Last week we talked about the coins of one of the biggest economies in Europe, Germany, today we are going to give out some details of the Euro coins of one of the coldest countries of the whole European union, Finland.
The Republic of Finland is the most septentrional nation of the European Union. It became part of the European Economic Community in 1995, along with Austria and Sweden. The EEC, was focused in the task of creating a common currency and it was not very interested in expansions, at the same time it was not a vital thing for the Nordic country ether. However, two referendums took place: one for the continental provinces and another one for the Åland islands. In both of them the «yes» won, so, a opposed to Norway — which also celebrated a referendum on those dates, in which the «no» won—, Finland as well as the Åland islands got into the CEE on the 1st of January of 1995. Later, the adoption of the common coin was an easier step since Finland got the Euro at its beginning along with the other eleven countries.
Before The Euro Adoption
Until 2002, year in which the Euro started circulating, the Finnish markka. The markka was a very old coin: it started in 1860, when Finland was still the Grand Duchy of Finland, integrated in the Russian Empire, actually until that moment the official coin was the Russian ruble.
In the beginning, the value of the markka was linked to the ruble, but after 5 years it started circulating, in 1865, it linked its value to silver. However, it did not ended up in a long-lasting value since after the Finland independence in 1917 the currency was backed up by the gold value, until the gold standard was abandoned finally in 1940.
The coin had several changes along its history, being the biggest the ones produced by the big inflation suffered along the II World War. This forced the monetary authorities to devalue the currency, so in 1963 a second markka appeared, equivalent to 100 of the old markkaas and divided in 100 pennies or penniä. This way, the last markka and pennia coins that circulated were:
10 y 50 Penniä
1,5 y 10 Markka
As a curiosity we will add that Finland writes its coins in the two official languages of the country:
Finnish —penniä, markka, markkaa and Suomi— and Swedish —penni, mark and Finland—. Using several vegetations and animals drawings along with the heraldic lion from the Finish coat of arms, that shows up on the 1mk coin, also used in the Euro minted coins that we will also show in the following lines.
The Finnish Euro coin have three different designs.
0,01 € – 0,02 € – 0,05 € – 0,10 € – 0,20 € – 0,50 €: The heraldic lion
In all the coins the same design of the heraldic lion appears, work of Heikki Häiväoja and that it remembers the last 1 markka coin that was minted.
1,00 €: The whooper swan
In the one Euro Finnish coins two whooper swan appear —scientific name Cygnus cygnus— flying over a typical Finnish landscape. But, Why swans?, it happens that the whooper swan is the national bird of Finland: this country is its summer residence, along with a big part of Russia, Mongolia, north of Kazajistan and east of Iceland. In winter, when the low temperatures come, the swan migrates south in a search of more warm lands. This design is also work of Heikki Häiväoja.
2,00 €: The ripe cloudberry
The design of Pertti Mäkinen is one of the most characteristic flowers from Finland, the ripe cloudberry, or Rubus Chamaemorus, is a plant that looks like it has been designed to live in Finland as it is able to live even under minus forty degrees. Regarding the edge of the two Euro coin of Finland, the text «SUOMI FINLAND» is shown along a lion head.
This Finish coins have suffered modifications in order to adapt them to the european normative. Although the introduced changes are very small, for collectors it is a new model to take into account.
Second Serie: Year 2007
On top of the introduced change in the obverse of all the Euro coins in order to adapt the new map with the incorporation of the countries to the Euro, in December 2006, the Bank of Finland announced that it was going to adopt the modifications introduced in the coins by the European Union. This is: The national faces of the Euro coins will be modified in a way such as each Member State issuing the coin will have to add its name or abbreviation in the coins.
As in the Finnish coins «Finland» was not written the abbreviation FI was added to all of their coins. Along with this change, the mint director’s mark was eliminated, the «M», and the mint mark was added, the logo of the Rahapaja Oy which was by that time a cornucopia with four coins. In this serie, the logo shows up in the external edge of the coin, between the stars of the eight and nine o'clock. Regarding the abbreviation, it shows up under the right flower (in the two Euro coin); in the right side, over the landscape (coin of 1 Euro) or under the rear claw of the lion (for the remaining of coins).
