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1 euro coins (€1 or 1€) are made of two alloys: the inner part of cupronickel, the outer part of nickel brass. All coins have a common reverse side and country-specific national sides. The coin has been used since 2002, with the present common side design dating from 2007.

As of June 2008, there are estimated to be 5860 million one euro coins in circulation, up from 4910 million in 2005, making it the third least circulated euro coin (but combined it is the second highest value).


The coin dates from 2002, when euro coins and banknotes were introduced in the 12 member eurozone and its related territories. The common side was designed by Luc Luycx, a Belgianmarker artist who won a Europe-wide competition to design the new coins. The design of the one and two euro coins were intended to show the European Union (EU) as a whole with the then 15 countries more closely joined together than on the 10 to 50 cent coins (the 1 to 5 cent coins showed the EU as one, though intending to show its place in the world).

The national sides, then 15 (eurozone + Monacomarker, San Marinomarker and the Vaticanmarker who could mint their own) were each designed according to national competitions, though to specifications which applied to all coins such as the requirement of including twelve stars (see euro coins for more). National designs were not allowed to change until the end of 2008, unless a monarch (who's portrait usually appears on the coins) dies or abdicates. This happened in Monaco and the Vatican City resulting in three new designs in circulation (the Vatican had an interim design until the new Pope was selected). National designs have seen some changes due to new rules stating that national designs should include the name of the issuing country (Finland and Belgium both do not show their name, and hence have made minor changes).

As the EU's membership has since expanded in 2004 and 2007, with further expansions envisaged, the common face of all euro coins from the value of 10 cent and above were redesigned in 2007 to show a new map. This map showed Europe, not just the EU, as one continuous landmass, however Cyprusmarker was moved west as the map cut off after the Bosporusmarker (which was seen as excluding Turkeymarker for political reasons). The redesign in 2007, rather than in 2004, was due to the fact that 2007 saw the first enlargement of the eurozone; the entry of Sloveniamarker. Hence, the Slovenian design was added to the designs in circulation. Two more designs were added in 2008 with the entry of Cyprusmarker and Maltamarker and another one in 2009 with Slovakiamarker.


Edge of all €1 coins
The coins are composed of two alloys. The inner circle is composed of three layers (copper-nickel, nickel, copper-nickel) and the outer ring of nickel brass giving them a two colour appearance. The diameter of the coins are 23.25 mm, a 2.33 mm thickness and a mass of 7.5 grams. The coins' edges consist of alternating segments, three smooth, three finely ribbed. The coins have been used from 2002, though some are dated 1999 which is the year the euro was created as a currency, but not put into general circulation.

Obverse (common) side

Common side of all €1 coins minted before 2007
The obverse (used from 2007 onwards) was designed by Luc Luycx and displays a map of Europe, not including Icelandmarker and cutting off, in a semicircle, at the Bosporus, north through the middle of Ukrainemarker and Belarusmarker and through northern Scandinavia. Cyprus is located further west than it should be and Malta is shown disproportionally large so it appears on the map. The map has numerous indentations giving an appearance of geography rather than a flat design. Six fine lines cut across the map except where there is landmass and have a star at each end - reflecting the twelve stars on the flag of Europe. Across the map is the word EURO, and a large number 1 appears to the left hand side of the coin. The designers initials, LL, appear next to Cyprus.

Luc Luycx designed the original coin, which was much the same except the design was only of the then 15 members in their entirety and showing border and no geographic features. The map was less detailed and the lines the stars were upon cut through where there would be landmass in eastern Europe if it were shown.

Reverse (national) sides

The reverse side of the coin depends on the issuing country. All have to include twelve stars (in most cases a circle around the edge), the engravers initials and the year of issue. New designs also have to include the name or initials of the issuing country. The side cannot repeat the denomination of the coin unless the issuing country uses an alphabet other than Latin (currently, Greecemarker and Austriamarker are the only such countries, hence they engrave "1 EYPΩ" and "1 EURO" upon their coins respectively).

Description Image

The Austrian design features Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (with his signature), a famous Austrian composer, in reference to the idea of Austriamarker as a "land of music".
The Austrian flag is hatched below the denomination (which is against the new rules for national designs and hence will be changed at some point) on the right hand side. The year appears on the left hand side.

The Belgian design was chosen by a panel of leading Belgian officials, artisans and experts in numismatics. They chose an effigy of King Albert II designed by Jan Alfons Keustermans, Director of the Municipal Academy of Fine Arts of Turnhoutmarker. To the right hand side among the stars was the kings monogram, a letter "A", underneath a crown. The year was lower down, also among the stars. The 2008 redesign included the letters BE (standing for Belgium) beneath the monogram, which was moved out of the stars into the centre circle but still to the right of the King's portrait. The date was also moved out and placed beneath the effigy and included two symbols either side (left: signature mark of the master of the mint, right: mint mark).

