Three years ago I went to the post office in a big city in France, there I received change back after I paid for something. I didn't look at it first but later on I discovered that I received a €5 coin. EUROS not francs.

Two years later in a medium city in Germany I went into a shop to buy food. There I gave money to pay for my food including the €5 coin. The shop assistant looked at it then said:

We only accept euros here…

I answered: it is euros look closer

He answered after looking again: sorry we don't accept such payments

I found this on the web in French

Can I pay with a €5 coin? Or is it only for collections? Was the shop assistant doing the right or the wrong thing?

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    exaclty same as in the photo yes Feb 6, 2015 at 20:10
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    @DCTLib Not true. There's a EU directive that means you have to accept up to 50 euro coins. In Germany shops are allowed to not accept large banknotes (200 and 500€) though as long as they clearly indicate this and the bill isn't appropriate to the bill (i.e. paying a 450€ bill with a 500€ note is fine, but paying for 60€ isn't), although that's a somewhat legal grey zone. In Austria on the other hand the rule is stricter, but paying a 3€ bill with a 500€ note wouldn't fly either (and there's a big difference between what's legal and reality obviously)
    – Voo
    Feb 7, 2015 at 21:49
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    There are no 5 euro coins. The coins have values 0.01, 0.02, 0.05, 0.10, 0.20, 0.50, 1.00 and 2.00. Feb 8, 2015 at 7:25
  • @Voo: Deleted my comment, as the legal situation seems to have changed in some respects with the introduction of the Euro.
    – DCTLib
    Feb 8, 2015 at 9:36
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    @WillemVanOnsem There are 5€ coins allright, the OP got one, I explained in details what they are and even provided a link. What's the point of your comment?
    – Relaxed
    Jun 28, 2017 at 8:55

1 Answer 1


It is indeed a (national) collector's coin. It is legal tender in the country where it was issued, but not elsewhere in the eurozone. Even in its country of origin, I could imagine that many people would be surprised to receive one or perhaps even refuse to believe that it is genuine.

And looking at the photos you can find on the web, I must say that their design is strongly reminiscent of old Franc coinage, which would only add to the confusion.

I can add that I have been living in the eurozone since it was created and even worked as a waiter for some time (during which time I have seen many banknotes and coins…) but I have never seen such a coin.

By contrast, €2 commemorative coins should be accepted and do circulate widely.

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    Fascinating. nb In the U.S. you may rarely receive a $2 note (Thomas Jefferson on the obverse) or various half-dollar and dollar coins. Some merchants refuse to accept them because they are extremely uncommon and thus annoying to handle (e.g. no slot in the cash tray). The $1 coins are deeply unpopular, and I only get them in New York City or as change from postal service vending machines. The $2 bill is so uncommon that there are periodic news stories about cashiers who reject them as fake.
    – choster
    Feb 6, 2015 at 20:02
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    Actually, several millions of 5 euros silver coins were issued, so they are not all that uncommon. (And, by the way, they are not going to be worth more than 5 euros in the foreseeable future.)
    – fkraiem
    Feb 6, 2015 at 21:31
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    @fkraiem Unless maybe they run into the same issue that some of the small-denomination U.S. coins have had: after decades of inflation, the metal in the coin is worth more than the coin's face value. - haha
    – reirab
    Feb 6, 2015 at 23:01
  • @reirab Excellent point. In addition the rehypothecation of gold and silver futher decrease their value. Will the EU still be around to see the day?
    – BAR
    Feb 7, 2015 at 4:00
  • @fkraiem I don't know, what I can say is that they don't seem to circulate. Same thing for Vatican or San Marino coins. I don't have a total tally but a quick look at Wikipedia suggests that France issues a few tens of thousands gold and silver collectors' coins each year, compared to millions of commemorative coins (which I do see from time to time) and tens of millions of regular coins. There are over 100 billions of euro coins in total so even a few millions would be relatively rare.
    – Relaxed
    Feb 7, 2015 at 10:18

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