Late Euro Will Bear Pope´s Image, But Not His Name

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2002 ( Collectors will have to wait. The Vatican´s euro has been delayed and will not begin to circulate until February.

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The coin will bear the image of John Paul II but, unlike the former Vatican lira, it does not include his name nor the year of his pontificate during which it was coined. The sole inscription is «Vatican City.»

The euro should have begun to circulate in the Vatican on Jan. 1, as it did in the 12 member states of the European Union. The delay was caused by Italy´s «Casa della Moneta,» which is responsible for the coinage and distribution of the euro. A total of 670,000 Vatican euros will be distributed.

In addition to the Vatican, the Republic of San Marino and the Principality of Monaco have concluded agreements to coin their currency in euros.

The price of articles sold near the Vatican is already indicated in euros. The entrance fee for the Vatican Museums is now 10 euros ($9). Entrance to the museums is free once a month. A visit by elevator to the cupola of St. Peter´s Basilica costs 5 euros ($4.50).

The euros of the 12 countries that have adopted this currency will circulate in the Vatican.

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