Written by Tom | Published on 17th January 2022
The Euro coin in your pocket or lying around your home might just represent its given value. But for collectors and numismatists, Euro coins can be sought-after pieces for coin lovers’ collections. Our coins expert, Jacopo Corsi, shares everything you need to know about collecting Euro coins including how to tell if they have value and what you need to do when it comes to selling them.
How do you identify a Euro coin
The European Union is a fascinating enterprise on any day but its currency in particular is a window into its unique nature. Comparatively few groups of countries share a currency with such a variety of denominations. 23 countries mint the Euro coin, however, the designs vary. There is a common side shared by all member states—depicting the value, the European map and stars of the flag—and a national side, showcasing each nation’s specific design. While the national side of each country’s coin often uses similar motifs (i.e. the face of a notable person or a coat of arms), the content differs. And with eight denominations of Euro coins that include 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and €1 and €2, in some countries the national design can vary across every type of coin. Particular highlights include the Cypriot €1 and €2 coins which depicts a cruciform idol from around 3000 BC as a nod to the country’s roots as a place of antiquity, and Finland’s €1 coin with its illustration of two flying swans, an animal that is a distinct part of the country’s fauna.
Why are Euro coins worth collecting
It’s the variety and difference that makes Euro coin collecting so rewarding, explains Jacopo Corsi. “Collecting Euro coins is a great way to approach Numismatics and coins collecting”, says Jacopo. “It is also a great way to learn geography and history, thanks to the commemorative designs of coins. Equally, it’s a collection that can be done by everyone, because of the accessible prices of many coins.
Which types of Euro coins are valuable?
Determining the value of coins generally requires some basic knowledge, but according to Jacopo, it’s the commemorative editions of Euro coins that tend to have the most value. “The most common commemorative pieces are the €2 coins, with countries able to issue two per year, but there are several releases every year with unusual denominations, such as 1/2, 3, 5, 10, 50,100 Euro and many others”.
“Commemorative coins are produced by national mints of the EU countries and made specifically for collectors, offered in official boxes and blisters (specific holders for coins)”, he explains. “The "hidden dream" of any Euro coins collector is the 2007 €2 ‘Grace Kelly’ released by Monaco”.
Equally, coins wrongly struck can be highly prized collectors items. These are coins that were incorrectly manufactured by a mint, the result of both human and machine error. “Misstrikes are very appreciated by collectors since they can also be found among circulation coins of today”.
How to identify a misstrike
For the average person, it’s hard to identify a coin that’s been improperly struck. Some coins may look unusual due to the wear of their condition, which is different from a design error, explains Jacopo. “If a number is gone, the surrounding features will also be gone if it is simply worn. However, if the stamp used to strike the coin was broken, it would have different features (such as extra metal upwards). These misstrikes are not that valuable though. The most valuable misstrikes are off-center strikes”.
“Some of the bi-metallic coins, especially €2, show interesting production defects on the planchets (a blank coin). Another case is when the two dies are coupled improperly: for instance, the Italian Mint in 2002 struck a 1 Cent coin on the planchet of a 2 Cent coin! The problem is that the reverse shows the 1 Cent side, while the obverse side shows the 2 Cent side, depicting a monument in Turin called Mole Antonelliana.”
When to consult a numismatist expert
Improperly struck coins have value, but not every mistake is worthy of the same attention, which is why it’s always worth getting an expert to appraise your coin. “We see a lot of coins submitted to us as misstrikes”, says Jacopo. “Some are simply mistreated (often on purpose) by hammering on them and/or replacing the inside of €1 and €2 coins with a different one, putting it on train rails or hammering coins together for example. These are not worth anything but you’d need an expert to know how to recognise these types of adjustments”.
What factors to consider when selling your Euro coin
If you think you’re in possession of something valuable, make sure you have all the documentation ready, advises Jacopo. “If you wish to sell your coin, please check that the conditions of both the coin(s) and box are fine. Always add pictures showing the certificates, if present. In general, the prices are dictated by the market—the number of collectors willing to have a specific coin or set—so these fluctuate over time.”
What are the rarest Euro coins?
If you’re looking to start collecting, some of the rarest Euro coins to keep an eye out for include: the 2002 Italian 1 cent ‘Mole’ coin and 2007 ‘Grace Kelly’ €2 coin; and Vatican coins from 2002 & 2005 known as "Sede Vacante" which were struck while waiting for the election of the new Pope. “Finally, there are several rare coins produced in very few specimens,'' explains Jacopo. “Like the 5000 Euro coin commemorating the ‘French Excellence: Boucheron’, decorated with 31 white diamonds that’s only been produced in 11 pieces!”.
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