Just got a note from Danny Ayers (this is fun!)
Maybe you'll rather wait for the excitement of discovering an Italian Euro by chance, but I'll happily swap you one for it's Spanish counterpart. In my entirely unbiased opinion the I.E. [Italian Euro] is the coolest, featuring a picture of da Vinci's "Bloke With Too Many Arms and Legs", though I must confess I haven't seen any other nationalities' yet...
Well, for your viewing pleasure, I've discovered the official Euro website with all the coins from the various nationalities. Including the cool-ass Italian ones. It's a pretty well designed site, actually. Click on the flags on the side for the other countries. Each country's personality REALLY shines on these coins IMHO... It's definitely fun to discover new ones in your pocket and try to figure out where it's from (there's no names on most).
Here's my one bitch about the Euro: the coins suck. It's been months and still every time you grab a coin you have to flip it over and find the number to figure out what it is. I travelled all over Europe before the Euro was introduced and I can say from experience that in each country it only took a few days to get used to the coins before you could pick them out of your hand without much thought or effort. All of these coins were designed over time, based on use and experience.
The Euro coins were designed by a committee and it shows.
But they look good on the site, don't they? On the posters that were all over before the switch too. But they're crap. Don't get me wrong, the Euro is great. I love the parity with the dollar - it makes my life that much easier here. The bills are colorful and well designed - different sizes, different colors, big numbers, etc. And anyone who travelled throughout Europe pre-Euro knows that when you crossed a border, your coins became so much scrap metal. You couldn't change coins in another country, even at a bank. So, I love the Euro, I just think the design of the coins sucks. Here's why:
There are 3 sets of coins. The bronze-colored coins are worth 1, 2, and 5 Eurocents, the brass colored coins are worth 10, 20 and 50 Eurocents and there are two multi-colored coins (silver and gold) worth 1 and 2 Euros.
Okay, let's start with the first set: There are 3 small coins. You reach into your pocket and you grab a few. More times than not, you have only 2 different coins. One is bigger than the other. But are they the 2 and the 1 coins? Or are they the 2 and the 5? The 1 and the 5 are sufficiently different that you can tell, but any other combo and you have to STOP, FLIP and CHECK. Solution: get rid of the 2 Eurocent. Why does it exist anyways?
Second set: the 10, 20 and 50 are sufficiently different in size and weight so you can tell the difference really easily. However the 50 is basically the EXACT same size as the ï¿½1. Which means that if you're in the back of a dark cab trying to fish out the right change for the meter, you're out of luck. You have to STOP, FLIP and CHECK to see what you have in your hand.
Third set: The ï¿½1 and ï¿½2 coins are the SAME COLORS, except in reverse. What genius thought this one up, I don't know. The ï¿½1 is waaay to small for it's value (smaller than the Suzan B/Sacawagia (sp?) dollar coins even) and the ï¿½2 is so similar to the ï¿½1 that you always end up STOPPING, FLIPPING and CHECKING to use the coins.
It's been months and no one I know can distinguish the coins. In lines at the checkout counter it's a nightmare to be behind old ladies who more often than not just thrust their money purse out for the cashier to pick the right change out because they've just given up trying.