Metals News (December 01, 2001)
Fresh, coppery coins in Europe
On Jan. 1, 2002, the new euro will be circulated in Europe, in both paper currency and coinage–the largest monetary changeover the world has ever seen. Eight coin denominations are being minted, and all denominations contain a substantial amount of copper. In fact, 184,000 tons of copper will be needed for the first minting.
The fall 2001 issue of Copper Update, published by the International Copper Association, Ltd., says that mints look for specific attributes in selecting alloys for coins. There are several reasons why copper has been successfully used in coins for thousands of years, and was selected as the major alloying metal for the 10-cent through Eur 2 coins.
Copper has natural antimicrobial properties that help prevent the spread of bacteria; the selected alloys are non-allergenic. Copper is 100% recyclable. The alloys in euro coins are durable; they are expected to last for 30 years. Copper is resistant to tarnishing. Its malleability results in clear images and distinct edging. The electrical conductivity of the euro coin alloys produce electronic signatures that provide security safeguards for vending machines. And some of the copper alloys being used have the much-desired “gold” colour.