Camino and money – from a slightly different angle

Coins and banknotes dedicated to the pilgrimage, from around the world

I’ve already written about the financial side of the Camino (it can be read here), but this topic can be viewed from another perspective, too. The reason for that is that numerous special coins have been issued in Spain and the EU (and several other countries, as well). There are many among them, which were made in the 90’s.
As a (very) amateur numismat (= someone, who collects coins and currencies), I got to know right before my Portuguese Way in 2019 that there were Camino-themed Euro coins out there, so I always took a look at the change I got in the shops, and was hoping to find one.
I wasn’t successful in that mission, but thanks to my buddy, Frederick, I had the chance to see a 2 Euro coin he owns. After that, I went after these coins to keep one as a relic. In the end, I managed to put my hand on more than one, since it turned out that there are some in the streets.

Pesetas

Before the euro, between 1868 and 2001, the official currency of Spain was peseta.

100 Pesetas

Camino de Europa
This coin was issued in 1993, and both sides of it were dedicated to the Camino. It doesn’t concentrate on the Spanish Way. On one side, the European Camino routes are depicted, while on the other one, there is a stylized shell shape to be seen, among the stars of the EU.
It weighs 9.25 grams/0,32oz, and it is made of aluminium-bronze alloy. It is a small-sized coin, with a diameter of 24.5mm/0,96inches, only, but at the same time it’s as thick as 2.5mm/0,1inches and there were plenty of them – 39.000.000(!) pieces – in circulation.

5 Pesetas

This coin, designed by Raffael Vallejo, was also issued in the Holy Year of 1993, with more important symbols of the Camino appearing on it.
This aluminium-bronze alloy coin’s diameter is not more than 17.5mm/0,69inches, it’s 1.5mm/0,06inches thick, and it weighs 3 grams/0,11oz. There was plenty of them in circulation, as 372.000.000 pieces were made from this coin, which has been withdrawn already.

Silver and golden pesetas issued in Holy Years

1993
Silver 2000 and 10.000 pesetas of 1993
The 2000 pesetas coin weighs 27 grams/0,95oz, with a diameter of 40mm/1,57 inches and a thickness of 2.1mm/0,08 inches. 17.236 pieces were made from the one with the cross, while there are 10.786 pieces from the one depicting a German pilgrim.
Altogether 7000 pieces were made from this 10.000 pesetas silver coin. It’s a large one, with a weight of 178.75grams/6,31oz, with a diameter of 73mm/2,87 inches and a thickness of 4mm/0,16inches.
Golden 20.000 pesetas
The 20.000 pesetas coin was also made for the 1993 Holy Year. It’s weight is 6.75 grams/0,24oz, with a diameter of 28mm/1,1 inches and a thickness of 0.8mm/0,03 inches. This coin, of which there are only 1.867 pieces, depicts the transportation of Saint James’s corpse  in a boat. On the other side, one can see the portrait of Juan Carlos, I.
Golden 80.000 pesetas
The huge 80.000 golden pesetas coin's weight is 28 grams/0,99oz, with a diameter of 38mm/1,5 inches. There are only 1.500 pieces of it worldwide, so it worths approximately 1.000-1.500 euros/USD.
The complete set is highly valuable, with a value of about 2.000 euros/USD

1999

The 2000 pesetas silver coin, issued in 1999 weighs 18.2 grams/0,64oz. It has a diameter of 33mm/1,3 inches, and it’s 2mm/0,08 inches thick. This coin – made in Madrid – is the work of Alfonso Morales. One one side, traditionally, there is the portrait of the king. The other side depicts Saint James and the Santiago cross. I also happen to have one of these, as there is an extremely high number of such coins: more than 2.000.000 pieces are in circulation among collectors. For that reason, it’s not really valuable, but it’s still beautiful.
Silver and gold pesetas series of 1999
3 types of 2000 pesetas silver coins were issued for the 1999 Holy Year, with 1 Camino-related building on each one. On the other side of the coins, you can see the portrait of Juan Carlos, I., obviously. The diameter of these is 40mm/1,57 inches, they weigh 27 grams/0,95oz, and their thickness is a significant 2.1mm/0,08inches.

