1994, Spain (Republic). Large Proof Silver 5 Ecu "Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote" Coin.
Mint Years: 1994
Mint Place: Madrid
Denomination: 5 Ecu
Mintage: 38,000 pcs.
Condition: Proof in original plastic capsule!
Weight: 33.6gm (0.9998 Oz. Pure Silver!)
Material: Sterling Silver (925)
The European Currency Unit (₠ or ECU) was a basket of the currencies of the European Community member states, used as the unit of account of the European Community before being replaced by the euro on 1 January 1999, at parity. The ECU itself replaced the European Unit of Account, also at parity, on 13 March 1979. The European Exchange Rate Mechanism attempted to minimize fluctuations between member state currencies and the ECU. The ECU was also used in some international financial transactions, where its advantage was that securities denominated in ECUs provided investors with the opportunity for foreign diversification without reliance on the currency of a single country.
The ECU was conceived on 13 March 1979 as an internal accounting unit. It had the ISO 4217 currency code XEU.
On 1 January 1999, the euro (with the code EUR and symbol €) replaced the ECU, at the value €1 = 1 ECU. Unlike the ECU, the euro is a real currency, although not all member states participate (for details on euro membership see Eurozone). Two of the countries in the ECU basket of currencies, UK and Denmark, did not join the eurozone, and a third, Greece, joined late. On the other hand, Finland and Austria joined the Eurozone from the beginning although their currencies were not part of the ECU basket (since they had joined the EU in 1995, two years after the ECU composition was "frozen").
Due to the ECU being used in some international financial transactions, there was a concern that foreign courts might not recognize the euro as the legal successor to the ECU. This was unlikely to be a problem, since it is a generally accepted principle of private international law that states determine their currencies, and that therefore states would accept the European Union legislation to that effect. However, for abundant caution, several foreign jurisdictions adopted legislation to ensure a smooth transition. Of particular importance, the USA states of Illinois and New York adopted legislation to ensure a large proportion of international financial contracts recognized the euro as the successor of the ECU.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (29 September 1547 (assumed) – 22 April 1616) was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright.
His magnum opus, Don Quixote, considered to be the first modern European novel, is a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written. His influence on the Spanish language has been so great that the language is often called la lengua de Cervantes ("the language of Cervantes"). He was dubbed El Príncipe de los Ingenios ("The Prince of Wits").
In 1569, Cervantes moved to Rome where he worked as chamber assistant of a cardenal. Cervantes then enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment and continued his military life until 1575, when he was captured by Algerian corsairs. After 5 years of slavery he was released by his captors on ransom from his parents and the Trinitarians, a Catholic religious order and he subsequently returned to his family in Madrid.
In 1585, Cervantes published a pastoral novel named La Galatea. Because of financial problems, he worked as a purveyor for the Spanish Armada, and later as a tax collector. In 1597, discrepancies in his accounts of three years previous landed him in the Crown Jail of Seville. In 1605, he was in Valladolid when the immediate success of the first part of his Don Quixote, published in Madrid, signaled his return to the literary world. In 1607, he settled in Madrid, where he lived and worked until his death. During the last 9 years of his life, Cervantes solidified his reputation as a writer; he published the Novelas ejemplares (Exemplary Novels) in 1613, the Journey to Parnassus (Viaje al Parnaso) in 1614, and in 1615, the Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses and the 2nd part of Don Quixote. Carlos Fuentes noted that, "Cervantes leaves the page open where the reader knows himself read and the author written."