The European way
by Tommy Jasmin
Hello everyone -
I just got back from a trip
to Europe yesterday, and was hoping Dave or Dean Albanese would have a
new marketplace report available that I could easily plop in for this month.
Such is not the case, so I'm forced to write with no time to think.
Not a first, but usually I'm going on at least some rest.
Given the circumstances, I decided to comment on how
much superior I found the European currency system to the United States
system. Of course I'm talking about the Euro here, which given the
strength recently, compared to the dollar, made for an expensive trip,
but that's not the point. Disregard relative value and exchange rates
for the moment. What I really liked was how intuitive and easy it
was to make purchases.
The system follows a pattern: 1, 2, 5, then it repeats.
Since a Euro is made up of 100 cents, there are coins
with denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.
One and Two Euro coins start the 3rd pattern repetition, followed by
5, 10, 20, and 50 Euro notes. The pattern then repeats
again with 100, 200, and 500 Euro notes. I found using the one and two Euro coins
to feel very natural. The lowest denomination paper money is the 5
Euro note, so for common things like a cup of coffee you often needed
no bills, just pocket change. In practice, the 1 and 2 cent
coins are almost never used, as people consider them pretty much a
nuisance, and usually round to the nearest "nickel".
I think this explains why the U.S. One-Dollar coin and Two-Dollar bills never
catch on here. It's simply because they are not mandatory. As long as
people have choice they will typically stick with what they were always
used to, and people here are used to using the silly and wasteful (they
don't last very long) one-dollar bills.
The money system was just one of many aspects of European life that
made it tough to come back to our supposed greatest country in the world.
For a short time the government seemed to make sense, people were nice,
the pace was acceptable, and life was good.
Until next month,
Tommy is subbing this month our for usual contributor - David Albanese, a Nostomania coins advisor. Albanese Rare Coins
can be reached at their
outstanding web site.
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