Euro banknotes and coins

The euro is one of the most tangible signs of the common European identity, the EU Member States and their citizens.

Euro banknotes - “Europa” Series

After the first series of banknotes introduced in 2002, a new series of banknotes was created and was gradually introduced to circulation from 2013 onwards. The new series is named “Europa” because in several security features appears (watermark, hologram) the shape of Europe, the Greek mythology figure, after which our continent was named. This depiction comes from red-figure, bell-shaped vase, from the 2nd half of the 4th century B.C., which was originally found in Taranto of southern Italy (Paris, Louver museum).

Introduction of “Europa” series

The introduction of the second series of euro banknotes, called “Europa”, started in 2013 with the 5€ banknote. It was followed by a new banknote every year, in increasing denomination, until 2019 when the series was completed with the introduction of the 100€ and 200€ banknotes. 

The introduction of the second series of euro banknotes, called “Europa”, started in 2013 with the 5€ banknote. It was followed by a new banknote every year, in increasing denomination, until 2019 when the series was completed with the introduction of the 100€ and 200€ banknotes.

The ECB has decided to stop producing the €500 banknote, although the first series €500 remains legal tender.

The banknotes of the two series will continue to circulate in parallel as legal tender. The date when the first series of euro banknotes ceases to be legal tender will be announced well in advance. However, the banknotes of the first series will always retain their value and they can be exchanged for an unlimited period of time at the Eurosystem National Central Banks.

The ECB website for the euro banknotes, with special emphasis on “Europa”series and its security features, provides additional information regarding the new banknotes and their security features, together with audiovisual material regarding their production process. This material can be used for publication, under the condition that the rules governing the reproduction of euro banknotes, will be strictly obeyed.

The design of the “Europa” series banknotes

The second series euro banknotes have the same basic color and theme per denomination as those of the first series “Ages and Styles of Europe”, with minor modifications in order to accommodate the enhanced security features and to make it easier to differentiate between the two series.

The second series euro banknotes have the same basic color and theme per denomination as those of the first series “Ages and Styles of Europe”, with minor modifications in order to accommodate the enhanced security features and to make it easier to differentiate between the two series.

Denomination Color Architectural style
€5 Grey Classical
€10 Red Romanesque
€20 Blue Gothic
€50 Orange Renaissance
€100 Green Baroque and rococo
€200 Yellow-Brown 19th century iron and glass architecture

Moreover, the new design includes the consecutive enlargements of the EU from 2002 onwards.

The redesign of the euro banknotes was assigned to Reinhold Gerstetter, an independent banknote designer based in Berlin.

On the new banknotes appear:

  • The symbol of the European Union (flag with 12 stars)
  • The name of the currency in the Latin, Greek (EYPΩ) and Cyrillic alphabet,
  • The revised map of Europe that includes Cyprus and Malta,
  • The symbol © indicating copyright protection for ECB,
  • The signature of the President of the ECB,
  • The initials of the European Central Bank in ten linguistic variants:
BCE:French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish
ECB:Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish
ЕЦБ:Bulgarian
EZB:German
EKP:Estonian, Finnish
ΕΚΤ:Greek
ESB:Croatian
EKB:Hungarian
BĊE:Maltese
EBC:Polish

 Content Editor ‭[1]‬

Euro Coins

Euro coins, in contrast with euro banknotes that have single appearance, have only one side that is common for all member states of the euro area. The national side bares representations selected from the competent authorities of each member-state. Regardless of the representation on the national side, the euro coins can be used as legal tender in all euro area member states.

Characteristics

Special features have been incorporated in order to facilitate blind and partially sighted persons.

Special features have been incorporated in order to facilitate blind and partially sighted persons.

One euro is divided in 100 cents. There are eight euro coin denominations:

1 cent Diameter (mm): 16,25
Thickness (mm.): 1,67
Weight (g): 2,30
Shape: round
Color: copper
Composition: Copper-covered steel
Edge: smooth
2 cent Diameter (mm): 18,75
Thickness (mm.): 1,67
Weight (g): 3,06
Shape: round
Color: copper
Composition: Copper-covered steel
Edge: Smooth with a groove
5 cent Diameter (mm): 21,25
Thickness (mm.): 1,67
Weight (g): 3,92
Shape: round
Color: copper
Composition: Copper-covered steel
Edge: smooth
10 cent Diameter (mm): 19,75
Thickness (mm.): 1,93
Weight (g): 4,10
Shape: round
Color: gold
Composition: Nordic gold
Edge: Shaped edge with fine scallops
20 cent Diameter (mm): 22,25
Thickness (mm.): 2,14
Weight (g): 5,74
Shape: Spanish flower shape
Color: gold
Composition: Nordic gold
Edge: plain
50 cent Diameter (mm): 24,25
Thickness (mm.): 2,38
Weight (g): 7,80
Shape: round
Color: gold
Composition: Nordic gold
Edge: Shaped edge with fine scallops
1 euro Diameter (mm): 23,25
Thickness (mm.): 2,33
Weight (g): 7,50
Shape: round
Color: Outer part: gold; inner part: silver
Composition: Outer part: nickel brass; inner part: three layers: copper-nickel, nickel, copper-nickel
Edge: Interrupted milled
2 euro Diameter (mm): 25,75
Thickness (mm.): 2,20
Weight (g): 8,50
Shape: round
Color: Outer part: Silver; inner part: gold
Composition: Outer part: copper-nickel; inner part: three layers: nickel brass, nickel, nickel brass
Edge: Edge lettering, fine milled

