The Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office have released the annual 2 Euro commemorative coins of the Vatican City State for 2016.
The coin commemorates the bicentenary of the Gendarmerie Corps of the Vatican State. The Gendarmerie Corps are essentially the Vatican police. Their duties include ensuring the security of the Vatican City State and all other territories belonging to the Holy See, maintaining public order, the prevention of crime and apprehension of criminals. They are also responsible for border patrol and various other duties as judicial police.
The service was created in 1816 after the Congress of Vienna by Pope Pius VII in the wake of the dissolution of the Napoleonic Empire. Their stated purpose at the time was to ensure the security of the Papal States. Originally called the Papal Carabinieri Corps until 1849 when Pope Pius IX changed the name to the Papal Velites Regiment. Their name would then again be changed to the Papal Gendarmerie Corps. After Pope Paul VI abolished the Palatine Guard and the Noble guard in 1968 the Swiss Guard was left the as the sole military order under Papal command. The Gendarmerie were not abolished but instead transformed into a Central Security Office, with the duties of protecting the Pope, defending Vatican City, and providing police and security services within the territories of the Holy See. The order's name would be changed again in 1991 to the Security Corps of Vatican City State and in 2002 to Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City State.
The reverse design depicts a Gendarmarie officer in full uniform standing guard, to the right of the coin while facing left. To the left of the coin and in the background is the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. The reverse legend reads : “CORPO GENDARMERIA 1816-2016 DELLA”, “1816 - 2016” and “CITTÀ DEL VATICANO”.
The obverse bears the standard design of all European two Euro coins with the twelve star encircled map of Europe.
The coin will be made available to collectors in two grades. The first is a brilliant uncirculated coin in an orange blister pack. These will be sold at €18.00 each. Expected mintage will be around 80 000 coins.
Then the more desirable option for serious collectors has to be the proof quality coin released in an orange clamshell display case. There will be a limited mintage of 10 000 proof coins sold at €37.00 each.
There are also several gold collectors coins expected from the Vatican later in the month, this follows the release of the annual proof sets in March.