€2 Design: Blob out, Canaries in

Started by chrisild, February 07, 2010, 11:25:11 PM

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If you live in the euro area, you are likely to use "his creations" every day: Luc Luycx designed our circulation coins - the common sides, that is. However, what Luycx originally made looked a little different.

In a recent article in its "My Job: Europe" series, Deutsche Welle portrayed the artist and also showed a photo of the plaster model. It already looks pretty much like a normal €2 coin, except ... Do you see that round blob south of the Iberian pensinsula?

That was supposed to be a latent image - an extra security feature that is used on coins from several countries. (Early designs of the German bimetallic pieces also had one on the country-specific sides.) Well, the latent image below the map was ultimately not used. Luc Luycx had to make some more changes - for example, the Canary Islands had to be added. Good thing the "blob" was gone, so there was some space - even though that is not exactly the geographic position of the islands vis à vis mainland Europe.

Also, the 2 indicating the face value was somewhat bigger in his design. On the coins it barely "touches" the ring, but it still is very dominant - just what Luycx wanted. Other changes affected the cent coins: Initially the font sizes for the two lines, EURO and CENT, were the same. However, in order to indicate that the name of the small unit is actually cent, not "eurocent", the second line was made larger, with an even bigger C.

Then, in 2007, the map on the 10 cent to 2 euro coins was modified again. Now it shows most of geographical Europe regardless of whether a country is an EU member or not. For Cyprus the same trick as for the Canary Islands was used - the island was "moved" a little.

And if Luc Luycx owned all the euro and cent circulation coins that have his "LL" initials, he would be a rich man now. ;) About 85 billion coins circulate in the euro area ...

Below are an "old" (1999-2006) and a "new" (2007-today) €2 coin and, attached, Luycx's original design.



Here are some images of the 50 cent design - the "old style" and the "new style", and (attached) the original design. Ah, and in case anybody is interested in the DW article (German), have a look here: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5086634,00.html



The national outlines in the latest revised version are more geographically accurate, too, I see - Britain no longer looks like a statue of a cat.


Well, these enlarged images show more details than one would actually recognize on a real 50 (let alone 10 or 20) cent coin, I think. :) The new map does not show any national outlines, just the continent (without Iceland and Turkey), but I agree, it looks better than the EU-15 map ...



The islands must have been a headache. Why the Canaries, but not the Azores or Shetland? Another consideration may have been to keep Russia out, even at the cost of Turkey and parts of the Balkan. The more coins with maps I see, the more I dislike them.

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


Keep in mind that the coins are not allowed to have the inscription "European Union" (or some abbreviation) anywhere. So what to pick that instantly "says" Europe? The twelve stars are OK but such a map is much more easily recognizable.

As for which islands were to be depicted, some compromise had to be made, so the first series would depict islands that are bigger than 2500 sq.km and archipelagos bigger than 5000 sq.km ... And since that series only depicts the then 15 member states of the European Union, including Russia for example would have been plain wrong. The second (current) series does show most of Europe - even Russia. Well, the part that would easily fit. :)