The national side of euro coins

The designs for the national side of Greek coins were selected in May 2000 by the Minister of National Economy and the Governor of the Bank of Greece, from a set of proposals presented by a Special Advisory Committee and the Monetary Policy Council. 

The designs for the national side of Greek coins were selected in May 2000 by the Minister of National Economy and the Governor of the Bank of Greece, from a set of proposals presented by a Special Advisory Committee and the Monetary Policy Council.

The national sides of the 8 Greek coins were created by Georgios Stamatopoulos, sculptor of the Bank of Greece Printing Works (IETA)

The Common side of euro coins

For the design of the common side of euro coins a competition was launched at European level. The winning series were designed by Luc Luycx of the Royal Belgian Mint.  

For the design of the common side of euro coins a competition was launched at European level. The winning series were designed by Luc Luycx of the Royal Belgian Mint.

After the EU enlargement of May 1, 2004 with 10 new member states, it was deemed necessary to change the common sides of the 10-, 20- and 50-cent and €1 and €2 coins, in order to represent the new composition of the EU. The related decision was taken by the European Council on 7 June 2005.

Member states have been issuing coins with the new common sides, gradually from 2007 onwards. The new member states that adopted the euro from 2007 onwards (Slovakia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovenia) minted coins with the new common sides. 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins show the denomination, the inscription "EURO CENT", six lines and twelve stars near the edge of the lines. The middle part of the lines shows Europe in relief in relation to Africa and Asia on a globe.

10-, 20- and 50-cent coins show the denomination, the inscription "EURO CENT", six vertical straight lines and twelve stars near the edge of each line. The upper middle part of the lines shows either the European Union with the 15 Member States before the enlargement of 1 May 2004 or a geographical image of Europe as of 1 January 2007.

€1 and €2 coins show the denomination, the inscription "EURO", six vertical lines and twelve stars near the edge of each line. The right part shows either the European Union before the enlargement of 1 May 2004 or a geographical image of Europe as of 1 January 2007.

How can you exchange euro coins with banknotes

Exchange of euro coins with banknotes can be made at the, Head Office 21 El. Venizelou Street, Athens, after an appointment arranged by phone at tel. 210 320 2772 and 210 320 2790, as long as the coins are packed according to Circulars 411/15.1.2002 and 463/16.9.2009 as follows:

Exchange of euro coins with banknotes can be made at the, Head Office 21 El. Venizelou Street, Athens, after an appointment arranged by phone at tel. 210 320 2772 and 210 320 2790, as long as the coins are packed according to Circulars 411/15.1.2002 and 463/16.9.2009 as follows:

Denomination Coins per pack Value of pack in euro
2 250 500
1 250 250
0.50 200 100
0.20 400 80
0.10 400 40
0.05 500 25
0.02 500 10
0.01 500 5

 Content Editor ‭[2]‬

Commemorative euro coins

The introduction of euro coins in January 2002 has generated a variety of coin designs, since the euro area countries have put euro coins in circulation with distinctive national symbols on the common side, in addition to the differences on the national side.

The diversity of the coins' national sides is enhanced with the issuance of commemorative and collector coins, officially issued by the member states.

Their characteristic is that they have different national side than the common coins and are issued in order to celebrate events or commemorate anniversaries, honor a person etc. The common appearance, their characteristics and features are no different than the ones of a ordinary 2€ coin. Commemorative coins issued jointly by all countries of the euro area, have the same design on their national side, while the name of the issuing country and the celebrated event are written in the respective language.

Commemorative coins of euro countries

As a rule, euro countries may each issue only two €2 commemorative coins per year.  Exceptionally, they are allowed to issue a third, provided that it is one issued jointly with the other member states and that it commemorates events of Europe-wide importance. 

As a rule, euro countries may each issue only two €2 commemorative coins per year. Exceptionally, they are allowed to issue a third, provided that it is one issued jointly with the other member states and that it commemorates events of Europe-wide importance. All commemorative euro coins, exclusively of 2€ nominal value, are part of the euro coins intended for circulation and are considered legal tender throughout the euro area. That means they can be used – and must be accepted – just like any other euro coin.

