In an excellently titled post, "How to make money with free software", Dutch designer Stani Michiels describes the design process behind his winning entry in a competition to design a new five euro coin for the Dutch Ministry of Finance.
Its a fascinating bit of software/graphic/product design, using amongst other things, a live internet ranking system of the Netherlands' great architects, an arrangement of books on a virtual shelf and the country's regional birds to depict standard design elements such as Queen Beatrix and the map of the Netherlands. Michiels doesn't say how 'live' that list is - whether each coin is generated on-the-fly to reflect the state of the internet at that time. Presumably not, unless the coins are rapidly manufactured! Those days are yet to come, although, as Michiels points out, the idea of open source coins can present some curious problems:
"I would have loved to release the coin under the GPL, which could maybe solve the financial crisis. However for obvious reasons I was not allowed to do that."
Fact: for anyone not feeling the financial pinch at the moment, the gold edition of this coin can be purchased for merely 39 of the regular version.