World Coins

Germany releases €5 coin to nationwide demand

Lengths of the lines varied across the nation of Germany, but regardless of the wait time, collectors and residents all wanted the same thing, and it wasn’t a fancy new smartphone or some big seasonal bargain.

The wait was 30 minutes in Hanover, one hour in Munich, and two hours in Berlin, all for a new circulating commemorative €5 coin with immediate aftermarket potential.

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People stood patiently in line, surveilled by police and Bundesbank (“federal bank”) security personnel, before getting their hands on at least one piece of probably the hottest numismatic item in Europe.

The second edition of the acclaimed “Climate Zones of the Earth” €5 coin series went on sale at Bundesbank branches all over Germany. Each of the five coins, which are being released into circulation from 2017 until 2021, one annually, features an innovative polymer ring between two copper-nickel alloy parts. 

This year’s edition features the subtropical zone, with an orange ring. Last year’s coin, which received the Coin of the Year award at this year’s World Money Fair in Berlin, featured the tropical zone, with a red ring. The temperate, subpolar and polar climate zones will follow with green, turquoise and violet colors, respectively.

After a lot of attention from mainstream collectors in Germany and beyond, the German government raised the mintage from 2 million last year to 3 million, enabling more collectors to receive at least one of the sought-after coins. 

Aftermarket prices had risen to €45 ($56 U.S.) for the initial polymer coin, featuring Earth, in 2016, and €25 ($31 U.S.) for the first edition of the climate zones series. 

The higher mintage did not cause any plunge in interest — in Hanover, capital of the northern German state of Niedersachsen (“Lower Saxony”), the first people gathered in front of the regional Bundesbank headquarters at 7:30 a.m. When the sale was launched officially, around 250 people, old and young, men and women, were waiting in a queue that spanned the whole square in front of the building. 

People waited calmly, reassured by local Bundesbank executive staff member Dirk Gerlach that every person would receive one coin. 

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Gerlach told Coin World that the Hanover branch of the Bundesbank had ordered a quantity of coins in the five-digit range and made clear that the Bundesbank does not earn money by exchanging the polymer coins, but their interest is to promote coin collecting and attract numismatic veterans and newcomers alike. His staff had opened two counters, distributing at least five coins per minute. 

Bundesbank personnel all over Germany had their hands full, busy until the official closing time of the private client area of the Bundesbank at 1 p.m., as more and more people joined the queue, using a break from office or school to obtain a polymer coin for their collection or for resale.

By Thursday afternoon, the first pieces had already appeared on auction sites and Facebook groups with asking prices not lower than €15 ($18.50 U.S.) per piece. 

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