The very first €2 commemorative coin was issued by Greece to commemorate the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.

All countries of the euro area have jointly issued four commemorative coins with one common design on the national side:

  1. In March 2017 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. The selection of the designed was organized by the national mints.
  2. In January 2019 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Economic and Monetary Union. The winning design, selected by the public via an online vote, was created by Mr. Georgios Stamatopoulos, sculptor [έτσι λέμε παραπάνω] at the Bank of Greece.
  3. In January 2012 to commemorate ten years of euro banknotes and coins. The winning design, selected by the public via an online vote, was created by Helmut Alexander, from the Mint of Austria.
  4. In August 2015, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the EU flag.. The winning design, selected by the public via an online vote, was created by Mr. Georgios Stamatopoulos, sculptor at the Bank of Greece.

 Content Editor ‭[3]‬

Collector euro coins

Collector euro coins are officially issued by euro area countries, but are not intended for circulation. Their nominal value and designs are always different than the one of the coins in circulation.

While euro circulation coins are legal tender throughout the euro area, euro collector coins are legal tender only in their country of issuance. These coins are rarely used for payment purposes, because their market value is usually much higher than their nominal value and many of them are made out of precious metals such as gold or silver.

To avoid causing confusion to the public, the technical specifications of collector coins are different from those of circulation coins. Out of the three technical parameters, namely color, diameter and weight, at least two need to be different from those of euro circulation coins.

How can you acquire collector and commemorative euro coins?

The Bank of Greece is authorized by the respective decision of the Minister of Finance to supply to the public, through its Head Office and Branches, collector coins and series of coins that are issued following a joint decision of the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Greece.

The Bank of Greece is authorized by the respective decision of the Minister of Finance to supply to the public, through its Head Office and Branches, collector coins and series of coins that are issued following a joint decision of the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Greece.

For email ordering of collector and commemorative coins, the process to be followed is described bellow:

  1. Application submission
    • First, the interested party shall fill out a Pre-Registration Form , and email it to: serv.NumProd@bankofgreece.gr. Upon receiving the form, the relevant unit of the Bank of Greece shall verify that the items requested are still in stock, enter the details of the order into its pre-registration/order database and return the pre-registration form to the applicant with the Reference Number and Date of Pre-Registration/Order corresponding to the specific order.
    • In the case that one or more kinds of coins are not available, a respective note is made in order for the applicant to be informed. Following, the order is finalized after the applicant prepays the full amount of the order, within three working days from the order date (i.e. the day of the order and the following two). Otherwise, the order shall be canceled.
  2. Payment of the total amount due (for finalization of the order):

    The amount can be paid in two ways:

    • By money transfer (from a bank in Greece or abroad) to Bank of Greece Account No. GR2701000520000000059134368 – SALE OF COMMEMORATIVE COINS – BIC: BNGRGRAA. In this case, the applicant must request from the credit institution to fill in the Field Nr. 70 of the money transfer the Reference Number and Date of Pre-Registration, as well as the applicant’s full name. It is noted that this information is absolutely necessary to match the money transfer and finalize the relevant pre-registration.
    • At the counters of the Bank of Greece (Head Office or Branches) by the applicant or a person authorized to act on his/her behalf, upon presentation of valid identification (ID or passport).
  3. Dispatch of commemorative / collector coins to recipients
    • Orders for recipients within Greece will be delivered by registered mail via the Hellenic Post. The postage expenses, which are prepaid, are calculated according the Hellenic Post’s price list.
    • For recipients within other European countries, orders will be dispatched by EPG (hard boxes – declared value), with minimum cost 28€ for maximum value 500€ per package. The Bank of Greece shall not be responsible for any change in postage rates.
    • In the event of non-receipt of an order, the Bank is obliged to provide the customer with the relevant dispatch details (date and number) to enable tracing of the order. The Bank of Greece shall have no further liability to the customer.
    • It is noted that each customer who has placed a remote order for numismatic products, will not be able to pick up the products ordered at the Head Office or the Branches of Bank of Greece. These will only be delivered by post.
    • During the period that quantity limitations exist regarding the supply of numismatic products, multiple applications with the same recipient will not be accepted.
    • In the case that an applicant has placed a remote order for a numismatic product and the said applicant is found to have already purchased the same product from the Head Office or any Branch of the Bank of Greece, the remote order will be automatically canceled and any fee deposited will be returned to the applicant reduced by the money transfer fees. The above referred action will take place only when the quantity restrictions are valid
    • Sales of the above products to taxable persons established in another EU Member State shall be exempt from VAT, in accordance with the provisions of Article 28 of the VAT Code. Such exemption is subject to VAT validation through the VIES system and to proof of dispatch of the goods to the purchaser’s Member State of establishment.
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