Circulation Coin - Commemorative Coin - Collector Coin

Started by chrisild, July 08, 2010, 08:20:29 PM

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You may have noticed that we have different boards for "Circulation and commemorative euro coins" and "Collector coins". Now you may say, every coin can be interesting for a collector and is therefore a collector coin. Or you may point out that you have seen at least some commemorative coins in circulation. Well, these are the European Union's legal terms for the three types of coins we have:

* Circulation Coins:
Those are the regular pieces, 1 cent to 2 euro, that you come across every day (provided you are in the euro area :) ). All these coins, no matter which euro country issues them, are legal tender throughout the euro area.

* Commemorative Coins:
These are €2 pieces that have the regular reverse (common side) and a special obverse (country specific side). Every euro country can issue up to two commemorative coins per year. In addition to that, there may be common issues (same basic design for all euro area member states) from time to time; then an additional commem is OK in that year. Such €2 commems are legal tender throughout the euro area.

* Collector Coins:
These are coins, usually gold or silver pieces, that are made primarily for collectors. They have to be different from circulation coins and commems in various regards. Collector coins are legal tender in the issuing country only.

Here is a brief overview, from the European Commission website about euro coins:

Note that it says "Issued at face value" for both circulation and commemorative coins. Well, that does not mean you can get them all at face. Especially the non-EU countries that may issue euro coins (Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican) make money with their money ...



You may have noticed that acording to the overview (PDF), collector coins are "not intended for circulation". The European Commission emphasizes that aspect even more:
Am I allowed to use collector coins issued by my Member State as means of payment?
Though Euro collector coins are legal tender in the Member State of issuance, this legal tender aims only at distinguishing them form medals. Collector coins should not be used as means of payments. Member States should take all appropriate measures to prevent these coins from circulating (for example, by special packaging, clear communication, use of precious metal, sale prices above face value).
Additional information:

Note the use of the word "should". This is just a recommendation; member states may well issue collector coins at face. But apparently it is not exactly endorsed ...