The Monnaie de Paris has launched (26th January) new gold and silver Proof-quality collector coins which denote the 20th anniversary of the release of euro starter-kits. These kits were essentially a collection of all eight coin denominations of the new euro currency issued by all 12 countries who were in the first wave of the euro-zone. As the euro currency was imminently becoming a reality, all central banks within the euro-zone made available a small amount of these pre-packaged coins to the public, exchangeable for a particular amount of money, usually an amount represented in one banknote of minimal value for ease of transaction. The exercise was organised so that those living in the euro-zone could familiarise themselves with their new coins before their official use. In the case of France, one euro starter-kit could be exchanged for 100 francs, which equalled €15.24, containing 4000 coins including all eight denominations minted in 1999, 2000, and 2001 for use only from the 1st January 2002. On the 14th December 2001, the euro-kits went on sale at commercial banks and post offices with 53 million kits prepared in anticipation of the big day. Adding an extra level of exclusivity to these small bags of coins, the two micro-nations Monaco and Vatican City also issued their own versions of euro-kits, as they were granted the right to issue their own coins denominated in euros. Millions of people in all 12 countries, plus those living in Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City, lined up to purchase the starter-kits, many seeing their new coins for the very first time. The vast majority of these bags were opened, and the coins ultimately spent after the day the euro became legal tender for the more than 300 million people who underwent the largest-ever currency changeover in history. A quest to acquire all of the other countries’ euro starter-kits became a pre-occupation for avid collectors. Today, original euro-starter-kits, including those from countries who adopted the euro after 2002, can still be found on auction websites, with those from Vatican City and Monaco commanding much more significant sums than their face value.
The coins, which remember the 20th anniversary of France’s euro starter-kits, are the work of Monnaie de Paris artisan Joachim Jimenez. The designs cleverly link past and present French circulation coinage. On the obverse and in the background, is the original sower from the French engraver Oscar Roty, which first featured on silver two, one, and 1/2-franc coins from 1898. The second representation of the sower in the foreground is the original face of Rosalinda Pesce, the woman who inspired the engraver. This is the first time she appears on a coin. Also included in the design are 20 stars in the background representing 20 years of the starter kit. The sun is represented on this coin as a reminder of the francs, and the meadow is depicted as the French tri-colour flag, and the denomination is placed just below the image of Pesce.
The reverse side includes a montage of images of the currently circulating euro coinage which came into use on the 1st January 2002. Superimposed over the collection is the euro insignia € and above the primary design is the inscription 2021 20 ans du starterkit.
|10 euro||.999 Silver||22 g||Rectangle||Proof||*3,000|
|50 euro||.999 Gold||7.78 g||Rectangle||Proof||500|
|100 euro||.999 Gold||15.55 g||31 mm||Proof||250|
*The €10 silver coin is available separately or as part of a combined presentation limited to 1,500 sets that include a 2021-dated euro starter-kit. The new kit consists of the same quantities of denominations as those released in December 2001 (shown below) and limited to 20,000 sets. The gold €50 and €100 coins are also available separately. For additional information about these coins and others available from the Monnaie de Paris, please visit their website.
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