Personal Finance 

Converting Old European Currency to New Euros

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EurosCan you believe the euro has been around for almost eight years? I didn’t realize it’s been that long until I read a Bankrate question about options for converting old European currency (there aren’t many). That page referenced a University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business page that has anything and everything you could possible want to know about the Euro conversion, from a timeline to conversion rates to the Maastricht criteria, the criteria a country must meet to be eligible to convert to the euro.

The big lesson I learned was that the conversion rate from the old legacy currency to the euro is fixed forever and that you may have a deadline on converting notes and coins. For example, you can no longer convert the coinage of Belgium, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Portugal. There’s also a deadline on converting paper currency from Greece, France, Netherlands, Portugal, and Finland.

Here’s are the deadlines (includes ones for the recent additions):

  • Austria Schillings: Notes and coins indefinitely.
  • Belgium Francs: Notes indefinitely but coin redemption ended in 2004.
  • Cypriot Pounds: Notes until Dec 31, 2017 and coin redemption ended in 2009.
  • Finland Markkas: Notes and coins until Jan 29, 2012.
  • France Francs: Notes until February 17th, 2012, coin redemption ended in 2005.
  • Germany Marks: Notes and coins indefinitely.
  • Greece Drachmas: Notes until March 2012, coin redemption ended in 2004.
  • Italy Liras: Notes and coins until February 29th, 2012.
  • Ireland Pounds: Notes and coins indefinitely.
  • Luxembourg Franc Notes indefinitely, coin redemption ended in 2004.
  • Maltese Liras: Notes until 31 January 2018, coins until 1 February 2010.
  • Netherlands Guilders: Notes until Jan 1st, 2032, coin redemption ended in 2007.
  • Portugal Escudos: Notes until Dec. 30, 2022 but coin redemption ended in 2002.
  • Slovakia Crowns: Notes indefinitely and coins until the end of 2014.
  • Slovenia Tolars: Notes indefinitely and coins until 31 December 2016.
  • Spain Pesetas: Notes and coins indefinitely.

To trade in your currency, you’ll need to go to a bank in that country and do so before the deadline or they just become collectible souvenirs!

(Photo: vizzzual-dot-com)

{ 16 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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16 Responses to “Converting Old European Currency to New Euros”

  1. zapeta says:

    I’d check with a collector or do some research online to see what any of these currencies might be worth before you cash them in for face value.

  2. Chris says:

    I wonder if this covers the Dutch Antilles also. While American dollars are widely accepted, Guilders are usually given for change.

  3. eric says:

    8 years?! Holy…time flies

  4. Scott says:

    Jim – the Euro has actually been around for more than 10 years. The 1/1/2002 (eight year) mark you’re referring to was when Euros were first printed as cash. Prior to that, the Euro was used in financial and forex markets (no cash) for several years.

  5. Soccer9040 says:

    I spend 2 months in Europe in 2006 and I can say from my experience, all the local people I met had already “Cashed out” their local currency to Euros. Anyone holding it at this point is probably doing it for historical reasons.

  6. fairydust says:

    Guess that box of foreign coins and paper money will just continue to stay in the back of the kid’s closet 🙂 I was never very inclined to cash it out before the Euro came along, so I’m not feeling particularly let down now, but it’s interesting nonetheless – I never realized there would be deadlines.

  7. I still have some old Deutsche Marks from when I was in Germany a while back. I don’t have tons of many, but I would rather keep them for collection purposes.

  8. Paul Nelson says:

    There is a small bureau in London that will still exchange most of the pre-Euro currencies without you needing to visit the country concerned. Thomas Exchange UK limited are based in the West End of London at 13 Maddox Street, London W1S 2QG.
    You can either visit the office in person or post the currency to them by Royal Mail Special Delivery.
    Call them on 0207 493 1300 and they will give you all the information you need.

  9. sara says:

    I Have very old paper money from Belgium from the 1920’s and was wondering if their worth anything

  10. Paul Nelson says:

    What is the value of the notes and what condition are they in?
    Do you know whose portait is on the notes and can you see an exact year?

  11. Aditi says:

    I do have a very old paper money from France. Is that possible to convert it?

  12. eric says:




  13. welldone says:

    Italian lira, French franc and Finnish Mark became worthless last month. But with the other ones (e.g. German d-mark, Spanish peseta) your are able to donate to UNICEF without even charging your budget! Change tomorrow with money from yesterday. More information:

  14. tower says:

    @welldone The fees that the company on the link charge are extortionate! I shopped around and Thomas Exchange gave a better rate with no hidden fees or extras… you also have the option to dontate it to charity once your currencies are converted to Sterling.

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