Vatican Coins Bring Long Lines and Short Tempers

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 10, 2003 ( Thousands of people made the area around St. Peter’s Square look like a trash heap today while waiting for the Vatican to release its new euro coins.

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Some waited in line 24 hours to obtain the coins which commemorate the silver anniversary of John Paul II’s pontificate.

At times restless, people chanted «Let us in.» Scuffles reportedly broke out as tensions rose among those waiting for a chance to buy the limited-edition coins.

Reuters reported that many were unemployed or immigrants looking to sell the coins for a large profit. Some told ZENIT that they hoped to sell the coins for as much as 20 times the cost.

According to the Vatican, the eight coins (1 and 2 euro coins and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 eurocents) bear the year 2003 and the legend «The 25th year of the Pontificate of His Holiness John Paul II.»

Sets of the eight coins were being sold for 15 euros ($16), but scalpers said they could be resold for hundreds, Reuters reported.

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