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Last Updated: Thursday April 28 2005 20:02 GMT

Rare Pope coins spark buying rush

A euro coin bearing the image of Pope John Paul II
Thousands of people queued overnight to get their hands on the final set of euro coins with Pope John Paul II's image on them.

Some followers even bought sleeping bags and camped on the streets outside St Peter's Basilica in Rome so they could snap up the eight-coin set.

The sets cost 23 euros (15) but people soon started selling them on the street for up to 400 euros (270).

However, many people did buy them to keep for sentimental reasons.

A new set of coins showing the new Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, will be issued soon.

Pope John Paul II died on 2 April, and his successor was chosen on 19 April.

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