As you all know, looking for a needle in a haystack is time-consuming, laborious and success isn’t guaranteed. The same applies to a new field that wants to establish itself on the collector market. This was also the case with 0-euro souvenir notes, which first caught the attention of the collector world in 2015. Many collectors’ hearts skipped a beat because the new decoratively designed banknotes really were something new. Moreover, they were printed on genuine banknote paper. Tourist centres and museums were delighted because visitors were keen to take a customised note home. The good old postcard, on the other hand, was often left on the shelf. What started in France quickly spread throughout Europe. Today, interesting (and less interesting) souvenir issues can be bought from vending machines in tourist hotspots almost anywhere in the world. An actual collecting boom ensued.
7 Years 0-Euro Souvenir Banknotes
What started in France in 2015 has now conquered almost the entire collector world. Souvenir banknotes have been around for a whole seven years now. So it makes sense to look for exotic gems. Our focus, however, is not on notes of which only a small quantity was printed to begin with and which have long been sold out. I would like to look with you at some countries that didn’t issue many souvenir banknotes so far. Would you believe it: there are even countries with just one souvenir issue. In addition, they usually only print 5,000 specimens. If these aren’t the exceptional pieces in the large pool of issuing states, which ones are?
While Germany, for example, threw almost 270 new banknotes onto the collector’s market in 2021, there were only 21 issues from Austria. But that shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, Germany’s by now the country with the most souvenir banknote issues in the entire world. In 2018, Germany took that title from France, who issued only 134 banknotes that year. Germany, on the other hand, issued 160. Covid-19, lockdowns and closed museums didn’t have an impact on this business in Germany – on the contrary. While 175 banknotes were issued in 2019, Germany issued 258 new souvenir issues in 2020.
Rare Issues or Mass-Produced Banknotes?
In the end, everyone has to decide for themselves. To me, however, it’s interesting and exciting at the same time when a country only issues a reduced number of souvenir banknotes and doesn’t use far-fetched subjects for its issues. Unfortunately, this has become quite common with many issues. Buyers of these banknotes should ask themselves which tourist place or which museum is going to be supported from the sale of banknotes such as “Germany’s New Postal Codes” or “The East German Green/Red Man”. Moreover, there’s the price. By now, most issues cost far more than 2 euros.
But if you’re looking for something special, you are guaranteed to find it – whatever you might be collecting. So if you laugh about pointless mass-produced issues as much as I do, but you still like Richard Faille’s concept, you’d better stick to the “real” souvenir notes issued by castles and museums. Places and issuers that make sense to a collector. Nevertheless, the vast variety of 0-euro souvenir notes also includes some rarities that should by no means be disregarded. Many of them are still available on the secondary market or at collectors’ fairs.
Rare Banknotes – Not Only from Scandinavia
If you look at the countries of the eurozone, it’s surprising that there is only one souvenir issue from places like Andorra, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Slovenia so far. Luxembourg (6 issues), Greece (4 issues), and Vatican City (5 issues) also seem to be rather hesitant. The situation is similar in the rest of Europe, there’s also just a single banknote from Bulgaria and Iceland. But since 0-euro souvenir notes can now be purchased from vending machines almost anywhere in the world, we should definitely take a look around the globe. For example, there’s only one issue from Brazil, Georgia and Japan each, and there are just two banknotes from Egypt and Mexico.
In the following list, I summarised some countries for you that produced a maximum of ten 0-euro souvenir notes so far. What do you think, might this fact be enough to inspire you to collect these banknotes?
(Countries with a maximum of ten issues since 2016. Provisional figures for 2022.)
