Vatican coins explained

Vatican Coins: Everything You Need to Know About Papal Coins

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Let's learn more about Vatican coins together. But first…

The Vatican City is a strange concept to get your head around. Entirely surrounded by Rome – surrounded by a 2-mile border – it is the smallest country in the world.

However, it is pretty self-sufficient in terms of things like administration and currency. The Vatican City makes its own coins, issues its own passports, identity documents, and car license plates.

This article is dedicated to one of these items – the currency of the Vatican City! Let’s check it out together.

What is the Currency of Vatican City?

Pope coin from Vatican
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The currency of the Vatican City is – like the majority of countries around it – the Euro!

But, it mints its own coins and notes – so keep your eye out for a Vatican Euro when in Rome. Interestingly, the Vatican is NOT part of the EU – as the representative state of the Catholic Church that’s probably never going to happen.

It did in 2000 sign an agreement that would let it switch out the Lira in exchange for the Euro. This was around the time that Italy also switched to the Euro, so it makes things a lot easier when traveling in the area.

Valid Vatican Coins You Can Use Today

The European Central Bank publishes an extensive guide to the coins you can use at the Vatican City.

Basically, there are 5 different series of Vatican Coins – or Papal Coins as they are sometimes known – in circulation. Each series of coins has a different Pope on one side to help differentiate between other Eurozone Coins.

Here are the 5 series in detail.

Pope Coins – First Series, Issued Between 2002 and 2005

Vatican coin from 2002
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When the Vatican Coins first switched to the Euro, Pope John Paul II was the pontiff.

In this series, all the coins from 0.01€ cents right through to the Vatican 2 Euro coin have an effigy of the much loved Pope John Paul II.

Second Series – 2005 – After John Paul’s Death

For around a year following John Paul II’s death, the Pope Coins were withdrawn and replaced with a special coin until the vacancy was filled.

The coins issued during this time bear the insignia of the Apolostic Chamber.

Pope Coins – Third Series – Pope Benedict XVI 2006-2013

Vatican coin from 2006
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These coins are also still in circulation and bear the insignia of Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Coins – Fourth Series – Pope Francis 2014-2016

These coins are also still in circulation and bear the insignia of Pope Francis.

Papal Coins No More – Fifth Series

In 2017 Pope Francis decided to no longer permit his image on coins.

So, from this date, you will find the Vatican Coins only with his coat of arms, and the eurozone stars on the flip side.

What are Vatican Coins Made of?

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  • 10, 20 and 50 euro cent coins are made of what is known as Nordic Gold. It is mainly copper, with a little aluminum and zinc. This came at special request, because nickel (still used in 1euro and 2euro coins) causes allergies.
  • One euro and two euro Vatican coins are bi-colour metal with various nickel, copper nickel and nickel brass.
  • The 5cent, 2 cent and 1cent coins are made of copper coloured steel. This is selected because copper is easy to keep clean, maintaining more hygienic properties than other metals.

Vatican Commemorative Coins

Aside from the standard coins in circulation, there are some interesting Vatican Commemorative Coins that you can collect.

There are Vatican 2euro commemorative coins that are pretty popular and go for around €200. You can also look out for Papal Coins that commemorate the popes – such as this picture of Pope John Paul II.

The Vatican City often prints special coins to celebrate religious symbols, artists and events.

Vatican City travel tips Tip – Take a look on the Vatican City website in the Vatican Coin Shop for a list of current commemorative coins you can collect, including Vatican silver coins and other special prints.

A Few Rare and Old Vatican Coins People Like The Most

Some commemorative coins are more popular for others and can fetch a hefty price.

The 1985 Vatican Coin with the image of Pope John Paul II – in Lira – is often desired and can be purchased online here.

There is also a special 1942 Vatican coins box such as this one that is tough to get your hands on. Other popular collectables include coins from the Vatican 1996 and Vatican City Coins 1987.

Are There New Vatican Coins?

Vatican coin symbol
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A new series of coins for common use is issued with each Pope.

But every so often the Vatican also mints a new bunch for a special occasion. For example, in 2020 a special coin with “mother earth” was printed. It was published in the press – check out the background here.

Less-known Facts about Vatican Chemtrail Coin

In 1985 the Vatican issued a collectors set of coins designed to celebrate the fact that Pope John Paul II undertook a huge amount of travel and foreign trips since his appointment.

One of the coins – the 100 lire coin – was designed with an airplane flying above the earth with its trail behind it. However, it soon became a target of conspiracy theorists who claimed it was an illuminati sign of chemtrailing.

Chemtrailing is itself the theory that the trails of planes that linger longer than normal in the sky are not regular flight emissions but are a modified substance designed for larger “bad” actions – such as population control or chemical warfare.

Vatican Euro Coins Value

Gold Vatican coin pope
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Special gold Vatican coins can be procured and will cost according to their weight and desirability. A 3 gram 10 euro gold coin with a special commemorative symbol can go for upward of €300.

Vatican silver coins will also be priced on the current silver spot price plus a markup for the desirability of the coin.

A special Mexico visit coin – the Pope John Paul II coin 1979 – worth is hard to determine. It was printed only during his time in Mexico in 1979 and so is extremely limited in circulation.

Vatican Euro Coin Set

If you fancy a nice Vatican Euro Coin set then take a look online.

You can pick up a full set of each series of Vatican Euro Coins since they were issued in the early 2000s. Check out the full scope of what is available here.

Vatican Euro Coins for Sale

Money
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Of course, if you just want one or two coins to start you off, then it is easy to get a few Vatican coins on Ebay or other online shops such as this one.

How Much Is a Pope Francis Coin Worth?

Pope Francis coins go for sale on Ebay around $100 or more.

Where to Get Vatican Souvenir Coins?

When you are visiting the Vatican City make sure to pick up a coin to remember your visit.

The streets around the Vatican are teeming with souvenir shops and stores – keep your eye out in the jewelry stores for a special Vatican souvenir coin. Of course, they are also available all over the internet as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How to get Vatican euro coins?

You do not need to exchange Italian euros for Vatican City euros , but if you buy something in the Vatican City you will hopefully get Vatican minted Euros in change.

Where to buy Vatican euro coins?

You can get Vatican Euro coins online in stores as well. Check out this one on internel which offers a wide selection - Eurocoinhouse.com

Where to sell Vatican coins?

You can sell on Ebay and other online trading platforms.

What are Vatican coins worth?

Vatican coins are worth their face value in Euros, but special collectors coins can sell for hundreds of euros a piece!

Conclusion

When in the Vatican CIty – and also in Rome – check your euro change to see if you ended up with a Vatican Coin! Now, make sure your itinerary is sorted by checking out all the great things to do in the Vatican City in our main guides.

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