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Euro cash

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A bridge too far

The counterfeiters

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Tons of money

The Queen's head

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A cent is a cent

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BBC News Online

. In December 1996 the European Monetary Institute - precursor to the European Central Bank - unveiled the winning designs for the new euro banknotes. They were to represent the ages and styles of Europe, while avoiding potentially contentious subjects like national heroes and achievements.

The winning artist was an Austrian, Robert Kalina, whose banknotes showed on one side bridges from the seven ages of European development, which were said to be the product of his imagination.

However, far from being non-specific, the bridge designs appeared to have been borrowed wholesale from a standard manual on the subject, 'Bridges - 300 Years of Defying Nature'. The 50 euro note, for example, showed the Rialto bridge in Venice, the 100 euro note the Pont de Neuilly in Paris and the 500 euro note depicted the Pont de Normandie. Furthermore, the five euro note showed the picture of an ancient pontoon bridge in India - not a particularly European motif.

The design has now been revised. On one side the euro notes show windows and architraves, while the back of every euro note depicts different, less identifiable bridges.