World Coins

Eurozone may expand €2 programs

The euro collector coin market, after a period of flux caused by the dramatic rise in metal prices in recent years has reached stability, and after 10 years, maturity, as well. Collecting remains strong, with one segment in particular, €2 circulating commemoratives, achieving near cult-like status among devotees. At the annual World Money Fair in Berlin, the aisles are clogged with collectors lined up at mint booths to get the first €2 issues of the year. To the uninitiated, the obsessive zeal of these collectors can be disquieting and more than a few coin dealers have complained that the commotion is so great that it becomes impossible to conduct any other business. With the €2 coin’s success, a proposal has been made in the European Parliament recommending that each country be allowed to mint a €2 commemorative coin every six months instead of annually. If the proposal were enacted, each country would be allowed to mint two €2 commemorative coins per year and a third coin when a subject is commemorated in common by all the countries. This explains why France and Germany have plans to issue two national commemorative coins in 2013.

Many of the 20 states that issue euros used the currency’s 10th anniversary to issue commemorative coins in circulating and precious metal commemorative versions. While popular, these comprise just a small percentage of the more than 200 euro commemorative coins announced for 2012. With such a massive number of coins each year, collectors are forced to choose — some collectors find it financially impossible to obtain an example of every coin issued.

We do not know what the future holds for the euro collector because of recent turmoil in the eurozone. The continuing European recession and the increase in the use of electronic devices for even the smallest of payments means less demand for circulation coins and therefore less work for mints. The situation also means that the mints have to rely more on collector coins and outside minting contracts for their sustenance.

The new prices posted online are based on nearly the same gold and silver prices as before but reflect a U.S. dollar that is nearly 10 percent stronger than just six months ago. Since we base our values on selling prices calculated in euros, we have at times raised the prices for some coins only to see their value in dollars decline. Overall, with the exception of some ridiculously high prices subsiding to more realistic levels, most prices have remained steady, and if you are buying in dollars, coins are more affordable than they were even a few months ago. ¦

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