These coins were made with an insert of an outgoing small denomination coin from one of the new eurozone nations: Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, or Germany.
The German version has a genuine 5-pfennig coin inlaid in the middle of the reverse side. This is a rare case of two legal tender coins of two different nations combined into one coin — and done so purposefully.
‘Bye bye’ to denominations
There was little collector interest in the dull designs of East German coins until reunification in 1990. Once it was known that they would be exchanged and then melted down, there was suddenly a demand for the soon-to-be-extinct issues. East German coins sets were compiled for collectors, often containing a variety of dates and denominations.
The Royal Canadian Mint issued several versions of Canada’s final 1-cent coin, minted in 2012, including magnetic, nonmagnetic, silver, and gold-plated silver issues.
But Canada went one step further. To honor the iconic Maple Leaf cent of Canada, a victim of a seigniorage shortfall, Canada issued a silver $20 coin showing two maple leaves as they drop off the tree and fall to the surface of the lake. Farewell and adieu to the Canadian cent.
Durable coins can be much more economical for governments than paper money in the lower denominations. But history tells us that the paper equivalent must cease production to encourage acceptance of the coin replacing it.
Australia wisely did this very thing in 1984 when the paper dollar was retired and the dollar coin debuted. Third-market sets containing the old and new dollars were created and sold that year.