10-euro coin with a flaw that could multiply its value FNMT
Expert discovers error in Spanish 10-euro coin which could multiply its value

Expert discovers error in Spanish 10-euro coin which could multiply its value

This coin is a tribute to Margarita Salas, biochemist and researcher, considered to be the forerunner of molecular biology in Spain

C. Á.

Wednesday, 20 March 2024, 18:20


Collecting exclusive coins is becoming more popular. People find a great pleasure in numismatics for either pure collection purposes or for the value these pieces can acquire over time. Recently several commemorative coins have been put into circulation in Spain, such as the one of the National Police force, which celebrates its 200th anniversary. It is a two-euro coin which can be used in payment like any other coin - 1.5 million of them have been issued.

But it is another collector's coin, released on 8 March 2024 for International Women's Day, that has recently become the most talked-about. It is a coin paying tribute to Margarita Salas, a biochemist and researcher who is considered to be the forerunner of molecular biology in Spain. The collector 10-euro coin can be purchased at the shop of the Royal Spanish Mint (Real Casa de la Moneda Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre) for 72.60 euros.

However, several experts have pointed out on social media a serious error in the coin's design, which could multiply its value over a short period of time. Doctor in chemistry Deborah García took to X, formerly Twitter, to explain the serious scientific flaw on the Margarita Salas coin.

One side of the coin features a portrait of Felipe VI, while the other side shows a DNA chain, the female gender symbol and a picture of Margarita Salas. Around it are the legends 8-M International Women's Day and Margarita Salas. "If you look at the coin, you will see that to the left of Salas, the DNA molecule is dextrorotatory (correct spin) and to the right it becomes levorotatory (incorrect spin)," the scientist pointed out this property which is known as isomerism.

"Two molecules containing the same atoms may have them arranged in different configurations. In some cases the difference is very subtle, as in optical isomerism, where one isomer is the mirror image of the other. This is what happens with levorotatory and dextrorotatory DNA, which would be optical isomers," the chemist added.

"Experimentally, this twist is observed by seeing which way the polarised light is deflected as it passes through each isomer. When the plane of light is tilted to the right, the substance is dextrorotatory. On the other hand, if the deviation is to the left, it is a levorotatory molecule," García said. The error, in fact, becomes more visible when it is inside the purple circle of the female gender symbol.

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