Beside these, a 10.000 pesetas silver coin was also issued, which is as heavy as 168.75/5,95oz grams, has a diameter of 73mm/2,87 inches and a thickness of 4mm/0,16  inches. This one coin is worth approximately 150 euros/USD at the moment, among collectors.

The complete silver coin set from 1999
The same year, a gold coin was also created: it’s 80.000 pesetas, 27g/0,95oz, diameter: 38mm/1,5 inches and thickness: 1.2mm/0,05 inches. It’s extremely rare.

The set complemented with the golden coin is highly valuable: collectors are willing to pay around 2.000 euros/USD for it.

Euros and cents


The Camino-themed 1, 2, and 5 Euro cents have been in circulation since 1999. The back side of these portrays the towers of the Santiago cathedral.

2 Euros

Spain started manufacturing coins with the pictures of regionally important buildings on them in 2010. This coin with the cathedral of Burgos on it, issued in 2012, is a piece of my collection. Although it is not exactly a Camino-related coin, for me it still is, since Burgos was an important place on my way.

In 2018, they finally issued the 2 Euro coin decorated with the cathedral of Santiago. This is the one I was hunting for, when on The Way. Finally, I managed to get one of the 300.000 pieces, online.

Extra 2 Euro coins

These very special 2 Euro coins have been made especially for collectors. I was lucky enough to get hold of each.
Coloured
There are only 2.000 pieces of the 2 Euro coins with the coloured backside.
Silver-plated
This heavily silver-plated coin from 2018 is also a collector’s piece. In size and design, it is no different from the simple 2 Euro coin. However, it’s middle part is not golden yellow, but covered in silver.
Goldplated
To cut it short, it’s a good idea to check not only the 2 Euro coins, but also the 1-2-5 cents. You might get lucky.

Euro memorial coins

2015 UNESCO 5 Euros
This 13.5g/0,48oz silver 5 Euro coin has a diameter of 33mm/1,3 inches, and depicts the cathedral of Santiago. It is one of the UNESCO Spanish World Heritage Cities series. There are 7000 pieces of it.
2004 10 Euros
This 10 Euro coin of 2010 depicts the famous Botafumeiro from the cathedral of Santiago with the silhouette of the cathedral on one side, and the schematic depiction of the way of the Camino. The other side of the coin portrays the Spanish king, Juan Carlos, I. Its diameter is 40mm/1,57 inches, it weighs 27g/0,95oz, and there are 10.000 pieces of it.
The nought-Euro notes and this 1 Euro coin are rare exceptions in my collection. Neither of them are in circulation. Even the size of the coin is not the official size, but much larger than that. They are still beautiful.

Zero Euros notes

There are more types of these. 5000 of them were printed with each pattern. Although these are not accepted in shops, they are still numbered, printed on official paper with the same safety elements as real Euro notes have (symbols visible under UV light, holographs, etc.):
There are also these types:
Burgos pattern
Portuguese Camino pattern
1 Euro medallion

