2 euro coin
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 22 countries (with 20 legally adopting it) with a collective population of about 341 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.
|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||1999–present|
|Design||Numerous variations, see below.|
|Design||Map of Europe with the denomination shown in Latin characters|
The €2 coin is the euro 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.
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 plus 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 a new rule stating that national designs should include the name of the issuing country (neither Finland and Belgium show a country 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 euro 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 introduction 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. In 2015, the fourth eurozone-wide issue for this denomination was issued, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the flag of Europe.
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 engraver's 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 ΕΥΡΩ" upon its coins). Austria also engraves "2 EURO" on the reverse of its coins.
|State||Details||Years of minting|
|Andorran euro coins||Andorran coat of arms with the motto "virtus unita fortior" (virtue united is stronger)||2004 onward|
|Austrian euro coins||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 on the left hand side. The year appears on the right hand side.||2002 onward|
|Belgian euro coins||FIRST SERIES: An effigy of King Albert II. To the right hand side among the stars was the king's monogram, a letter "A", underneath a crown. The year is lower down, also among the stars.||1999–2007|
|SECOND SERIES: A redesign to include 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 renewed 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).||2008–2013|
|THIRD SERIES: In 2013, Albert II abdicated with Philippe of Belgium becoming King. He subsequently replaced Albert on Belgian euro coins.||2014 onward|
|Cypriot euro coins||Idol of Pomos, a prehistoric sculpture dating from the 30th century BC, as an example of the island's historic civilisation and art. It includes the name of Cyprus in Greek and Turkish (ΚΥΠΡΟΣ and KIBRIS) on each side of the idol.||2008 onward|
|Estonian euro coins||A geographical image of Estonia and the word "Eesti" ("Estonia").||2011 onward|
|Finnish euro coins||FIRST SERIES: Fruit and leaves of the cloudberry, with the date visible at the bottom above the stars. It includes the initial "M" of the mint master of the Mint of Finland, Raimo Makkonen, to the bottom right.||1999–2007|
|SECOND SERIES: Redesign to meet the new design requirements, the initial was replaced by the mint's mint mark and the letters FI (for Finland) were included on the right hand side of the horizon. Changes in the mint mark occurred several times since 2007.||2007 onward|
|French euro coins||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.||1999 onward|
|German euro coins||The German coat of arms (the German eagle) which symbolises German sovereignty. The date appears at the base of the eagle and the silver behind the stars is etched to give visual effect.||1999 onward|
|Greek euro coins||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, is the origin of the continent's name, "Europe". The value of the euro in the Greek alphabet, 2 ΕΥΡΩ, 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.||2001 onward|
|Irish euro coins||The national emblem of Ireland, an Irish harp (the Cláirseach, see Clàrsach). 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.||2002 onward|
|Italian euro coins||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. 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.||1999 onward|
|Latvian euro coins||The Latvian maiden, which symbolises the freedom of the Republic of Latvia, with "Latvijas Republika" written on either side.||2014 onward|
|Lithuanian euro coins||The Vytis (symbol of the coat-of-arms) and the word "Lietuva", which means "Lithuania". The twelve stars, symbols of the EU, surrounds the Vytis.||2015 onward|
|Luxembourgish euro coins||A stylised effigy of Grand Duke Henri 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.||1999 onward|
|Maltese euro coins||The Maltese Cross (the emblem of the Sovereign Military 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.||2008 onward|
|Monégasque euro coins||FIRST SERIES: 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.||2002–2006|
|SECOND SERIES: 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.||2006 onward|
|Dutch euro coins||FIRST SERIES: 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.||1999–2013|
|SECOND SERIES: 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.||2014 onward|
|Portuguese euro coins||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.||1999 onward|
|Sammarinese euro coins||FIRST SERIES: 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.||2012–2017|
|SECOND SERIES: A portrait of Saint Marino, detail of a painting by Giovanni Battista Urbinelli.||2018 onward|
|Slovak euro coins||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.||2009 onward|
|Slovenian euro coins||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.||2007 onward|
|Spanish euro coins||FIRST SERIES: 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.||1999–2009|
|SECOND SERIES: The second design removed the curved raised area for the country's name and the stars, and moving the date from the outer ring of the coin.||2010–2015|
|THIRD SERIES: In 2014, Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favour of his son. In June 2014 the coronation took place and 8 months later (February 2015) the new design was released.||2015 onward|
|Vatican euro coins||FIRST SERIES: 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.||2000–2005|
|SECOND SERIES: 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.||2005–2006|
|THIRD SERIES: 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.||2006–2013|
|FOURTH SERIES: In 2014 the coins were updated with the election of Pope Francis. CITTA DEL VATICANO is written around the top, broken by Pope Francis' head, with the date below the O in Vaticano.||2014–2016|
|FIFTH SERIES: After the announcement that Pope Francis would not appear on any coins issued by the Vatican, new 1 and 2 euro coins were issued to depict the papal coat of arms of Francis.||2017 onward|
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 the Birmingham Mint in 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 until 2008) closely resembled 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 reject 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 a 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).
- The Canadian 2-dollar coin or 'Toonie', first minted in 1996, also bears a small similarity to the €2 coin. The toonie however is 2mm larger in diameter, 0.40mm less thick, 1.5g lighter, and features a larger outer ring. It is worth around 1.40 EUR.
- The Polish 5 złotych coin, currently worth about 1.16 EUR.
- The 1000 Indonesian Rupiah coin, minted between 1993 and 2000, weighs 0.1g more, has a diameter 0.25mm larger and is 0.20mm thinner. The coin is worth approximately €0.06 (1/30th of a €2 coin).
- The South African 5 rand is also similar in appearance and size, and is worth around €0.40.
- The Italian 500 lire minted from 1982 to 2001 has a diameter 0.05 larger. The coin was worth approximately €0.25
- "Andorran Euro Coins". Eurocoins.co.uk. Eurocoins.co.uk. 2003. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
- "By UNMIK administration direction 1999/2". Unmikonline.org. 4 October 1999. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "Monetary agreement between France (acting for the EC) and Monaco". 31 May 2002. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "Monetary agreement between Italy (acting for the EC) and San Marino". 27 July 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "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. 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
- 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