January 17, 2012

0101 A 20€ bill from Santa Claus

I wouldn't say that is the best time for a discussion on the euro, but Siem "Makemehappy" sent me a postcard with a 20 euro bill even on Christmas Day (December 25), last year, as a real Santa Claus, so I can't avoid the subject (Thanks, Siem, I hope to be a good sign, even if the euro is approaching for the minimum of the last 16 months and shows no sign of recovery). It seems that interest for the euro has dropped not only on the financial markets but also among the forgers of banknotes, so that if in 2009 there were 860,000 of counterfeits seized, a year later their number had fallen to 751,000, and in 2011 was found only 606,000. Indeed, the quality of counterfeits has improved significantly, so a supporter of the currency in question might say that hasn't decreased the number of counterfeits, but only that of counterfeits seized. An entrepreneurial spirit would have made a profit even from this business, applying a beautiful stamp with "false" on those banknotes and selling them to collectors.

For those outside of Europe, here is some information taken from Wikipedia. The euro (sign: €; code: EUR) is the official currency of the eurozone, for 17 of the 27 member states of the EU (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain). The euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar. The name euro was officially adopted on 16 December 1995, but it was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency on 1 January 1999, and the coins and the banknotes entered circulation on 1 January 2002. The euro is divided into 100 cents (sometimes referred to as euro cents).

The design for the euro banknotes has common designs on both sides, and was created by the Austrian designer Robert Kalina. Notes are issued in €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10, €5. Each banknote has its own colour and is dedicated to an artistic period of European architecture. The front of the note features windows or gateways while the back has bridges. While the designs are supposed to be devoid of any identifiable characteristics, the initial designs by Robert Kalina were of specific bridges, including the Rialto and the Pont de Neuilly, and were subsequently rendered more generic; the final designs still bear very close similarities to their specific prototypes; thus they are not truly generic.

I should also mention that the postcard doesn't reproduce accurately and completely the banknote, perhaps lest to try to buy something with it.

The first stamp is part of Green Progress set, about which I wrote here. The second shows the Queen Beatrix.

sender: Siem / Makemehappy (postcrossing)