How The Pope
Worked Wonders For The Euro

The euro has had a short and troubled life, sinking against the dollar and being held responsible for Germany's slump, the boom in Ireland and a range of economic misfortunes in between.

But in one corner of the eurozone, it is in hot demand and has soared hugely in value. The Vatican is the zone's smallest member state and issues its own euro coins bearing the head of Pope of John Paul II.

Though, they are legal tender, they are in heavy demand among collectors, who buy sets of eight for a whopping 900-plus.

Recently, demand has soared even higher with the result that there is something of a run on these Vatican coins. Is this belated appreciation by the international financial community of the great strength of the single currency? Could the world be waking up to the wisdom of Wm Duisenberg and his colleagues at the European Central Bank? Not exactly.

Assuming the cardinal knows something they don't, coin collectors across the Continent are feverishly anticipating that a new Pope means new Vatican euro coins, bearing the image of the new Pontiff, sending the value of John Paul II coins into orbit. If only the rest of the eurozone could put in such a performance.

-Financial Mail on Sunday, 1 December 2002, p44

Meanwhile, the euro has resurrected and surpassed the value of the U.S. dollar. Is it because the coin bears the image of the pontiff? If so, the pope would be credited with Europe's financial miracle, as well as the rest of the world.