European Silver Programme
The European Silver Programme Silver Coins
The European Silver Programme, also known as the European Coin Programme, or he Eurostar Programme, is a coin program that started in 2004 and is still an active entity. The purpose of the coin program is to have silver coins that celebrate European heritage and culture. This is a voluntary European silver program for countries that are part of the European Union. Participation by a country one year does not determine if that country will participate in a future year, nor does opting to not participate one year have any influence on participation the next.
It is apparent from the topics chosen that the European Silver Programme has given the people of Europe much to be proud of. It has given individual nations an opportunity to highlight national history and achievements, and focus on art, architecture, and famous people who have achieved much. It is, in a way, a chance for European nations to showcase what has sculptured them. These coins allow us to view a rich history and cultural advances of an entire continent.
European Silver Programme Requirements
The Rules Are Not Narrowly Defined
The coins of the European Silver Programme must be made of silver with a purity of at least 0.900, the standard once used in United States silver coins. This allows Sterling silver coins that are popular with some European mints to qualify. Sterling silver has a purity of 0.925. Fine silver coins of purity 0.999 or 0.9999 easily qualify.
The European silver coin must be approximately crown size. This allows coins containing not quite a Troy ounce of silver to qualify, since the size ids not precisely specified.
One thing that is not a requirement is whether or not color is used on the coin. In the past coins with color and coins without color have been added to the European Silver Programme.
The shape of the coin is not specified, and at least one hexagonal coin has been added to the program.
Denomination is not significant. Coins with denomination over a range have become part of the program.
The requirement that the silver coins fit the topic of the year is important, and that topic changes annually.
The special symbol designed to incorporate a star and the euro symbol must be shown on the coin, and visible to the naked eye.
The European Silver Programme Topics
The Early Topics and the Current Topics
The first topic used in 2004 was EU Enlargement. Then came Peace & Freedom in 2005. In 2006 the topic was Distinguished European Figures, then European Realization in 2007. Cultural Heritage was in 2008, followed by European Heritage in 2009. European Architecture, European Explorers, European Visual Artists, European Writers, and European Composers followed from 2010 through 2014. These topics focus on different aspects of the essence of Europe.
In 2015 the topic diverged from Europe to the United Nations with the topic being the Anniversary of the UN.
Currently, we are in the Five Ages of Europe. In 2016 the topic was Five Ages of Europe – Modern Age. In 2016 the topic was Five Ages of Europe – Age of Glass and Steel. The current topic is Five Ages of Europe – Baroque. There are two more ages to go, which will take us through 2020.
Other European Silver Coins
European Silver Commemorative Coins
European mints are not restricted to minting commemorative silver coins only for the silver program. Many other silver coins come from the mints of Europe. This program just gives a focus, but mins often determine their own focuses. Of course, if a coin is not part of the program, the requirements of the program are not present.
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