|Andorra||1 issue 2018 with country code SE (S=Andorra / Italy / San Marino / Vatican City).|
|Estonia||1 issue 2018 with country code DE (D=Estonia).|
|Greece||4 issues 2017 (1), 2019 (1), 2021 (2) with country code YE (Y=Greece).|
|Latvia||1 issue 2019 with country code CE (C= Latvia).|
|Lithuania||4 issues, all from 2018, with country code LT (LT=Lithuania).|
|Luxembourg||6 issues 2017 (1), 2018 (1), 2019 (4) with country code RE or ZE (R=Luxembourg, Z=Belgium / Luxembourg (Schengen)).|
|San Marino||5 issues 2017 (1), 2019 (2), 2021 (2) with country code SE (S=San Marino / Andorra / Italy / Vatican City).|
|Slovenia||1 issue 2018 with country code HE (H= Slovenia). Dedicated to the capital of Ljubljana. 5,000 pieces.|
|Vatican City||5 issues 2018 (1), 2019 (2), 2021 (2) with country code SE (S=Andorra / Italy / Marino Italy / Vatican City).|
Other European Countries
|Bulgaria||1 issue 2019 with country code BG (BG=Bulgaria).|
|Iceland||1 issue 2022 with country code IS (IS=Iceland). Commemorating the capital of REYKJAVÍK.|
|Croatia||5 issues 2019 (3), 2021 (2) with country code HR (HR=Croatia).|
|Norway||1 issue 2019 with country code NO (NO= Norway).|
|Romania||10 issues 2019 (1), 2021 (6), 2022 (3) with country code RO (RO= Romania).|
|Sweden||1 issue 2019 with country code KE (KE=Sweden).|
|Hungary||7 issues 2021 (6), 2022 (1) with country code HU (HU=Hungary).|
|Egypt||2 issues 2019 with country code EG (EG=Egypt).|
|Argentina||4 issues 2020 (2), 2021 (2) with country code AG (AG=Argentina).|
|Armenia||2 issues 2019 with country code AM (AM=Armenia).|
|Australia||3 issues 2019 (1), 2021 (2) with country code AU (AU=Australia).|
|Bahrain||2 issues 2020 with country code BH (BH=Bahrain).|
|Brazil||1 issue 2019 with country code BR (BR=Brazil).|
|Georgia||1 issue 2018 with country code GO (GO=Georgia).|
|Haiti||1 issue 2019 with country code HAT (HAT=Haiti).|
|Indonesia||5 issues 2019 with country code DN (DN=Indonesia).|
|Iraq||8 issues 2019 (2), 2021 (6) with country code IQ (IQ=Iraq).|
|Japan||1 issue 2018 with country code JP (JP=Japan).|
|Cambodia||4 issues 2021 with country code KH (KH=Cambodia).|
|Canada||4 issues 2019 (2), 2021 (2) with country code CA (CA= Canada).|
|Qatar||4 issues 2019 (2), 2021 (2) with country code QA (QA=Qatar).|
|Cuba||2 issues 2019 with country code CU (CU=Cuba).|
|Kuwait||2 issues 2020 with country code KW (KW=Kuwait).|
|Madagascar||2 issues 2021 with country code MG (MG=Madagascar).|
|Mauritius||2 issues 2021 with country code MU (MU=Mauritius).|
|Mexico||2 issues 2021 with country code MX (MX=Mexico).|
|Myanmar||2 issues 2021 with country code MM (MM=Myanmar).|
|Oman||4 issues 2020 (2), 2021 (2) with country code MN (MN=Oman).|
|Peru||1 issue 2019 with country code PR (PR=Peru).|
|Saudi Arabia||7 issues 2019 (1), 2021 (4), 2022 (2) with country code SA (SA=Saudi Arabia).|
|South Africa||4 issues 2022 with country code JE (JE=South Africa).|
|Thailand||2 issues 2021 with country code TH (TH=Thailand).|
|Togo||2 issues 2021 with country code TG (TG=Togo).|
|USA||10 issues 2018 (2), 2019 (2), 2021 (6) with country code US (US=USA).|
|United Arab Emirates||4 issues 2019 (2), 2021 (2) with country code AR and FE (AR / FE= United Arab Emirates).|
Find out more about our author numiscontrol, alias Reiner Graff, in our Who’s Who.
The collecting expert made it his mission to introduce beginners to the world of coin collecting – here you can read his series “Coin Care in Simple Terms”.
If you’re interested in 0-euro banknotes, you can find more articles by numiscontrol on the subject in our archive.
Euro issues are numiscontrol’s speciality. Recently, he explained euro error coins and talked about the opportunities and the risks of collecting these coins.
He also dealt with the rarities among 2-euro coins of various countries. Here you can find, for example, his articles on coins from
And here you can find his series on rare 2-euro pieces from Germany and on the joint EU issues (in German).