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Thousands gather in front of European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt on this Jan. 1, 1999 to celebrate the launch of the euro.


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Belgian graphist Alain Billiet, who designed the euro sign before the launch of the single currency in 1999, displays his creation in Brussels, Jan. 10, 2002.

Francois Lenoir/Reuters

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A family examines euro notes for the first time after withdrawing them from an ATM in Rome on Jan. 1, 2002.

Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters

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A clerk at a Berlin post office displays Germany's first euro stamp on Jan. 10, 2002.


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Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe accepts change as he takes part in an exercise at a Paris street market to familiarize the public with the new euro currency ahead of its official launch on Jan. 1, 2002. Stalls set up along the street accepted francs for produce but gave change in specimen euros.


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Antonio Ostos Merino, an 82 year-old man, enters a bus decorated with a euro coin and a map showing the euro zone countries in the Andalusian village of Umbrete on Dec. 21, 2001. The bus was driven around Spain to promote the euro ahead of its Jan. 1, 2002 starting day.

© Marcelo Del Pozo/Reuters

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