O’Brien Obsolete Currency Guide: Andorra


Introduction:

Andorra is a tiny, independent principality situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains. It is, perhaps, best known for its ski resorts and a tax-haven status that encourages duty-free shopping. It was also one of four countries in Europe directly affected by the move to the Euro and, consequently, also had to switch to the Euro – despite not actually being a member of the European Union.

  • Andorra is the sixth-smallest nation in Europe
    • It is also the 16th-smallest country in the world by land
    • It has an area of 468 square kilometres (181 sq mi)
  • Andorra is also the 11th-smallest nation in the world by population.
    • Its population is approximately 77,006
  • Its capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital city in Europe
    • It is measured at an elevation of 1,023 metres (3,356 feet) above sea level
    • Andorra also has the highest life expectancy in the world at 81 years
      • This, apparently, has nothing to do with the fact that they live so high up

The Andorran people are a Romance ethnic group of originally Catalan descent.  The official language is Catalan, but Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also commonly spoken. The present principality was formed by a charter in 1278. It is known as a principality as it is a diarchy headed by two princes: the Catholic bishop of Urgell in Catalonia, Spain, and the president of the French Republic.

Andorra is a parliamentary co-principality with the president of France and the Catholic bishop of Urgell as co-princes. This peculiarity makes the president of France, in his capacity as prince of Andorra, an elected monarch, although he is not elected by a popular vote of the Andorran people.

  • Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra’s small but prosperous economy, accounts for roughly 80% of GDP. An estimated 10.2 million tourists visit annually, attracted by Andorra’s duty-free status and by its summer and winter resorts.
  • The banking sector, with its tax haven status, also contributes substantially to the economy (the financial and insurance sector accounts for approximately 19% of GDP.
  • The remainder accounts for 1%.

Obsolete Currency:

Andorra lacked a currency of its own and used both the French franc and the Spanish peseta in banking transactions until 31 December 1999, when both currencies were replaced by the EU’s single currency, the euro. Hence, the move to the Euro currency.

  • Traditionally, Andorra has used the coins and banknotes of both Spain and France
    • Ireland operated like this from 1928-1978 when both Irish and British currencies co-existed. It was much easier to operate in Ireland because the two currencies were pegged 1:1, although the Irish banks did experience some difficulties when trying to repatriate GB coins at face value during the 1920s and 1930s
    • In Andorra, it was much more difficult since the Spanish peseta and French franc fluctuated in value against one another. With the economy being so small, it probably didn’t matter too much
  • Coins and notes of both the franc and the peseta remained legal tender in Andorra until 31 December 2002.
  • Andorra negotiated to issue its own euro coins, beginning in 2014.

Did Andorra ever have a currency of its own?

For a brief period, during the Spanish Civil War of 1936, Andorra issued its own banknotes denominated in pesseta.

1936 Andorra 2 Pessetes

1936 Andorra 2 Pessetes

Andorra & the Euro:

For a slightly longer period, during the run-up to the launch of the Euro currency, Andorra had its own convertible currency – part of the mechanism by which it entered the Euro Zone. Since Andorra used both the French franc and the Spanish peseta, it required a three-step mechanism (see below):

  • On 31 Dec 2001, the French franc (FRF) replaced the Andorran peseta (ADP)
  • On 17 Feb 2002, the euro (EUR) replaced the french franc (FRF)
  • On 28 Feb 2002, the Andorran peseta (ADP) replaced the Spanish peseta (ESP).
    • It was valued at ADP 166,386 = 1 Euro
    • The Spanish peseta was valued at ESP 166,386 = 1 Euro

Thus, after 17th February 2002, the Euro became the single currency of Andorra but Andorra was still not allowed to issue its own Euro coins or its own Euro banknotes. Likewise, it was not allowed to issue its own Euro coins (for circulation) either. This changed on 1 July 2013.

  • Andorra planned to issue their first coins by March or April 2014
  • They did not actually circulate their coins until 15 January 2015

Andorra Euro Coin Designs:

A design competition for the national side of the euro coins was launched on 19 March 2013, with a deadline of 16 April. The winning designs were announced on 16 May and depicting:

  • a Pyrenean chamois on the 1, 2 and 5 euro cent pieces
  • the Church of Santa Coloma and a depiction of Christ from the Church of Sant Martí de la Cortinada on the 10, 20, and 50 euro cent pieces
  • the Casa de la Vall on the 1 euro piece

The government had previously decided that the Coat of arms of Andorra would be featured on the 2 euro piece. Final approval of the coins was in late June, at which point they were forwarded to the EU for their consent.

