THE concept of a joint circulating currency goes back centuries with Rome allowing local currency as well as Roman coinage to be used and the Austrian Maria Theresa Thaler became known as a trade coin back in the 18th century.
Various former French colonies in Africa shared a common currency based on the Franc but the Euro is probably the most ambitious of the shared currencies to go into circulation.
There are currently 19 members of the eurozone, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain yet there are 23 different euro coin types issued as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City are also allowed to issue euro coins but these are very scarce.
One of the very important sides of stamp collecting was to teach children about geography and cultures of different countries around the world and in the 50s and 60s, stamp collecting was not the expensive hobby that it is today.
Living in Spain, we use euro bank notes which are of a common design but each country issues its own circulating euro coins with one side common but the design on the other side is left to the country of origin to decide.
Children do still love to collect as can be seen from the sale of football stickers and perhaps not as much now but Pokémon cards all of which cost quite a lot but it is very easy to check your change to see different countries €1 coins.
Spain has just three designs, firstly King Juan Carlos (two versions) and now King Felipe VI, so that’s an easy start but in areas where there are (or have been) plenty of tourists from eurozone Countries then they often bring coins with them.
It is very easy to spot French, German, Irish, Italian and Portuguese €1 coins in change regularly and most of the others do appear occasionally although finding the elusive ones is part of the fun of collecting.
Be warned however, that some of the ‘micro nations’ coins may only be found through a coin dealer as they issue mainly for collector purposes with the Vatican City having the largest number of different designs.
Whilst it would be possible to consider collecting lower value coins, they are generally of less high quality and many members have now stopped production of 1c and 2c coins as they cost more to make than they are worth.