The Copper Alliance The Copper Alliance Copper Development Association
Home
Search include (copper)


check valve

butterfly valves

flange

ball valve

valves

Gate valve

globe valve

Search
Online enquiry
Go to online enquiry form
Applications            

You have been redirected to our new site www.copperalliance.org.uk.
Please bookmark the new page

Coins

History of copper in coins

Since the beginning of civilisation, copper has been used to make coins for currency. The ancient Romans recognised the value of this material and used a wide variety of copper coins. Centuries later, the Gold Standard gave way to the Copper Standard for coins of all values due to copper's long-lasting properties. Even today, when consumers are surveyed about copper, the most popular association comes with currency and coins. Anglo-Saxon countries like England and the United States have long used copper for their most popular coins, such as the penny.

Roman copper coin

Copper and the Euro

Its history as a material for currency is just one of the reasons why the adopters of the euro have chosen to use copper in each of the coins introduced in twelve European countries in January 2002. Copper's excellent resistance to corrosion made it appealing for the euro designers who required a non-tarnishable surface and an average lifetime for the coins of 30 years. The smaller denominations of one, two and five cents are made from copper-covered steel. The medium denominations of 10, 20 and 50 cents are made from an alloy, containing 89% copper, called 'Nordic Gold'. The one and two euro coins have inner and outer rings made of nickel-brass and copper alloys. The table below gives further details.

1 eurocent coin

94.35% steel
5.65% copper

Diameter: 16.25mm
Thickness: 1.67mm
Weight: 2.30 grammes

Copper covered steel
2 eurocent coin

94.4% steel
5.6% copper

Diameter: 18.72mm
Thickness: 1.67mm
Weight: 3.06 grammes

Copper covered steel
5 eurocent coin

94.35% steel
5.65% copper

Diameter: 21.75mm
Thickness: 1.67mm
Weight: 3.92 grammes

Copper covered steel

10 eurocent coin

89% copper
5% aluminium
5% zinc
1% tin

Diameter: 19.75mm
Thickness: 1.93mm
Weight: 4.10 grammes

Nordic gold
20 eurocent coin

89% copper
5% aluminium
5% zinc
1% tin

Diameter: 22.25mm
Thickness: 2.14mm
Weight: 5.74 grammes

 
50 eurocent coin

89% copper
5% aluminium
5% zinc
1% tin

Diameter: 24.25mm
Thickness: 2.36mm
Weight: 7.80 grammes

Nordic gold

one euro coin

Inner:
75% copper
25% nickel clad on nickel core

Outer:
75% copper
20% zinc
5% nickel

Diameter: 23.25mm
Thickness: 2.33mm
Weight: 7.50 grammes
(inner 3.71g/outer 3.79g)

Bi-metallic

two euro coin

Inner:
75% copper
20% zinc
5% nickel clad on nickel core

Outer:
75% copper
25% nickel

Diameter: 25.75mm
Thickness: 2.10mm
Weight: 8.50 grammes
(inner 4.10g/outer 4.40g)

Bi-metallic

Copper's superior malleability allows clear images and distinct edging on all the coins. The latter is especially important for the visually impaired. Each coin denomination has a separate edge design to facilitate recognition. Copper's electrical conducting properties, which result in highly specific electronic signatures, are critical to providing the security safeguards necessary for use in the myriad of vending and coin handling machines across Europe.

Other attributes that make copper the metal of choice for the new currency are its antibacterial characteristics and its low risk of inducing allergic reaction. In an era of sustainable development, the total recyclability of copper makes it ideal for this new generation of coins throughout the euro countries.

How much copper was needed?

The initial production of blank coins throughout the Eurozone required around 180,000 tonnes of copper. Divided over two years, this quantity represented about 2% of the annual copper usage in Europe. Coin blanks were produced at plants broadly across Europe. The number of coins minted for each country varied based on population and historical usage patterns. For example, Italy needed 13 billion coins, while Portugal needed just 1.2 billion.

Recyclability of copper

Most of the material used for the minting of the coins was new. Only when existing national coins were withdrawn from circulation did the market have material to recycle. Old coins were sent back to various metal refining facilities where the different materials were separated and then re-used in a broad range of applications.

CRU estimated that 85,000 tonnes of copper were recycled. For copper, it is thought that 80% of all the material mined over the centuries is still in use today.

The Euro design

A closer look at the euro coins themselves show a European side and a national side. Luc Luycx, a graphic designer of the Belgian Royal Mint, designed the European side with basic elements in the design showing a map of the European Union in different forms with a dynamic background composed of stars. The national side designs vary from country to country. Copper's performance attributes will help preserve the visual appearance and longevity of the coins in everyday use. While the copper blanks are produced at a number of locations, the national mints produce the national coins. Copper is considered to be the most historical coin metal and its unique properties have long proven their worth for mankind. It is no wonder that copper and its alloys continue to be selected for modern coinage throughout the world, and that it was the metal of choice for the historic moment when twelve countries joined together under one currency.

HomeAntimicrobial  |  Architecture  |  Brass  |  Electrical  | Plumbing  |  Alloys  |  Applications  |  Education  |
Environment   |  Health  |  Markets  |  Resources  |  What's New  |  About CDA  |  Contact  |  Links  |

Copper Development Association · 5 Grovelands Business Centre · Boundary Way · Hemel Hempstead · HP2 7TE· United Kingdom
Email: info@copperalliance.org.uk  ·  Fax: +44 (0)1442 275716

Please read the disclaimer and copyright notice before you make use of any information from this site.  
© 2014 Copper Development Association