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Spain Could Follow in State Quarters' Footsteps
January 27, 2010

While Europe is shivering in the cold outside, I am more concerned with the usual effects of jet lag inside. While the clock says it is morning, my body tells me that it is the night before as the seven hour-time difference between Berlin and Iola, Wis., has not yet been rectified. This has not stopped the four of us who traveled here from Krause Publications from getting to work.

My publisher, Scott Tappa, and associates Tom Michael, Lisa Bellavin and I met with officials of the Spanish Mint Tuesday night at the Estrel Hotel. The place is already beginning to fill up with officials from various world mints. We are all here to attend the World Money Fair.

There were a number of issues that were raised in a wide ranging discussion, but perhaps the most interesting was the revelation that Spain is considering a program inspired by the United State's state quarter program. The country would issue a 52-piece series of silver proof coins to honor the provinces of Spain. The coins would be based on the historical monetary system as well as the current euro system. The coin would be denominated as a 5-euro coin, but would also be a 4 reales. In the old Spanish system on which the U.S. dollar is based, the 8 reales is a silver dollar sized coin and 4 reales would be half dollar size. It would be 13.5 grams in weight, or half the size of the old 8 reales and the correct weight for the old 4 reales.

The obverse design of the new coins would change as well as the reverses. The country name would be the unifying element on the obverse, but otherwise it would bear the coats of arms of each place. The reverses would depict scenes typical of each place. The country name might be done in a combination of raised letters and recessed letters to create an interesting visual effect.

The coins would be issued much more rapidly than the U.S. series, as the program as currently envisioned would run for just five years. There would also be no circulating coin component.

No final decision has been taken as yet to go forward.


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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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