By David Gold

sochi 2014_mascot_coins_22-02-12February 22 - The minting of 10 million commemorative coins for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, which depict the Games mascots, has begun.

"There will be up to 10 million coins depicting the bear, hare and snow leopard," the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) said in a statement, with the coins set to become available in April.

Olympic facilities, the surrounding area of Sochi and views of the Russian winter will all appear on the 12 different commemorative coins being created this year.

Meanwhile, a special 100 rouble banknote will be issued next year to celebrate the Olympics.

Four commemorative coins for skeleton, snowboard, ski jumping and freestyle skiing, featuring athletes and plants specific to the Sochi region on the reverse, will also be released later this month.

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In September further coins will be released, and by 2014 a total of 46 different types will have been introduced.

A 25 rouble coin will be put into circulation across Russia, the first time this will have happened on a national scale for an Olympic Games.

In all, some 37 million coins are to be minted by 2014 under the Sochi coin programme.

The latest announcement follows last month's release by the Russian Central Bank of a series of coins to mark Sochi 2014.

The tradition of Olympic coins can be dated all the way back to 510 BC, and the first modern coin was released for the 1952 Games in Helsinki.

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January 2012: Central Bank of Russia launches commemorative Sochi 2014 coins