IN IMAGES: Spain launches rare €1.5 Iberian lynx bullion coin 

Spain’s Royal Mint has minted and launched a series of €1.5 gold coins with the symbol of the Iberian lynx as the main image.

IN IMAGES: Spain launches rare €1.5 Iberian lynx bullion coin 
The bullion coin includes the head of the Iberian lynx, native to the Iberian Peninsula. Photos: La Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre-Real Casa de la Moneda

With a value of €1.5 , there have only been 12,000 units released so the value is expected to eventually be much higher. Put into circulation this month, the special lynx coins are not ordinary euro coins, but the first bullion coins in Spain.

With a diameter of 37 mm, the face shows the value of €1.5 , together with the image of the head of an Iberian lynx. Due to the fact that retail price is more than the cost of €1.5 – the value of the coin – it is expected the lynx coin will be a collectors piece and not used for purchases.

What are bullion coins and what are they for?

With the minting of the €1.5 coin, Spain’s royal mint has produced a bullion coin for the first time. They are not intended to be in regular circulation, or used for normal purchases, but rather as a way of storing value.

They are collector’s items, storing value and investment when exchanged with the right buyers.

Technically speaking, the term bullion refers to ingot and are usually coins designed by private companies for collections. It is surprising, therefore, that Spain’s Royal Mint has joined countries such as the United States, Australia and South Africa, in producing their own bullion coins.

According to the Royal Mint, the coin will be sold through distributors worldwide, and will arrive encapsulated.

It can also be bought directly from the company commissioned to produce the custom-made currency, Degussa

Even though it’s technically a €1.5, the sale price to the public is based on the price of gold at each moment plus 10 percent, so it could work out to be more than €1.5.

The bullion coin won’t be able to be used to buy products in shops as it’s a collector’s item which doesn’t serve that purpose

The design

The design harks back to Spanish history, and is reminiscent of silver and gold coins minted in Spain and the New World between the 16th and 19th centuries. One face recreates the famous Columnario del Real de a Ocho: two images of the old and new worlds, the territories of the Spanish Empire on either side of the Atlantic ocean, flanked by two crowned columns. Sitting above the globes is the Spanish crown and the mark of King Felipe VI.

The reverse side includes the head of the Iberian lynx, native to the Iberian Peninsula.

Not only is the animal incredibly rare, but also one of the most elusive species in the world, rarely seen because they choose to live in some of the wildest and most remote parts of Spain – something sure to make it a favourite with collectors. 

Written by Conor Faulkner

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Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Talk of abortion policy reform and proposed menstrual leave has dominated Spanish discourse this week, but it’s also dividing Spain’s coalition government.

Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Spain’s PSOE-fronted coalition government recently outlined proposals that have dominated public discourse in the country.

But the legislation, which would allow women over the age of 16 to get abortions without the permission of their parents and introduce ‘menstruation leave’ for those suffering serious period pains, has not only divided Spanish society but the government itself.

The proposals would make Spain a leader in the Western world, and the first European Union member state to introduce menstrual leave, and changes to abortion law would overturn a 2015 law passed by the conservative People’s Party that forced women aged 16 and 17 to obtain parental consent.

The wide-ranging bill would also end VAT on menstrual products, increase the free distribution of them in schools, and allow between three and five days of leave each month for women who experience particularly painful periods.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s abortion laws for foreign residents and visitors?

Menstrual leave

Ángela Rodríguez, the Secretary of State for Equality, told Spanish newspaper El Periódico in March that “it’s important to be clear about what a painful period is – we’re not talking about slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever and bad headaches.”

“When there’s a problem that can’t be solved medically, we think it’s very sensible to have temporary sick leave,” she added.

Cabinet politics

The proposals are slated for approval in cabinet next week, and judging by reports in the Spanish media this week, it is far from reaching a consensus. It is believed the intra-cabinet tensions stem not from the changes to abortion and contraception accessibility, but rather the proposed menstrual leave.

The junior coalition partner in government, Podemos, largely supports the bill, but it is believed some in the PSOE ranks are more sceptical about the symbolism and employment effects of the proposed period pain policy.

Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, said this week: “Let me repeat it very clearly: this government believes and is absolutely committed to gender equality and we will never adopt measures that may result in a stigmatisation of women.”

Yet Second Vice President and Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, who is viewed as further to the left than President Pedro Sánchez and other PSOE cabinet ministers, is reportedly “absolutely in favour” of the measure to reform Spain’s “deeply masculinised” labour market.

Sources in the Spanish media have this week also reported that some PSOE cabinet ministers feel the proposed paid leave not only plays up to stereotypes of women, or stigmatises them, like Calviño says, but also places them at a disadvantage in the world of work.

Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, stated that while the government should seek to improve women’s employment protections, it should also seek to boost their participation in the labour market under “better conditions.”

In that vein, some feel menstrual leave could be used a form of of employment discrimination similarly to how pregnancy has been historically, and the policy would, in that sense, actually be more regressive than progressive in enshrining women’s workplace rights. 

READ MORE: Spain eyes free contraception for under-25’s

Trade unions

Trade unions are also sceptical of the menstrual leave legislation. Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy secretary of UGT, one of Spain’s largest trade unions, has echoed those in the cabinet who feel the proposals could “stigmatise women.” She added that “it does women a disservice.”

Public opinion

A survey run by INTIMINA found that 67 percent of Spanish women are in favour of regulating menstrual leave, but also that 75 percent fear it is “a double-edged sword” that could generate labor discrimination.

The survey also found that 88 percent of women who suffer from disabling and frequent period pain have gone to work despite it. Seventy-one percent admitted that they have normalised working with pain.

Cabinet showdown

The proposed menstrual leave policy will be debated in cabinet next week when the Council of Ministers debates and approves the broader abortion and contraception reforms. According to sources in the Spanish media, and many cabinet ministers themselves, it seems a consensus on menstruation leave is a long way off.