The ECU - European Currency Unit
As the European Economic Community, or the European Union made its moves towards a common currency, the ECU came into being. Although at first the ECU was a unit of account, it had long been expected to be converted into a circulating currency. In most European countries there were pattern coins issued exploring the design possibilities of the anticipated new coinage. Some of these issues were design exercises carried out by official mints, others were privately issued.
Private Pattern Coins
There is quite a long tradition of private individuals or companies designing and striking proposed new coin designs. Certainly Thomas Simon engraved and produced at his own expense, a pattern crown which he presented to Charles II in 1663, in the hope of being appointed chief engraver at the Royal Mint. At other times when great changes to our coinage have been expected there has been considerable activity in producing private patterns. Before the great coinage reform of 1816, there were many unofficial patterns produced by Matthew Boulton and James Watt, who eventually produced the famous cartwheel pennies, and also supplied much of the Royal Mint's new machinery. Again in early Victorian times, when Britain was starting to think about decimalisation, many pattern coins, official and unofficial were produced. Nowadays there is a good demand for these rare antique pattern coins, and many of them command high prices.
1992 ECU Patterns
We have recently acquired a small quantity of pattern ECU coins including a number of English 25 ECU's dated 1992. There are two different reverse designs, each sharing the same obverse design. There is also a 5 ECU of the same size which is undated.
English Obverse Design
The obverse design, which we believe was by Raphael Maklouf, shows a globe with a map of Europe edged by twelve stars representing the twelve member states, with Neptune and Europa reaching across the top. The inscription reads:-
St. George and the Dragon
This very English theme shows St. George on horseback, holding a shield bearing the three lions as the arms of England, and killing a dragon with a spear. This reflects the well known design by Benedetto Pistrucci which was adopted on crowns, sovereigns and other coins in 1817, and is still in use today. The inscription reads:-
TWENTY FIVE ECU
The Three Graces
Although the three graces, Faith Hope and Charity have never appeared on a circulating British coin, they have appeared previously on pattern coins. Among their attributes appear a shield bearing the Union Flag, a harp, oak leaf, thistle and a leek. The inscription is as the previous coin.
S.S. Great Britain
Ships and the sea have appeared on many British coins over a long period of time. The reverse of this coin, which shows a value of 5 ECU's shows the Steam Ship Great Britain together with its launch date 1843. The Great Britain was Britain's largest and most powerful ship, and was an engineering masterpiece of its time by the great I.K. Brunel. It was the first propellor driven iron ship to cross the Atlantic, and the forerunner of all modern ocean liners. It is possible that this pattern coin was issued in 1993 for the 150th anniversary of the Great Britain.
The inscription reads:-
UNITA TUEAETUR DEUS
S.S. Great Britain 1843
38 mms||25 ecu||20 grams||Cupro-Nickel
38 mms||5 ecu||20 grams||Cupro-Nickel
Date||Denomination||Type||Price £||Price $
1992||25 ECU||St. George & Dragon||£4.95||$7.95
1992||25 ECU||Three Graces||£4.95||$7.95
1992||5 ECU||S.S. Great Britain||£4.95||$7.95
Postage & Packing:
UK: At buyer's Risk £3.50 or
Fully Insured £9 (Usually by Royal Mail Special Delivery)
USA: Airmail at buyer's risk $10 or
Fully Insured (Usually via Fedex or Datapost) $40
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1992 ECU Patterns - Northern Ireland
1992 ECU Patterns - Scotland
1992 ECU Patterns - Wales
ECU & Euro Pattern Coins
Euro Coins and Notes
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