G-8 leaders to be given symbolic gold coins


By Marta Falconi
Associated Press
via Yahoo News
Wednesday, July 8, 2009


ROME -- World leaders attending the Group of Eight summit opening Wednesday in Italy will each be presented with a gift from the past and one for the future.

Handmade books portraying works by Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova, as well as gold coins representing an imaginary future world currency will be given to the participants at the opening of the three-day summit.

There are 10 copies of the book, commissioned by Italy's Premier Silvio Berlusconi from the Bologna-based art publishing house Fondazione Marilena Ferrari, each with a personalized dedication for the leader who receives it.

The 28-inch by 17.5-inch (71-centimeter by 44.5-centimeter) Canova books were crafted at no cost by 23 Italian craftsmen using traditional techniques, the publishing house said. Each weighs 53 pounds (24 kilograms).

The books' covers are decorated with white marble bas-reliefs and the volumes are bound with silk and gold thread. They include etchings and dozens of black and white photographs of Canova's artworks, including artistic close-ups of his statues.

The coins, made by Belgian Luc Luycx, who designed one side of the Euro coins, are called "eurodollars," in a symbolic call for a common currency to unite Europe and the United States.

They have a value of 2,800 euros ($3,900) and were produced by the United Future World Currency, a group pushing the idea of a global currency.

The works will go to the leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized countries as well as to the President of the European Council Fredrik Reinfeldt and EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The Group of Eight is Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The summit is held in the central Italian city of L'Aquila, which was struck by a powerful earthquake in April that killed nearly 300 people.

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