Vatican Coins

Posted by admin on Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

There are many collectors of Euro coins, the currency of most of the European Union countries. Perhaps this is because it is one of the newest countries in the world, and after the United States Dollar probably the most important. More recently there have been questions raised over the ability for the Euro to continue in its present form, because of the huge, and unsustainable debts that some of the Euro countries have amassed. As each country within the Union is allowed to mint its own coins, there are many designs available. The possibility of some of these disappearing has increased the attractiveness of Euro coins to collectors.

One of the safest Euro coins, and yet one of the hardest to collect, are the coins issued by a state that isn’t even a member of the European Union.

The Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State has issued Euro denominated coinage since 2002, and has recently released the latest coins in the third series. The first series ran from 2002 to 2005, and exhibited an effigy of Pope John Paul II on the obverse. When John Paul II died, the Vatican then issued a second series of its Euro coins during the period of Sede Vacante (the period of time without a Pope). The obverse of these depicted the insignia of the Apostolic Chamber, and the coat of arms of the Cardinal Chamberlain.

The third series began when the current Pope, Benedict XVI, was elected in 2006. This series carries an effigy of Pope Benedict XVI on the obverse, and on the reverse is the map of the Europe without borders that has been a common feature to all Euro denominated coins since 2007.

The mintages are small, which is another reason they are popular with coin collectors. They are sold in sets, and are not released into general circulation. The sets are minted by the IPZS in Rome, Italy and are set to sell out quickly.

In this latest release, there are three sets, each with the eight coins from 1 cent to 2 Euro denomination. The 2011 Vatican Mint set is contained in a brown folder, and has a mintage of just 94,000 sets. The Proof set, contains the same eight coins but also includes a 40mm diameter, 45-gram sterling silver medal depicting the Pope that is unavailable elsewhere. This set is presented in a green case, and has a mintage of only 14,700. Finally, there is the Proof set, but with the silver medal replaced by a Gold medal, and this will only be minted in 300 sets.

All three sets are available from the Vatican’s own specialist website, at prices from €30 for the Mint set, €140 for the Silver Proof Set, and €1690 for the Gold Proof set. Unfortunately, they do not accept online orders, and a buyer has to follow the instructions to place either a telephone order or an order by fax or email.

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