1st Series (2002–2007)

2nd Series (2008–)

The Cypriot design features the Idol of Pomos, a prehistoric sculpture dating from the 30th century BC, as an example of the islands historic civilisation and art. It was chosen in a public vote and the exact design was created by Erik Maell and Tatiana Soteropoulos. It includes the name of Cyprus in Greek and Turkish (ΚΥΠΡΟΣ and KIBRIS) each side of the idol. It has been used since Cyprus adopted the euro in 2008.

The Finnish design depicts two Whooper Swans (the national bird of Finland) flying over Finnish landscape, the date is visible in the landscape to the lower right. The coin was designed by Pertti Mäkinen and commemorates the 80th anniversary of the independence of Finland. The first series included the initial of the mint master of the Mint of Finland, Raimo Makkonen (an M), to the left side of the horizon. When the coins were redesign to meet the new design requirements, the initial was replaced by the mint's mint mark and the letters FI (for Finland) were included on the right hand side of the horizon.

1st Series (2002–2006)

2nd Series (2007–)

The French design by Joaquim Jimenez depicts a stylised tree (which symbolises life, continuity and growth) upon a hexagon (l'hexagone is often used to refer to France due to is broadly hexagonal shape). The letters RF, standing for République française (French Republic), stand each side of the trunk of the tree. Around the edge, but inside the circle of stars, is the motto of France: “liberté, égalité, fraternité”. The stars themselves are stylised, linked together by a pattern of lines. The date is located towards the bottom between the stars and the mint marks are located at the top.

The German design depicts the German coat of arms (the German eagle) which symbolises German sovereignty. The date appears at the base of the eagle and the gold behind the stars is etched to give visual effect. It was designed by Heinz and Sneschana Russewa-Hoyer.

The Greek design is based on a 5th century BC four drachma coin from Athensmarker.
The coin is of an owl (a symbol of Athens) with an olive branch to the top left. The outline of the old coin is still shown and the value of the euro in the Greek alphabet, 1 EYPΩ, is shown on the right hand side. The mint's mark is to the top and the date on the bottom side among the stars. It was designed by Georgios Stamatopoulos.

The Irish design shows an Irish harp (the Clàrsach) used as a national symbol (for example, on the Official Seal of the President of Ireland). Vertically on the left hand side is the word "Éire" (Ireland in the Irish language) and on the right hand side is the date. The harp motif was designed by Jarlath Hayes.

The Italian design depicts the 15th century "Vitruvian Man" drawing by Leonardo da Vinci which depicted the ideal proportions of a human body. Leonardo's work is highly symbolical as it represents the Renaissance focus on man as the measure of all things, and has simultaneously a round shape that fits the coin perfectly. As Carlo Azeglio Ciampi observed, this represents the "coin to the service of Man", instead of Man to the service of money. While the other Italian coins were chosen by the public in a television vote, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi had already decided that the Vitruvian man would be on the one euro coin. Laura Cretara designed the coin and it includes the interconnected letters IR (for Repubblica Italiana - Italian Republic). The year is to the right of the human body and the mint mark to the left.

The Luxembourgian design contains a stylised effigy of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg designed by Yvette Gastauer-Claire in consultation with the government and monarchy of Luxembourg. The left 40% of the coin has the effigy cut off and the style of the stars inverted. The year, followed by Lëtzebuerg (Luxembourg in Luxembourgish) written vertically.

The Maltese design is dominated by the Maltese Cross (the emblem of the Sovereign Order of Malta: 1520–1798, now a national symbol), with the background of a darker hatched texture. The word MALTA is shown with each letter appearing in a segment across the top half of the coin to the edge of the inner circle. The date is shown at the base of the inner circle. The cross was most popular in a public vote and was designed by Noel Galea Bason, the final design once more was most popular of all other proposals and hence was used for the one euro coin. It has been used since Malta switched to the euro in 2008.

The first Monegasque design contained effigies of both Prince Rainier III (monarch) and Prince Albert II (next in line). The name MONACO was written across the top of the coin and the year across the bottom with the mint marks. Upon the death of Prince Rainier III in 2005, and the accession of Prince Albert II, the coin design was changed to just show the effigy of Prince Albert II. The rest of the design stayed the same except for the name Monaco and the date moving within the inner circle.

