The websites of the European Central Bank (ECB) contain specific pages introducing euro banknotes and coins. They also provide answers to the most frequently asked questions on banknotes and coins.ECB's website for Banknotes & Coinshttp://www.ecb.europa.eu/euro/html/index.en.html
The Bank of Finland's euro guide from 2001 (in Finnish and Swedish) continues to be available. It includes descriptions of the national sides of euro coins for the 12 euro area countries and the security features of euro banknotes. The brochure is enclosed in PDF format. Printed Finnish and Swedish versions can be ordered from the Bank of Finland. The European Central Bank's A1-sized posters printed in 2001 can also be ordered from the Bank of Finland. One of the posters presents the security features of euro banknotes and the other contains images of euro banknotes and of euro coins for the original 12 euro area countries.
Information material published by the ECB on euro banknotes and coins can be accessed by logging on to the ECB's websites. ECB's information materials http://www.ecb.europa.eu/euro/html/materials.en.html
The serial numbers of euro banknotes include a country-specific code letter, which is used as a prefix to the serial number; in Finland's case the code letter is L, for instance. The code letter reveals the country in which the national central bank that has commissioned the printing of the banknotes is located, not the country where the banknotes have been printed. Country codes:
The national sides of euro coins are different in respect of each euro area country; so, your coin may originate from another euro area country. Euro area countries are also allowed to issue €2 commemorative coins to celebrate a significant event or person. Each country can issue a €2 coin once a year. As they are legal tender throughout the euro area, they may move from one country to another. If the different looks of the coin cannot be explained on the basis of these factors, it is worthwhile contacting the mint, ie Rahapaja Oy (firstname.lastname@example.org). They will accept coins for laboratory analyses, whenever necessary. ECB: images and descriptions of the national sides of euro coins http://www.ecb.europa.eu/euro/coins/2euro/html/index.en.html ECB: images and descriptions of commemorative coins http://www.ecb.europa.eu/euro/coins/comm/html/index.en.html
Each euro area member state can issue a €2 commemorative coin once a year. These coins have the same technical features and the same common side as normal €2 coins. What makes them different is their commemorative design on the national side.
Only the €2 denomination can be used for commemorative coins. They are legal tender throughout the euro area, meaning that they can be used just like any other euro coin, and the recipient of a payment is obliged to accept them.
ECB: A list of commemorative coins http://www.ecb.europa.eu/euro/coins/comm/html/index.en.html
Euro banknotes bear the signature of the President of the European Central Bank (ECB). The first President of the ECB was Wim Duisenberg and the second Jean-Claude Trichet. The present President Mario Draghi began his term of office on 1 November 2011, since which time his signature has appeared on euro notes. Notes bearing the signature of all three are in circulation.
All euro banknotes and coins, including commemorative coins, are legal tender in Finland. The Bank of Finland, as the issuer of legal tender, has traditionally taken the view that all means of payment with legal tender status must be accepted. This applies in particular to state-licensed businesses, such as pharmacies and public transport carriers. However, the choice of which means of payment to accept comes within the sphere of freedom of contract. In practice, this means that shops are free to choose which ones to accept. Accordingly, they may refuse to accept one and two cent coins or €500 banknotes but, if so, they must put up clear and adequate signs informing customers. The relevant legal provisions are contained in the Consumer Protection Act, with decisions on individual cases falling under the competence of the Consumer Agency. Legislation concerning the euro also provides that no-one is obliged to accept more than 50 coins in payment in a single transaction. The Consumer Agency's view on whether a retailer should accept one and two cent coins: Small-denomination euro coins are legal tender in the euro area, including Finland. Because of Finland's rounding rules for cash payments, one and two cent coins are not needed for use as change. Despite this, these coins remain legal tender, and businesses are obliged to accept their use. However, retailers have the right to choose their customers, provided they do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, etc. This means that shops may indeed refuse to accept one and two cent coins. If a retailer chooses not to accept these coins, it must inform customers clearly and visibly on the front door.
(Source: Finnish websites of the Consumer Agency, FAQ) http://www.kuluttajavirasto.fi/faq/asiasanahaku/hakutulokset.aspx?wordid=49ae4f99-9966-47dc-a3b4-15d3b8454bdf
Customers must hand in mutilated or damaged banknotes at their own banks, where a relevant form will be filled in. The bank will forward the completed and signed original form, together with the mutilated or damaged banknotes, to the Bank of Finland for analysis and exchange.
Instructions for exchange of mutilated banknotes
The Bank of Finland has published instructions on using design elements of currencies. Use of design elements of currencies in marketing (PDF)The ECB has also issued rules on the reproduction of euro banknotes: http://www.ecb.europa.eu/euro/html/reproduction.en.html