World Coins

Estonia 2016 circulating €2 coin honoring chess player

Estonia plans to celebrate the birth centennial of chess grandmaster Paul Keres with a circulating commemorative €2 coin in 2016.

Coin image courtesy of the Official Journal of the European Union.

Estonia has announced its first circulating commemorative €2 coin in 2016 to honor chess grandmaster Paul Keres.

The coin, which is scheduled for release Jan. 7, marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the famous Estonian chess grandmaster.

Keres was born Jan. 7, 1916. 

He was one of the strongest players on the world chess scene from the 1930s to 1960s, narrowly missing the chance to compete for a world championship match five times. Though he never earned the world championship ranking, he is one of three chess players to defeat nine undisputed world champions in face-to-face challenges. His prowess earned him the nickname the "crown prince of chess." 

The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Keres with several chess pieces (seen both in relief and, upside down, in silhouette), as well as his name, the name of the country in the native language and the year of issue. Riho Luuse won the design contest for this coin.

The reverse carries the common European map design.

The 12 stars of the European flag appear on both sides of the ringed-bimetallic €2 coin. 

A total of 500,000 coins are slated for release, all of which are struck at the Lithuanian Mint. A total of 5,000 Brilliant Uncirculated examples, on a colorful card, will be available for €10 each, the Bank of Estonia announced Dec. 21.

The €2 coin weighs 8.5 grams and measures 25.75 millimeters in diameter.

Each eurozone nation is allowed to issue up to two different circulating commemorative designs annually with designs of their choosing, though few nations issue the maximum number of designs.

Joint euro programs like the 2015 coins honoring the 30th anniversary of flag of the European Union do not count toward this limit.

All €2 coins are legal tender throughout the eurozone. 

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