Re: first day of the euro

From: Christian Weisgerber (
Date: Sat Jan 05 2002 - 12:02:12 MST

Mike Lorrey <> wrote:

> a) Do different countries have the EXACT same bills and coins in every
> detail? No, they don't.

Yes, they do.

> As several europeans here have said, there are very slight but
> noticable differences on the paper bills

It may be possible to discern the origin of a bill without having
to apply forensics. I mean, at the very least the serial numbers
are different, and they are probably allocated in ranges to the
national printeries.

> and the reverse side of every coin has graphics particular to
> the country in which it is stamped.

Where it has originally been issued, to be precise, which doesn't
necessarily coincide with the place of production. Luxembourg had
all their coins minted in neighboring countries for instance. By
the way, there are 15 series of national backsides since Monaco,
San Marino, and Vatican City have also issued euro coins by contract
with the ECB, although you are unlikely to encounter those in
circulation as they will probably be picked up right away by

Anyway, all this gives you are a variety of possible backsides for
the same coin. That kind of variation has previously existed in
the national currencies as well. At least the German-issued euro
coins also have a tiny marker that identifies the actual mint (just
like the mark coins had). A 1 euro coin is a 1 euro coin, no matter
whether it has a German F backside, a German D backside, or a French
backside, just to mention those I have at hand at the moment.

> b) Therefore, there are 12 different national mints involved in the
> production of the new european currency, and the 12 different central
> banks who run those mints.

I don't know the exact number of printeries and mints involved.
The old national central banks have atropied to branches of the

> All it takes is for one of those mints to decide to over or under
> produce their local currency to entirely mess up the money supply for
> everyone.

This scenario is about as plausible as Florida going rogue and
messing up the US money supply by printing lots of dollar bills.
The ECB decides how much cash is issued.

> All that has really occured is that all 12 countries have changed the
> name of their currency to the 'Euro' and have agreed to tie the value of
> each to that of all other 'Euros',

Get a clue. When, after a decade of fiscal convergence, the euro
replaced the national currencies three years ago (!), the participating
countries gave up their monetary sovereignty to the European Central
Bank (located in Frankfurt/Main). Those unwilling to do so, most
notably the British, didn't join the Eurozone. The final introduction
of euro cash this year is a monetary no-op that only amounts to an
exchange of the bill designs (something European countries customarily
do once in a while anyway) and coins in circulation. The monetary
union is not some knee-jerk project, but the culmination of decades
of preparatory work.

By the way, while I'm dropping some facts here, I'd like to mention
the travel information that apart from twelve EU countries (Portugal,
Spain, Ireland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands,
Germany, Austria, Finland, Greece) with various overseas possessions
(principally the French DOMTOMs), the euro is also the official
currency in the EU-associated microstates Andorra, Monaco, San
Marino, and Vatican City, as well as in the Yugoslav republic of
Montenegro and in the Kosovo, both of the latter having previously
relied on the German mark.

> The heads of each national Central Bank belong to the European
> Central Bank, but that doesn't mean that each national bank will
> actually honestly deal with everyone else.

Well, there's no arguing against paranoid delusions.

Christian "naddy" Weisgerber                

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