Physical Properties of the Euro Coins

As early as 1992 the first suggestions regarding the form and physical properties of the Euro coins were formulated by the Mint Directors Working Group.

The European association for blind people as well as representatives of the vending machine industry among others were consulted.

The aim was that the new coins be easy to distinguish from one another both visually and by feel.

The first three coins, the one cent, two cent and five cent consist of an iron copper mix. Although a layer of copper affords protection against oxidation, the pleasant red-copper colour of the newly minted coins slowly turns into a darkish rather unattractive brown.

The "Middle Coins" - the 10,20 and 50 cent pieces are made of 'Nordic Gold'. This is an amalgum consisting of :

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

Nordic Gold is rather difficult to produce and form - this acts as a deterrent to counterfeiters - and retains its lustre.

A major consideration in determining the make-up of the one and two Euro coins was to make them difficult (ideally impossible) to counterfeit. Bi-metal coins had already been used in Italy,Portugal and France and these served as models for the one and two Euro coins which are made of two different metal amalgums.

i) A gold coloured amalgam consisting of 75% copper,20% zinc and 5% nickle

ii) A silver coloured amalgam consisting of 75% copper and 25% nickle

The one Euro coin has a silver centre surrounded by a gold ring and the two Euro coin has a gold centre surrounded by a silver ring.

Summary of the Physical Properties of the Euro coins

in grams
in mm
in mm
Form Colour Edge
1 cent 2,30 16,25 1,67 Round Copper Smooth
2 cent 3,08 18,75 1,67 Round Copper Smooth with groove
5 cent 3,92 21,25 1,67 Round Copper Smooth
10 cent 4,10 19,75 1,93 Round Yellow Corrugated
20 cent 5,74 22,25 2,14 Spanish
Yellow Smooth
50 cent 7,80 24,25 2,38 Round Yellow Corrugated
1 Euro 7,50 23,25 2,33 Round Silver(Center)
Finely Corrugated
2 Euro 8,50 25,75 2,20 Round Yellow(Center)
Finely Corrugated with various Motifs*

* The Motifs around the rim of the Two Euro coin vary from country to country and are dealt with in pages covering the different countries.

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