Faulty €2 Coin Could Be Worth Thousands 

A Spanish €2 coin commemorating 10 years of the common currency, issued in 2009. This one is up for sale for €540 on Etsy (photo- Etsy)
A Spanish €2 coin commemorating 10 years of the common currency, issued in 2009. This one is up for sale for €540 on Etsy (photo- Etsy)

Collectors will pay literally thousands to get their hands on the faulty coins, purely because they are so unique. In 2009, the European Central Bank (BCE) minted a limited-edition series of €2 coins to commemorate a milestone anniversary of the common currency, with different designs for each of the countries in the Eurozone. These, alone, are collectables and are worth far more than their face value, as only around three million of them were released. They can fetch about €30 in the collectors’ market. 

A batch came out with a design error due to a problem with the minting machine. The defective coins had uneven stars on them. These stars, reflecting the yellow ones in a ring on a blue background on the EU flag, were not all uniform. This has now made them highly sought-after, with prices paid for them being in the hundreds or even thousands of euros.

Coin collectors have recently published a list on the site Coleccionistas de Monedas showing which €2 pieces are the most valuable on the specialist market. Some of them are worth over €2,500.

Free Frequent-Traveller Rail Tickets

The Cercanías lines – often referred to as the Rodalies in the Comunidad Valenciana and Catalunya – typically cover up to six zones radiating out from a provincial capital city, spanning about 70km or roughly an hour’s journey. Prices per journey normally range from approximately €2 to €6 one way, depending upon zone.

Medium-distance rail links, or Media Distancia, are inter-provincial, but generally fall short of the long-distance or Larga Distancia connections which operate across several regions at once.

Both the latter are much slower than the high-speed AVE train, which is not covered by the free season ticket deal, although they are much cheaper, being around half the price.

Frequent-Passenger Tickets – passes for a set number of journeys, or unlimited trips over a specific time period are the ones which will be at zero cost for the coming months. Would-be travellers or regular commuters can apply online for their free passes via Renfe.com in a pre-registration process. The passes became available from August 24th, coming into effect eight days later.

For the Cercanías and Rodalies networks, those applying need to pay a deposit of €10, which will be refunded after December 31st if they make a minimum of four journeys a month on these rail links within the specific nucleus they register for. This means that the four monthly journeys have to be on the network for the same city to qualify. They could not, for example, take two trips a month on the Cercanías in Valencia and two on the Cercanías in Bilbao and still recover their deposit. If they pay two deposits of €10, they could then recover both if they made four trips a month on the Valencia network and four on the Bilbao network.

Those who want to get a free pass for the Media Distancia or ‘medium-distance’ line, need to make a €20 deposit, which they will get back after December 31st as long as they make more than 16 journeys from September to December inclusive on the same route. They do not have to stick to a given frequency – they could, feasibly, make 10 journeys in September, none in October or November, then seven in December and still qualify, but the trips would have to be on the line between two specific station terminals – not necessarily from end to end, or from the same departure point to the same origin, or in the same direction, but would need to be along the same route.

The rail tickets are mainly a bid to help with the current living-cost crisis, although they are also aimed at promoting public transport use where this is available, as a way of reducing emissions within the wider battle against climate change.

Library of Things

At some point, you might get around to selling items on eBay, recouping a fraction of your outlay and having the hassle of arranging courier firms and getting quotes so you can accurately price delivery costs for your eventual buyer. If it’s something that isn’t likely to sell and you can’t find someone else who might need it, you will probably, at some point, call the council to arrange an ‘eco-park pick-up’, or just dump it.

A group of residents in a Barcelona neighbourhood came up with a solution in January 2020 and what started out as a community project has now spread all over the city and to other parts of Spain. 

La Biblioteca de las Cosas – The Library of Things 

Its purpose is exactly what you would expect – a municipal building where you can ‘borrow’ things in the same way as you would take a book out of a library, then bring it back after a set period. Other ‘libraries’ opened in nearby towns and villages. 

Nearly 300 people have used the Biblioteca de las Cosas since it opened and as different modes of membership are in place. They range from habitual borrowers through to passing holiday-home owners who just need an electric screwdriver to put up a shelf on their latest visit.

Rented items are typically as low as €1 to €5 for the week, or ‘friends’ who pay €10 which enables them to borrow goods worth up to €12 in ‘user’ hire fees. You can also be a ‘superfriend’ for €20 which allows you to rent out items up to €24 in borrowing fares.

For those who know they need to borrow a hand-held DIY tool, but have no idea how to use it and are faced with paying a builder’s or handyman’s call-out just to hang up a picture, the Biblioteca de las Cosas runs regular workshops where you can learn how to use a sewing machine, an electric screwdriver, drill, or how to repair items to prolong their lives or restore them to give them a new life rather than sending them to the local tip. Each workshop costs €3, but ‘friends’ or ‘superfriends’ get a discount.

Items are sometimes donated, or bought and the organisers are working on a long-term deal with the local Refuse Agency which would guarantee them set funding every year in the local budget.

The most popular items taken out on loan are typically steam-cleaners or pressure-washers, hoovers, sewing machines, crutches, walking frames, drills, wheelbarrows, electric saws, or loudspeakers. Around 400 different objects feature in the catalogue and are normally lent for a week as standard, but this time period is flexible. Women tend to be the most frequent borrowers. 

Since January 2020, the Biblioteca de las Cosas has made 384 hires of items and prevented nearly four tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and over 1.5 tonnes of landfill waste.