through the Netherlands - but I travelled back through Belgium (admittedly with only about 2 hours between trains in Brussels) and seem to have picked up no Belgian coins. I have never been to Finland, and my most recent journeys to Spain and Austria were both back in the last millennium - so I can't have picked up any of those coins in their countries of origin.
Jan. 7th, 2013 10:32 am (UTC)
I found a grand total of 8 coins. As I live in the Netherlands, you'd think Queen Beatrix should be well represented, but only one coin (5 c.) has her head on it. Three (2 x 20, 1x 5) bear King Albert's head (and not because I've been to Belgium recently, for I haven't). Two coins (1 x 50, 1x 10) are German, one (5) is Spanish and the remaining one (20) is Portuguese.
Jan. 8th, 2013 10:17 am (UTC)
I'm very low on change right now because I've made a conscious effort to spend it more so I pretty much only have coppers:
10 German
3 Dutch
1 Belgian
1 Austrian

I'd normally have a few more Belgian & Dutch coins and usually a few French too, along with an assortment of randoms (I'm in Cologne).
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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