The common sides of the eight euro coins have different designs:
- €2 and €1, 50, 20 and 10 cent show either the European Union before its enlargement on 1 May 2004 or, as of 1 January 2007, a geographical image of Europe. Coins from Italy (including San Marino and the Vatican City), Austria and Portugal show the more recent design only if they are dated “2008” or later.
- 5, 2 and 1 cent show Europe in relation to Africa and Asia on a globe.
- Luc Luycx of the Royal Belgian mint won the Euro design competition and on all Euro coins there are the initials of 'LL'.
- Each denomination has different edge so it is easy to recognize them.
- Malta and Cyprus and all the new members of the Eurozone has the new design.
There are eight euro coin denominations, ranging from one cent to two euros (the euro is divided into a hundred cents). The coins first came into use in 1999. They have a common reverse, portraying a map of Europe, but each country in the eurozone has its own design on the obverse, which means that each coin has a variety of different designs in circulation at once. Four European micro states that are not members of the European Union (Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City) use the euro as their currency and also have the right to mint coins with their own designs on the obverse side.
Each state may also mint two commemorative coins each year from June 2012. From 2004 to May 2012, countries were only allowed to mint one coin per year. Only €2 coins may be used in this way (for them to be legal tender) and there is a limit on the number that can be issued. The coin must show the normal design criteria, such as the twelve stars, the year and the issuing country.