A difficult delivery
1 January 2002
We all have witnessed it: the birth of a new letter. It took quite some time to be delivered. First, it made its appearance in newspapers and trade journals, then on from the banks. Then finally, its first live appearances in ads, in department store displays, at street markets and in the shop around the corner. Now, it has found its place on the computer keyboard and children are taught how to write it. The euro sign â‚¬.
When history is in the making, details often get blurred. Most of us will be more concerned with the introduction of the new ‘almost-pan-EU’ currency, than with the design of the symbol accompanying this monetary reform. Typophiles, however, will pay close attention to the weaving of the spirit of semiotics. The euro should be spared the fate of the dollar, whose $ mark is surrounded by legends, while the truth behind its definitive form has fallen into oblivion. As the euro’s parents, from the very beginning, have been covering its development with a propaganda smoke screen, the time is ripe for committing to history the five-year gestation of the euro sign.
Â© Photos and illustrations: EU, hitext, DPA, Karstadt
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European Central Bank
German Ministry of Finance
Austrian Ministry of Finance
Association for European Politics