In which the Belgians win again. I’d heard about this for a while now. Last year, Belgium wanted to strike a 2 euro coin commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. It was certainly their right. It was definitely a big bicentennial for a bigger battle. After all, the results of that battle defined the European continent for a century and caused mayhem in WWI when military commanders tried to fight the enemy using tactics Wellington had used in 1815(not a good plan. My cousin Cpt Patrick Dunne was in one of the last cavalry attacks ever that ended badly when it ran afoul of that pesky new invention, the machine gun).
Well, here’s the fun part. France threw a tantrum. No euro coin for THEM. No euro coin for anybody that would celebrate the fact that they didn’t own Europe(never mind lauding the last French military commander who actually advanced). Belgium had to destroy 180,000 coins. And everybody thought that was that.
Not so much the Belgians. They looked through their EU bylaws on coinage, evidently, and found a loophole(not unlike the holes the Brits knocked into the brick walls at Chateau Hougoumont to fire upon the advancing enemy.) It seems that if you mint a coin that is not a regular denomination, you can mint any damn thing you want under your country’s auspices. So the Belgians did a retreat and flanking maneuver(something they probably learned from Wellington) and printed themselves up a brand new 2.5e coin that commemorates….you guessed it, the Battle of Waterloo. Which means that I am now on a mission from God to find some, because what better commemorative tchotchke to give out for my winners along with their copy of BARELY A LADY? I mean, it celebrates victory both two hundred years ago, and again this month. And this month, no blood had to be shed. Now, I call THAT a victory. (FYI: the coins can only be spent inside Belgium. So you also have to come over to visit the battlefield at some time).