The Monnaie de Paris has unveiled its latest set of collector coins which is part of their greater series entitled “Great Dates of Humanity” and also pays tribute to some of the mint’s most historic medals produced. Beginning in 2020, the Monnaie de Paris traces the history of the independence of the United States through a set of collector coins in remembrance of the arrival of French General LaFayette in Boston. The subjects of the coins are directly inspired by historical medals produced by the Monnaie de Paris, and these designs of the coins are recreated from archives. This sub-theme is part of their “Great Dates of Humanity” theme, which began in 2019 with coins marking the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Man’s first Moon landing in 1969, and D-day in 1944. This year, these original medals featuring the Great Seal of the United States of America are honoured on the occasion of the 240th anniversary of their original commission. The coins are struck with a high relief process and the detail of the engraving is magnified by the addition of reverse polishing.
Originally prepared as a gift from the government of France to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, he was so impressed with their design that he commissioned more examples to be used as presentation gifts to foreign diplomats. The first two medals were awarded to Marquis de la Luzerne and the Count de Moustier, two French diplomats who were both the ministers to the United States in 1779-84 and 1787, respectively. The medals, with a diameter of 67 millimetres and depicting the Great Seal of the United States, were prepared by Monnaie de Paris Chief Engraver Augustin Dupre (1748-1833) in 1792. Known as “To Peace and Commerce,” these medals were recast again in 1876 at the United States mint on the occasion of the American Centennial using Dupre’s original lead proofs. The dies for the 1876 edition were engraved by Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber. The obverse of the medal features the Great Seal of the United States, and the reverse features an allegory of America rendered as a seated Native American woman taking a cornucopia from the outstretched hand of Mercury, who symbolises trade.
The obverse side of these extraordinary medals recreated as coins depict one of the most accurate and early versions of the Great Seal. Features include rays of light “piercing the clouds,” a bald eagle with outstretched wings holding an olive branch in its left talon, and 13 arrows in the other. The overall design symbolises a desire for peace as well as the ability to defend through war. The 13 stars above the eagle are in reference to the original 13 states. The eagle’s head faces toward the olive branch and its right symbolising a preference for peace. The banner E Pluribus Unum (“out of many, one”) recalls the union of the 13 original colonies that formed the United States in 1776. The 13 original colonies are also referenced by the 13 vertical stripes shown on the coat of arms. The coins include the year of issue 2022 just under the crest, as well as the mintmark and insignia of the engraver.
On the reverse, the new country of America is represented by the allegorical figure of a native princess seated on bundles of trade goods which she calls attention to by extending her right hand. She holds a cornucopia in her left hand to welcome Mercury, also known as Hermes, who is standing to her left wearing a cape and winged cap. He is regarded as the god of science and represents commerce in the United States. In the background is a tall ship and above the primary design is the inscription TO PEACE AND COMMERCE, to which the medal is dedicated. The date of the independence of the United States is inscribed below the design as IV JUL MDCCLXXVI (“4 July 1776”). In capital letters is the name of C. BARBER 1876, the artist who retooled Dupre’s original design, as well as the name of the original artist, DUPRE F, which is placed below Mercury. The coins also include the denomination just under the date shown in Roman numerals.
|25 euro||.999 Silver||62.2 g||41 mm||Medallic Finish||1,000|
|50 euro||.999 Gold||7.78 g||22 mm||Proof||500|
|200 euro||.999 Gold||31.1 g||34 mm||Medallic Finish||250|
Available from the 3rd May 2022, each of the coins are struck to Proof quality, specially encapsulated, and presented in a custom MdP case accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. All coins in this series are available to purchase as separate items. For additional information about these and other coins available from the Monnaie de Paris, please visit their website here for the €25 silver coin, here for the €50 gold coin, and here for the €200 gold coin.