The Monnaie de Paris have unveiled (18th January) designs for three new coins that continue their impressive and sought-after series celebrating French coinage throughout the ages. Part of the Monnaie de Paris’s 1,150th anniversary of producing national coinage for the French State, the series was launched in 2014, and the designs in it have featured well-known or noteworthy coins that have shaped the economic and political growth of the state since the days of Charles II, “the Bald” (823–877). The third set in the ongoing series includes designs from two chapters of French coinage: the “Louis d’Or,” a splendid gold coin that, when it was first issued, was widely replicated by other countries and states due to its practicality as well as its beauty; and “the Sower,” a widely admired allegorical design depicting Marianne, the female figure sowing seeds in a field that has represented the French Republic.
The obverse of the three coins in the set depicts Oscar Roty’s Sower design in a more contemporary setting, encircled by the 12 stars of the European flag. The feminine figure is framed with a heraldic representation of the French flag, with horizontal stripes for the colour blue, plain for the colour white, and vertical stripes for the colour red. The year of issue is divided, with two digits on each side of her legs. The mintmarks for the Monnaie de Paris and the engraving workshop are below under the Sower’s feet, with the initials RF (Republique Francaise) placed below her right arm.
The reverse design is a reference to the three major French kings, all named Louis, and symbols of their successful regimes when the Louis d’Or was in circulation. Louis XIII (1601–1643) is presented through the reverse and obverse of an original Louis d’Or, which was first struck during his reign. Louis XIV (1638–1715), the “Sun King,” is represented by his majestic bust on the right-hand side of the coin. Finally, Louis XV (1710–1774) is shown at lower left, leading the French troops to the Battle of Fontenoy—a famous French victory fought in May 1745, and source of the quote “Messieurs les Anglais, tirez les premiers” (English gentlemen, fire first). In the midst of these elements of the primary design is the denomination, 10, 50, or 100 euro.
|€10||.900 silver||22.2 g||37 mm||Proof||5,000|
|€50||.999 gold||7.78 g||22 mm||Proof||1,000|
|€100||.999 gold||15.55 g||31 mm||Proof||500|
The series launched in 2014 for the celebration of the 1,150th anniversary of the Monnaie de Paris introduces a new design during each of the next seven years to honor the most historically significant coins of France’s history. The designs are inspired by the coins without copying the designs exactly. The series seeks to be more a tribute to those currencies and coins that have strongly contributed to France’s political and economic evolution.
The first design, in 2014, honored the Charles II (“the Bald”) Denier of the high Middle Ages. It was followed in 2015 by the Franc à Cheval of the late Middle Ages; in 2016 by the Teston (the first heavy silver coin) of the Renaissance; and now, in 2017, by the 17th-century Louis d’Or. In 2018, the series will honor the French Revolutionary–era 6 Livres Ecu; in 2019, the First Empire’s Franc Germinal; and in 2020, Fifth Republic’s New Franc. The Launching date for the latest set is the 31st of January 2017. The issue years of the coins in this series will also coincide with important historical events, such as the end of the Franc, the abolition of the death penalty, the vote of the law defining secularism in France, the anniversary of the Fifth Republic, the anniversary of the European Court for Human Rights, and the anniversary of the New Franc.
For more information on these and other coins issued by the Monnaie de Paris, please visit their website.
This familiar design has been a part of French numismatic history for over a century. Originally, the Sower was designed by Oscar Roty (1846 – 1911) one of the most celebrated medallists of the Art Nouveau period for the Department of Agriculture’s medal in 1887 which was never issued. In 1896, when the French Minister for Finance Paul Doumer ordered new coins, Roty was included as one of the selected artists to submit designs and proposed a new version of the Sower which was eventually chosen and made its debut on circulating coins that same year. Initially, the design was to be issued on a five Franc piece but this denomination was not issued so the design appeared on circulating 2, 1 and ½ franc silver coins. Since 2002, this very design which was amended for use on five values of current French Euro circulation coins by the Monnaie de Paris has also been seen on many commemorative and collector coins. The Monnaie de Paris has brought back to light the figure of the Sower, by using the original drawing by Roty – applying a more contemporary setting.
The Louis D’Or
Considered one of Europe’s most beautiful Gold coins of its era, The Louis d’Or was created in 1640 under the reign of Louis XIII who ruled from 1610 to 1643. Louis XIII and his minister Claude de Bullion were eager to stabilise the currency and at the same time bring prestige to France in an effort to compete with Spanish and English coins. The mechanisation of the pendulum press was utilised to strike or mint the precious metal Louis d’Or resulting in a very precise and detailed coin with a sharp effigy of the King. The Louis d’Or gold coin was struck from 1640 to 1792, under the reign of Louis XIII, the coin weighed 6,75 grams and had a diameter of 25 mm. On the obverse of these coins was the effigy of profile face of the King turned slightly to the right with the Latin inscription LVD XIII D:G: FR ET NAV REX, meaning “Louis XIII, By the Grace of God King of France and of Navarre” The reverse included the King’s monogram, a cross created by four double “L” letters surmounted by a crown and separated by a fleur-de-lys. The inscription CHRS REGN VINC IMP is written, meaning “Christ reigns, conquers and commands”. The coin was eventually replaced with a series of coinage introduced after France’s revolution based on a metric system championed by Napoleon Bonaparte, later the Emperor Napoleon I which saw the Louis D’Or transition to its closest gold coin in weight and fineness, the 20 franc piece issued in 1802.