  • In August, a spokesperson for Cinca confirmed that the design of the 10, 20 and 50 euro cent pieces had been modified to remove the depiction of Christ due to objections from the European Commission on the grounds of religious neutrality.
Andorra coin designs 2014 - note the design rejected by the EU on the far right.

Andorra coin designs 2014 – note the design rejected by the EU on the far right.

In addition to minting circulating coins, each member of the Euro Zone is entitled to issue ‘special’ commemorative €2 coins – two per year + any compulsory EU design. Andorra was quick to exercise this option and has issued a special commemorative two euro coin each year since 2015 and even managed to squeeze a special €2 for 2014, although it wasn’t actually available until 29 February 2016. Controversially, Andorra’s special €2 coins of 2015 weren’t available until 2016 either – leading to accusations of profiteering from some collectors.

Special Commemorative €2 coins from Andorra include:-

  • 2014 Andorra -20 years in the Council of Europe
    • 105,000 coins (29 February 2016)
  • 2015 Andorra – 30th anniversary of the Coming of Age and Political Rights
    • 85,000 coins (18 July 2016)
  • 2015 Andorra – 25th anniversary of the Signature of the EU Customs Agreement
    • 85,000 coins (18 July 2016)
  • 2016 Andorra – 25th anniversary of the Radio and Television of Andorra
    • 85,000 coins (1 June 2017)
  • 2016 Andorra – 150 years of the New Reform 1866
    • 85,000 coins (1 June 2017)
  • 2017 Andorra – 100 years of the Andorra Anthem
    • 85,000 coins (8 February 2018)
  • 2017 Andorra – The Land in the Pyrenees
    • 85,000 coins (8 February 2018)
  • 2018 Andorra – 25th anniversary of the Constitution of Andorra
    • 75,000 coins (12 April 2018)
  • 2018 Andorra – 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    • 75,000 coins (26 November 2018)
  • 2019 Andorra – Alpine Skiing World Cup 2019
    • 60,000 coins (11 March 2019)
  • 2019 Andorra – 600 Years of the General Council
    • 60,000 coins (11 November 2019)
  • 2020 ?

Andorra Euro Coin Mintage:

  • 1c
    • 2014 –      60,000 + 140,000 (in BU sets) + 3,000 ()
    • 2015 –      40,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2016 –      35,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2017 –      22,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2018 –      22,000 (in BU sets)
  • 2c
    • 2014 –      60,000 + 140,000 (in BU sets) + 3,000 ()
    • 2015 –      40,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2016 –      35,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2017 –      22,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2018 –      20,000 (in BU sets)
  • 5c
    • 2014 –    860,000 + 140,000 (in BU sets) + 3,000 ()
    • 2015 –      40,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2016 –      35,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2017 –      22,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2018 –      20,000 (in BU sets)
  • 10c
    • 2014 –    860,000 + 140,000 (in BU sets) + 3,000 ()
    • 2015 –      40,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2016 –      35,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2017 –      22,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2018 –      20,000 (in BU sets)
  • 20c
    • 2014 –    860,000 + 140,000 (in BU sets) + 3,000 ()
    • 2015 –      40,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2016 –      35,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2017 –      22,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2018 –      20,000 (in BU sets)
  • 50c
    • 2014 –    860,000 + 140,000 (in BU sets) + 3,000 ()
    • 2015 –      40,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2016 –      35,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2017 –      22,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2018 –      20,000 (in BU sets)
  • €1
    • 2014 –    511,843 + 140,000 (in BU sets) + 3,000 ()
    • 2015 –      40,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2016 – 2,339,200 + 35,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2017 –      22,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2018 –      20,000 (in BU sets)
  • €2
    • 2014 –    500,000
    • 2015 –    200,000 + 40,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2016 –      35,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2017 –      22,000 (in BU sets)
    • 2018 –      20,000 (in BU sets)

 

 

 

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