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Re: San Marino

Started by pk72, February 01, 2022, 01:30:49 PM

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Is it to be assumed that coins of larger economies in Europe have greater circulation than smaller economies? As a result, Euros of certain countries are more easily found in loose change than others?


Quote from: pk72 on February 01, 2022, 01:30:49 PM
Is it to be assumed that coins of larger economies in Europe have greater circulation than smaller economies? As a result, Euros of certain countries are more easily found in loose change than others?

Averaged across the whole continent, yes. But that hides a number of confounding factors.

First: Geography. People travel back and forth over multiple borders in the FR-BE-NL-DE-LU area, meaning there's a lot of mixing. And sure enough, of all of those, Luxembourg coins will be the least common because it's the smallest country. But far fewer euros get transported over the border into, say, Finland or Ireland. In both of those countries, which are at the smaller end of the scale within the eurozone, you're highly likely to find a high level of local coinage. Even French and German coins will be less common than the local issues.

Second: Longer-range travel patterns. I didn't mention Greece and Cyprus alongside Finland and Ireland above, even though they're similarly isolated, because they're major tourist destinations in a way that Finland and Ireland aren't. They therefore attract tourists who bring their own brand of euros with them. When I was last in Greece, I encountered far more German than, say, French, Italian or Spanish coins, presumably because Germans are more likely to go on holiday there than people from those other countries.

Third: Denomination. You've got to look at how people use coins here. By and large, we spend larger denominations more than we spend 1, 2 and 5 cent coins, even in those economies that regularly use the small coins. Often we'll tender a large coin or a note for something costing x.95 or x.99 and get shrapnel in change, that then hangs around in tins, gets paid into a bank in bulk, put in a charity tin or otherwise disposed of in a way that doesn't directly re-enter circulation. This is why I try to make a point of going to a supermarket (where you often get items priced at non-round amounts) in a country I don't have small denominations from, as you're likely to get local coins in change.

Fourth: The microstates' issues are part of the total issue of the country that they have a financial arrangement with, so France for Monaco and Italy for the Vatican and San Marino. Coins from these places follow their own rules and tend to be even scarcer than you might think they should be. Malta and Luxembourg, on the other hand, are fully independent issuers of euro coins, just fairly small ones.



Fourth: (past) migration. Italy and Spain are over-represented in French circulation as many Frenchmen have relatives in those countries.
Fifth: commercial aggressiveness. German coin are overrepresented everywhere because they have five mints, which is likely by far the highest number of mints in a single country anywhere on earth. This while demand for circulation coins is diminishing and the number of active mints in Euroland is way too large as it is, leading to a vast overcapacity. Since it is apparently politically difficult to close one, let alone four, they "export" their coins to other member states. There are persistent rumours that circulated German coins can be bought below face but in large quantities.
Sixth: swaps. When demand is wrongly estimated, swaps occur. This explains why for a few years, the Netherlands was awash in Finnish 5 cent coins.
Seventh: agreements with the lilliput states that they had to circulate their coins. Without those agreements, you wouldn't have found any in circulation.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


Thanks Peter. Extremely educative.


Eighth: People who are interested in coins who mess up all the foregoing conditions  ;D

Last time I went on holiday outside my home country (2019 to Greece), I took with me a bag of small change that I found at home, which turned out to mostly contain Irish euro coins. I therefore injected into the cashflow system of Rhodos about 50 euros in Irish coinage. The reason I was there in the first place was for a family wedding, and half my wife's family is Irish, so they no doubt added their quota of Irish coinage. So there may have been a small spike in circulating Irish euros at the other end of the eurozone in the immediate vicinity of Lindos ;)


Therefore, in order to get larger variety of Euros in circulation, better to visit places frequented by tourists. Thanks a ton once again.