Third Serie: Since 2008
Due to the fact that following the European Union directives, in the exterior ring can only appear the twelve stars of the Union, Finland went back again and started amending the design of its coins in 2008, relocating the mint mark and putting it in the interior part of the coin: under the flower on the left of the coin of 2 €, in the left part in the coin of 1 € or under the handle of the lion in the remaining coins.
Also, be careful: the Rahapaja Oy log is not any more the cornucopia, but a circle with a circumscribed lion. This way, in the series from 2010 and on, this is the mint mark that can be seen on finish coins, instead of the cornucopia of previous series.
Commemorative Coins Mintage
In the same way as the other countries, Finland, on top of the regular circulating coins and the 2 € commemorative coins, it mints different coins for collectors. In this case it is done with five different face values: 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Euro. Being the 5 Euro the only ones not minted in gold or silver and therefore much more affordable.
The 5 Euro coins from Finland are bimetallic, with an external ring of copper-nickel and an internal ring of Nordic gold, they have been minted in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and two in 2006. However, since 2010 a serie dedicated to the historical provinces of Finland started, these coins have a different composition: the external ring is made of aluminium bronze, while the internal ring is made of copper-nickel. One of the latest issued is the one named "the construction of the provinces", in which the mint of Finland immortalizes the buildings and most important structures of each of the Finnish regions. Here you have some details of them.
Among the serie dedicated to the Finish regions, during 2012 the Sápmi (Lapand) region one was issued. This coin is dedicated to the Jätkänkynttilä bridge that is located in the city of Rovaniemi, capital of Laponia. The bridge commemorates the woodcutters of the city. In the columns upper part there is a light that appears to be the candle of the woodcutter, a trunk cut in two pieces with fire in the middle. While the other face of the coin the coat of arms of the region is shown.
Another one of the coins on this serie is the one dedicated to the region of Uusimaa (which means “new land”), region where the capital of Finland is located, Helsinki and the second biggest city in the country, Espoo. In the obverse of the coin, in the same way as other mints from this serie, the coat of arms of the region is shown. While in the reverse the cupolas from the Cathedrals of Helsinki and Uspenski are shown.
The third coin of this serie is the one dedicated to the province of Satakunta. In one of its faces it shows the funerary place of Sammallahdenmäki, and archaeology location situated in the south east of Finland in the region of Satakunta, in the town of Lappi. Composed of 36 funerary granite groups from the Bronze Era, between 1500 b.c. and 500 b.c. The 1st of December of 1999, the UNESCO selected the place to be the first archaeological site included as Human Heritage from Finland.
The fourth coin is the one dedicated to the province of Åland. Åland is an archipelago and one of the historic provinces from Finland; situated in the Baltic sea between Sweden and Finland. In the Obverse the lighthouse of Sälskär is shown, that was first lighted up in 1868, when the island was inhabited by a lighthouse guard and the lighthouse guards with their families.
The fifth coin of this serie is dedicated to the province of Finland Proper. Finland proper is a historical province in the south east of Finland, with its center in the city of Turku. As in the previous ones the obverse shows the coat of arms of the region. In the reverse the Cathedral of Turku is shown, the church was built in several phases, and has different architectonic styles like Romanesque and Gothic, among others. This church was sometimes set on fire and partially destroyed by enemies attacks.
An special case is the coin minted to commemorate the world design capital of 2012, Helsinki. Instead of minting a bimetallic coin, as the rest of the 5 Euro coins, the decided to create a mint in only one metal, Nordic gold. Also, another bimetallic version with gold and silver was minted with a facial value of 50 Euro.
Finally, Some Curiosities Regarding The Coins From Finland
Finland was the first country eliminating the circulation of 1 and 2 Euro cent coins, since the fabrication cost is bigger than its facial value. This way they instantiated a system that did not modified the prices, but when you get to the cashier the round them up or down to 0 or 5 cents. However, the 1 and 2 cent coins are still legal tender and are minted for collection sets.
Euro collectors received a big surprise when, in 2011, the finish mint house put on sale 25000 of each of its commemorative 2 Euro minted coins up to 2010, nine in total, all of them in “Proof” quality and at a price of 20 Euro plus shipping costs. A total revolution since i.e. the coin minted in 2004, to commemorate the fifth expansion of the European Union, was being sold around 200 € in its “proof” version and in 40 € in its uncirculated version.