Collectors’ coins

Microstates and islands often make money by issuing special coins and stamps. Below, you can find more of such coins, which are especially nicely designed pieces, pieces of art.
1 diner, Andorra
This 0.5g/0,02oz, 11mm/0,43 inches diameter gold coin was issued in Andorra. Andorra is situated in the Eastern part of the Pyrenees, between France and Spain. It is Europe’s largest microstate. One interesting fact is that its official currency is the Euro. There are 5.000 pieces of it, only, and was issued in 2010. This tiny coin is the most precious piece of my collection.
5 dollars, Cook Islands
From this special, silver 5-(New Zealand)-dollar coin, there are only 5000 pieces.  It was issued in 2009. It was designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. On one side, you can see Elizabeth, II. The other side depicts the cathedral of Santiago among the shell and cross symbols of the Camino. The dimensions of this coin are 35*35/1,38*1,38 inches, and it weighs 25g/0,88oz.
10 dollars, Nauru
Nauru is a small island in Micronesia, with a territory of only 21.3 square kilometres. This beautiful, special, silver statue-coin from 2006, has a diameter of 38.61mm. It weighs 31.1grams/1,1oz. The cathedral on it is covered with 24-karat gold. The size of the cathedral is 16*21mm/0,63*0,83 inches. It weighs 2.91g/0,1oz. The two components are mentioned separately for a reason. The uniqueness of this coin lies in the fact that the cathedral in the middle can be taken out and put into the slot under it. This way, the coin becomes 3-dimensional. 
There are only 2000 pieces of it in the world. It is the most special piece of my collection.
10 dollars, Palau
This 10 dollar, square coin from the „Holy Windows” series, issued in Palau in 2011 is also a unique one. It’s one of the most valuable piece, with a value of 500 Euros! 
Palau can be found in the Southern part of the Pacific Ocean, in the Western-most archipelagos of the Caroline Islands. The state consists of 241 islands, 12 of which are inhabited only. The larger islands are of volcanic origins, whereas the smaller ones are coral islands. The tropical republic is primarily famous for its tourism.
10 dollars, Samoa
This silver medallion has been issued in Samoa in 2002, to commemorate the withdrawal of the Spanish pesetas. On one side, you can see the cathedral of Santiago and the picture of a one peseta coin. Its diameter is 40mm/1,57 inches, it weighs 31g/1,09oz and there are altogether 2000 pieces of it.

Extra

Portuguese 10 Euro coin with the Sé cathedral of Porto
Similarly to my Burgos coin, this is also not exactly a Camino coin, but since it depicts the significant station of the Portuguese Way, I think it has a place in this post.
This 27g/0,95oz silver coin with a 40mm/1,57 inches diameter was issued in 2005 . There are altogether 300.000 pieces of it as part of the ’Architecture and Buildings’ series.

Memorial plaques, medallions, jewelry

Naturally, there are numerous other coins and plaques in circulation. These, however, are not for paying, but more like ornaments, just like this French gold coin that was issued multiple times between 2014 and 2018:
This Camino themed square plaque is also a beautiful ornament of the desk with a stand:
And some people make jewelry out of coins, which can be rather pretty:

+1 extra from my buddy Frederik:

1kg Saint James puzzle silver and gold coins from the island of Tokelau
The Tokelau Islands is a name for three tropical coral atolls in Polinesia, close to New Zealand. Earlier, they were known as Union Islands. Their territory is 10 square kilometres only, its population is around 1400. Tokelau’s inhabitants – not surprisingly live off tourism and issuing rare coins.
The 30-dollars silver coin depicting Saint James is one of the ’Apostles’ series. It was issued in 2014. It weighs 1kg/35,27oz, consists of 8 pieces, and its diameter is 120mm/4,72 inches. One side depicts Saint James, whereas the other one portrays Queen Elizabeth, II.
You can buy one of these for approximately 1.500-2.000 euros/USD, since it is huge, and there are only 1000 pieces of it in the world.

The 1kg/35,27oz gold coin with a 120mm/4,72 inches diameter can be bought for an unbelievable, 60.000 US dollars price. Even though it has ’1000 New Zealand dollars’ carved into it, there are only 12 pieces of it.

Their one-piece gold coin is also worth mentioning, because even though it’s only 155.5grams/5,49oz, and its diameter isn’t longer than 65mm/2,56 inches, but there are only 99 pieces of it in the world, due to which its carved, 250 (New Zealand) dollars value immediately becomes significantly higher.
Of course, the 2014 coin is available in silver, too. The nominal value of this one is 5 dollars, its weight is 28.28g/1oz, with a diameter of 38.6mm/1,52 inches. There are 3000 copies of it. As a consequence, it can be bought for a fairly low, 75 US dollars price.

+1

Michael Walsh makes walking sticks using low value Camino themed coins on them. 
He also adds a metal scallop shell.

Frank Maiolo produces rings of the Santiago cathedral themed eurocents.
 They look really nice too.

  My personal favourite is the old Spanish 5 pesetas, because this rather small, but beautiful coin doesn’t depict the cathedral, but the shell, the Botafumeiro and Saint James.

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Thanks for sharing!


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