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Vatican Euro delayed by Italian production problems

Delays in the distribution of the Italian version of the euro are holding up the Vatican's version of the Euro.

The Italian authorities responsible for the production of the Vatican Euro have indicated that release of the coins has been delayed until "sometime next month", a Vatican spokesman said yesterday.

The Vatican has designed its own set of 670,000 euro coins which will be valid throughout the 12-nation euro zone.

"There are some technical problems...first they have to get the Italian euro in circulation, then comes the Vatican euro," the Holy See spokesman told Reuters.

Italy has had difficulties getting the new notes and coins into circulation and in terms of actual cash transactions in the new coinage, was bottom of the class among the 12 countries that introduced the euro, the European Commission says.

The Vatican euros, which will feature an up-to-date profile of Pope John Paul, are expected to be snapped up by collectors.