Jump to content

Euro printers... um what???

Dave M

Recommended Posts

I just got a copy of World Paper Money, Modern Issues 14th ed. My old copy was pre-EU :ninja:


So I'm looking in the European Union section to see where the Euros are printed for the various countries, and while it's great to see the list, it's completely goofed up, as far as I can see. All the printers in various countries don't print their own notes, but they print some other country's notes. Possibly this is actually correct, but it sure isn't as I expected.


Does anyone have the real story on these? Does Banque de France really print the notes for Spain, while the Central Bank of Ireland prints notes for France?



Dave (being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone have the real story on these? Does Banque de France really print the notes for Spain, while the Central Bank of Ireland prints notes for France?

Could (theoretically) be, yes. During the first three years - after the euro was launched as a currency unit in Jan-1999 but before the euro cash became legal tender in Jan-2002 - every participating national central bank (NCB) was responsible for the production of its country's initial cash supply. After that, a "pooling system" was introduced, and not every denomination is printed every year. Another issue is that bank note printing companies may be government operated but might as well be commercial companies. Oberthur (FR), Bundesdruckerei (DE), De La Rue (UK), or Giesecke & Devrient (DE) for example are not owned or operated by any government.


Also, in some member states (France or Germany for example) there is more than one printer; in others (such as Luxembourg or, these days, Finland) there is none. So the national central bank that commissions, say, the printing of the €100 notes in 2008 is basically free to pick a printer, provided the printing facility is located in the European Union (does not have to be in Euroland). The "rare" denominations will usually be commissioned by just one NCB, or not made at all in one year, while the more common ones are commissioned by two or more NCBs ...


For statistical info about which NCB has commissioned what denominations, see this list at the ECB website:



As from January 2011, the current euro notes will be replaced by a new series. Whether the system used nowadays will also apply to that series - well, we'll see.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Christian.


The list in the Pick catalog is two columns, one of Country, and one of printer. So I assumed this meant "printer X printed the notes for country Y". Are you saying this is quite unlikely, rather the truth is more like "printer X printed 100E notes in 2006, and all countries are using them"?


I've been rummaging thrugh the ECB site you reference, and haven't found the specific answer, but will keep going...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

A mix of both, I'd say. During the first three years of the euro (1999-2001) it was "normal" that the issuing central bank (say, Banque de France) picked a local printer (in that case, the Banque de France printing facility) for the job. Some countries however had all or part of the printing done elsewhere anyway, for a variety of reasons (price/conditions, capacity, etc.) As from 2002, when the euro cash became legal tender and started to circulate, the pooling system that I mentioned has been used. And that does indeed mean that not every national central bank (NCB) makes every denomination in every year.


Now the notes commissioned by Banque de France will still primarily be made in France. In 2008 that would be the 5, 10, and 20 euro notes - they will thus have the French NCB code (serial number starting with "U"), and probably also Banque de France's printer code "L". The fivers are also commissioned by Germany, Portugal and Spain; the tenners by Austria, Germany, Greece. This year's €20 notes are commissioned by a total of eight euro countries including (for the first time) the Slovenian central bank. The 2008 €100 notes are only commissioned by the Italian central bank, and the 200ers and 500ers are not made at all this year.


So if somewhere in the euro area "fresh" €5 notes are needed this year, they will come from Germany, France, Portugal or Spain. These four all have paper money printers "at home", and these printers are likely to make these €5 notes. Not necessarily though. Here is a neat list of the combinations found by EuroBillTracker (a website similar to Where's George) users: http://en.eurobilltracker.com/notes/?command=8;tab=4


By the way, you will have noticed that the only year appearing on euro notes is 2002. That is not the year of issue but simply part of the copyright notice. So for collectors it does not really matter whether a note was made in 2006 or 2007 - the only difference is the signatures of the ECB presidents (first Duisenberg, now Trichet). Some more info about the bank and printer codes is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro_banknotes#Country_letters and in the following chapter, "Printing works". The part about the "former East German and West German printers" is wrong but the rest seems to be OK. :ninja:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...