Euro Diffusion
December 19, 2002 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Euro diffusion: "On January 2002 twelve European countries [plus San Marino, the Vatican and Monaco] have welcomed the euro as their new coin. The euro coins have a national side, which is different for every country... So there are fifteen different euro coins that can be used in every one of those 15 countries. Therefore, unlike in the past, the coins will not be collected and brought back to their home country. The coins will slowly but surely be spreaded over the 15 countries. This is the diffusion of the euro, the euro diffusion[.pdf file]." A statistician's playground, this unique historical opportunity, is leading to interesting collaborative internet projects
posted by talos (17 comments total)
neat! is anyone doing this with the states' coins?

just read about some loop hole that allowed for a grace period for exchanging austrian schillings. so, since they're going to be worthless soon, people have been emptying out any schillings they had leftover or stashed away to use as currency, thus conforming to "gresham's law," which states that bad money drives out good money, because people will tend to hoard better currencies and conduct their affairs in worse ones.

i wonder if there might be any similar, but more subtle, process with euro diffusion that would accentuate small differences in the "national" currencies and perhaps even national characters. i bet they'll learn a lot by tracking and sampling these migration patterns. too bad they don't have radio tags or radiation markers tho :D
posted by kliuless at 7:57 AM on December 19, 2002

I was recently in Ireland for three months. There isn't much diffusion there, and it's rare to find a non-Eire coin. The foreign coins that one does encounter tend to be Spanish and Italian (probably due to foreign employees at the company I was working for - the cafeteria is a good coin-diffusion spot), and I only came across one or two specimens of any other countries in my time there.
posted by whatnotever at 8:08 AM on December 19, 2002

hi whatnotever, hope you enjoyed your stay in ireland. My experience of euros in ireland has been completely different - out of all the coins listed in the second link i've frequently seen all of them except two. I have french and italian coins in my pocket as i type. I reckon at this stage other countries coins are fairly widespread across ireland. I imagine they are even more so on the european mainland. (oh, and nice post by the way)
posted by kev23f at 8:19 AM on December 19, 2002

From the article: On top of that three ministates San Marino, the Vatican and Monaco...

talos: On January 2002 twelve European countries [plus San Marino, the Vatican and Monaco]

Not sure about San Marino and Monaco, but isn't Vatican City a bona fide country?
posted by jsonic at 8:27 AM on December 19, 2002

Slightly off topic... I noticed something curious about the euro coins a while back. None of them were (are?) thin enough to fit in the slot of a (maybe a camera battery) compartment I was trying to open. All of those instructions: use a coin to turn... wasted. I now keep a newly old franc in my tool tray for such occasions.

I always look at my change. I see more spanish than any other -- except french of course. I don't keep track but I reckon I've seen over half of the available faces. It's great fun.
posted by Dick Paris at 8:30 AM on December 19, 2002

Great post, talos. You made the euro interesting. I'd have thought that was well nigh impossible. Thanks.

For the record, in European countries other Europeans actually visit (the sunny ones, the good ones) you get a lot of "foreign" euros. People pay no attention to them and quite rightly. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:47 AM on December 19, 2002

I never thought I'd say it, but the sooner we get the Euro in the UK the better. To be able to travel between countries and always have an immediate understanding of how much you are spending would be a godsend. It would stop me going mental at the airport shops on the way there and back.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:53 AM on December 19, 2002

jsonic: San Marino and Monaco are countries too. It's just that they are not official EU members ( they didn't have their own money and used Italian and French currency instead, thus they joined the Euro de facto).
In general "foreign Euros" are becoming more and more common in Greece, with a huge increase in frequency after summer...
posted by talos at 9:28 AM on December 19, 2002

It's kinda neat, but I can see how this could be confusing, if you have 15 kinds of the same denomination coin.

posted by Witold at 12:26 PM on December 19, 2002

I love looking at what is in my purse when commuting. Some unknown cent in there?
posted by ugly_n_sticky at 1:23 PM on December 19, 2002

I was in Spain last week, checking the backs of every coin I could, I only found 3 coins total that weren't spanish, a German 10 cent, a German 1 cent and a French 5 cent, everything else and I mean EVERYTHING was Spanish, and here I was all excited because I thought I'd get to see all the neat designs up close, merde! Spain was great though!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:51 PM on December 19, 2002

Witold: all their Euro coins have one side that is common to all Euroland countries; it's the other side that's country specific.

One note on the variety of designs: has anybody else noticed that the southern countries have nicer/more varied designs (props to Italy, Portugal, and my home, Greece). I understand the Kingdoms having to have their king/queen on one side, but com'on Eire, France...
posted by costas at 2:01 PM on December 19, 2002

What IS up with the dumb-ass circ-de-soleil crap on the back of the French coins? And here I was beginning to think that maybe all French men WEREN'T gay! ;)
posted by Pollomacho at 2:17 PM on December 19, 2002

Pollo, are you referring to the image on the smaller coins? That is Marianne. She is a popular symbol in France and is usually selected for her, well, bosum.
posted by Dick Paris at 1:19 AM on December 20, 2002

This shows a young, feminine Marianne with determined features that embody the desire for a sound and lasting Europe

I think I'm a little confused. I can usually get symbolic meaning and abstract concepts, but there's got to be more to the story than just a hot chick equaling a "sound and lasting Europe" Maybe I just need to be French? To me it looked like a circus clown. I must be missing a lot of information in between!
posted by Pollomacho at 6:49 AM on December 20, 2002

Pollomacho: Marianne.
posted by talos at 6:54 AM on December 20, 2002

Thanks talos, makes sense now, still not sure I get how Laetitia Casta or Catheine Deneuve are supposed to represent this symbolic peasant girl, but if it means that I get to see more scantily clad images of them and Brigitte Bardot, then I'm not going to complain! Maybe I do understand after all!
posted by Pollomacho at 8:11 AM on December 20, 2002

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