The Monnaie de Paris has released their 2019-dated Europa Star set of coins which is part of an ongoing multi-national numismatic programme dedicated to highlighting the Ages of Europe, begun in 2016. This year’s theme focuses on the Renaissance, defined as a period in European history between the 14th and 17th centuries that led to the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity.
The Europa Star project is a unique numismatic programme that was first launched in 2004, bringing various European monetary institutions together around a common annual theme. Each of the coins in this series has the unique characteristic of being marked with a stylised “E” logo which resembles the euro symbol, along with a star. The programme was re-launched in 2016 and highlighted the Modern 20th century. With the re-launch in 2016 came two new features that include both a shared graphic motif for all of the national obverse sides and a thematic line defined over five years highlighting five eras in European history. After the Modern 20th century, the Age of Iron and Glass, and the Age of Baroque and Rococo, the programme now focuses on the Renaissance era.
The Renaissance is believed to have begun in the 14th century in Florence, Italy, under the influence and patronage of its dominant ruling family, the Medicis. Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, which focus on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time. Others hypothesise the growth of the movement was due to its political structure as well as the exodus of Greek scholars and texts from the Byzantine lands to Italy following the fall of Constantinople to the invading Ottomans. The Renaissance today is remembered and defined as having initiated revolutions in a variety of intellectual and artistic pursuits, most notably in social and political turmoil. The era is, of course, best-known for its artistic developments and the contributions of polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Their examples of excellence in a variety of pursuits would in time inspire the term “Renaissance man.”
The set of French Europa coins share the same design across the range of gold and silver options. The reverse highlights the Renaissance with three key symbols. The first is an image of Francois I, who is remembered as a prodigious patron of the arts who helped to initiate the French Renaissance by attracting many Italian artists to France, including Leonardo da Vinci. Along with the image of Francois I is the ultimate symbol of the Renaissance period in France, a portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, which is seen to the right half of the coin’s design. Leonardo da Vinci is depicted with two of his masterpieces, the Vitruvian Man and a rendition of his revolutionary flying machine. The lower half of the design depicts the Amboise Castle where da Vinci was laid to rest. Above the primary design is an inscription in stylised script that reads LEONARDO DA VINCI and 500 ANS. The denomination of the coins are seen just to the right of the profile of Francois I.
The structure of the obverse is common to all the countries in the Europa Star programme and displays a star as its primary feature, inspired by the logo. Centred is a representation of a front-facing image of the female allegorical figure of Marianne surrounded by the text REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE and EUROPE RENAISSANCE. The actual EUROPA logo is placed below the image of Marianne.
|10 euro||.900 Silver||22.2 g||37 mm||Proof||5,000|
|50 euro||.950 Silver||163.8 g||50 mm||Proof||250|
|Five euro||.999 Gold||0.5 g||11 mm||Proof||2,000|
|50 euro||.999 Gold||7.78 g||22 mm||Proof||500|
|200 euro||.999 Gold||31.1 g||37 mm||Proof||250|
Each coin across the range of options is available as a separate purchase and is presented in a custom MdP-branded case, along with a certificate of authenticity. For additional information about these coins and others available from the Monnaie de Paris, please visit their website.