1st Series (2002–2005)

2nd Series (2006–)

The Dutch design displays a stylised profile of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands over the left half of the coin, with the right hand side containing the words "Beatrix Koningin der Nederlanden" (“Beatrix Queen of The Netherlands” in Dutch) written vertically on three lines and the year written horizontally to the lower right. This design was taken from the former Dutch guilder. The mint marks are located on the bottom of the outer ring and the twelve stars are compressed onto the left side of the coin only, rather than forming a full circle.

The Portuguese design shows the royal seal of 1144 surrounded by the country's castles and five escutcheona with silver bezants set in relation to the surrounding European stars which is supposed to symbolise dialogue, exchange of values and dynamics in the building of Europe. Between the castles is the numbers of the year towards the bottom and the letters of the name Portugal between the upper icons. The stars are inset on a ridge.

The Sammarinese design features the coat of arms of San Marino. The date is located to the top left and the mint mark to the top right. San Marino is written along the bottom of the coat of arms.

The Slovak design came into use in 2009, when Slovakia adopted the euro. It features the Coat of arms of Slovakia, a double cross on three hills extending across the lower three stars. The background is a relief of rocks, representing the stability and strength of Slovakia. "SLOVENSKO" (Slovakia) is written to the right of the emblem and the date to the lower left. The design was chosen by a public competition and vote in 2005, with Ivan Řehák creating this winning design. His initials appear under the right branch of the cross, and the mint mark under the left branch.

The Slovenian design came into use in 2007 and was designed by Miljenko Licul, Maja Licul and Janez Boljka. The coin contains a portrait of Primož Trubar, a Protestant reformer and author of the first book written in the Slovene language. Around the portrait are the words "Stati inu obstati" (to stand and withstand) and the letters of the name SLOVENIJA (Slovenia) are placed between the stars on the right hand side. On the left hand side the date is located between the stars and the mint mark is next to the bottom star.

The Spanish design has an effigy of King Juan Carlos I designed by Luis José Díaz. To his left on a curved raised area is the name "España" (Spain) and four stars on the right hand size are on a raise area in the same manner. The mint mark is located beneath España and the date on the lower portion between the stars.

The Vatican design has changed two times. The first displayed an effigy of Pope John Paul II. The name CITTA DEL VATICANO (Vatican Citymarker), followed by the year and mint mark, was written in a break between the stars below. Following the death of John Paul II in 2005, a new coin was issued during the Sede vacante until a new Pope was chosen. This contained the insignia of the Apostolic Chamber and the coat of arms of the Cardinal Chamberlain. When Pope Benedict XVI was elected, his effigy appeared on the coins, with the name of the city now broken to his top right with the year and mint mark in the middle to his right.

1st Series (2002–2005)

2nd Series (2005–2006)

3rd Series (2006–)

Planned designs

Austria, Germany and Greece will also at some point need to update their designs to comply with guidelines stating they must include the issuing state's name or initial, and not repeat the denomination of the coin.

In addition, there are several EU states that have not yet adopted the euro, some of them have already agreed upon their coin designs however it is not know exactly when they will adopt the currency, and hence these are not yet minted. See enlargement of the Eurozone for expected entry dates of these countries. | Estonia: A map of Estoniamarker.File:1eurolithuanian.jpg | Lithuania: The Vytis, the Coat of arms of Lithuania.File:Latvian 1 euro coin design.JPG | Latvia: Latvian maiden.


As of 2009, €1 coins have been produced every year in Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands and Spain. In Austria, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxemburg, Portugal, San Marino and the Vatican City no €1 coins were minted dated 1999, 2000 and 2001. In Monacomarker, no €1 coins were minted in 1999, 2000, 2005 and 2008. Cyprus, Slovenia, Slovakia and Malta have produced coins every year since their respective entries into the eurozone.

Proof €1 coins are only minted by the majority, but not all, of the eurozone states. The most valuable planned issue of a €1 coin was by Vatican City in 2002. It is worth more than €100. However the French mint marks were mistakenly not placed on some 2007 Monaco coins which are hence worth more than €200 to collectors.

Country Issues 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Total 174/139 5 4 5 4 6 5 20 14 19 15 18 15 19 15 18 16 20 16 21 17 23 18

PP means the Proof condition coins.Numbers means if more than one coin was minted in that year in that condition.In Germany, there are 5 mint marks, so they mint 10 types of coins in every year. In Greece, there were coins in 2002 which were minted in Finland with S mint mark. In the Vatican, there were coins minted with John Paul II's effigy, and with "Sede Vacante" image in 2005.


  1. Banknotes and coins in circulation, European Central Bank

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