Brief History

On January 1, 1999 the euro, a common currency for the European Union, was formally introduced. It was a process that started in 1992 with the Maastricht Treaty and was fully running by 2002, when the euro banknotes and coins were put in circulation.

Having started out with 11 member states, the euro is currently the official currency of 19 of the 28 members of the European Union. This group is known as the Eurozone. Some interesting facts about the Euro are:

  • The euro is the second most traded currency in the world (#1 is the US dollar).
  • In 2018, the euro became the highest value of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world with over 1.2 trillion in circulation.
  • Because of the different language among members, the Latin alphabet is used in banknotes.
  • A euro currency sign  (€) was designed by the Belgian Alain Billiet, and was inspired by the Greek letter Epsilon and the word Europe. The two lines crossing are meant to represent the stability of the euro
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Eurosystem (constituted by the central banks of the Eurozone countries) manage the Euro.
  • The Eurozone has a population of over 340 million people.

As mentioned, not all European Union members use the Euro. Some notable exceptions include the UK, which continues to use the British Pound as their currency, as well as Denmark with the Danish krone. Other countries like  are in the process of adoption because of the strict criteria they must adhere to.

Replacing Domestic Currencies

The introduction of the Euro was certainly historic, bringing upon a new era of reduced friction for travel as well as economic advantages of trading. It also replaced domestic currencies with hundreds of years of history and of major economic importance such as the German Mark, French Franc and the Spanish Peseta. Below, you can find a table with the currencies the euro has replaced in its small history:

Country Currency
Austria Austrian schilling
Belgium Belgian franc
Cyprus Cypriot pound
Netherlands Dutch guilder
Estonia Estonian kroon
Finland Finnish markka
France French franc
Germany German mark
Greece Greek drachma
Ireland Irish pound
Italy Italian lira
Latvia Latvian lats
Lithuania Lithuanian litas
Luxembourg Luxembourgish franc
Malta Maltese lira
Portugal Portuguese escudo
Slovakia Slovak koruna
Slovenia Slovenian tolar
Spain Spanish peseta

Have any old currencies lying around?

If you ever lived in Eurozone countries or traveled to them pre-euro introduction, you might want to check around the house and see what you can find stored in old currencies. Estimates state that more than 15 billion euros of outdated banknotes and coins have not been exchanged for euros. Over 5 billion have already been “lost” due to time limit put in place by some Eurozone members.

However, you still have options. A great one is

At Foreign Currency and Coin Exchange, we receive your old currencies and exchange them for cash in 4 easy steps. Find out our exchange rates for popular replaced pre-euro currencies like German Deutche Marks, French Francs, Spanish Pesetas, Italian Lira, and much more! We are a safe, trusted and reliable platform for currency exchange. We receive a great variety of unused currencies, coins, stamps and gift cards. Don’t let more time go by, get some extra cash, and contact us now!