French Gold Coins.

France is a country rich in history and gold coins represent a large part of it. The first French franc was struck in 1360 as a gold coin. It was issued after King John was freed and depicted the King in armor seated on a horse. By 1643, francs stopped being used but they found a revival during the revolution in 1795, upon the introduction of the decimal system of currency.

Luxury, or specimen, coins are made in France and feature a high-quality finish that is better than the proof issue coins of other countries. Certain French coins are dated on the French Revolutionary Calendar system rather than the Gregorian system. The Revolutionary calendar is calculated from September 22, 1792, which was the date the first French Republic was established. On January 1, 1806, this calendar was abolished.

Denominations of French francs are: 5, 10, 20, 40, 50, 100,, and Napoleon Bonaparte coins. Those who buy gold coins will find different designs on each of these, based on the date of issue. Napoleon Bonaparte versions come in 20 and 40-franc denominations and are made from 0.900 fine gold. They were issued from 1803 to 1804 and then from 1810 through 1815, excluding 1814.

Napoleon Gold Coins.

The Napoleon is one Former French gold coin minted in denominations of five, ten, 20, 40, 50, and 100 francs. These coins were issued when Napoleon Bonaparte reigned during the French Revolution. Napoleon is best known for the wars that bore his name but coin collectors often make an association mainly with the 20-franc coin. This contained 5.801 grams of 90 percent pure gold.

Quick Fact

  • French roosters, compared to newer under 1 ounce gold rounds, are cheaper.
  • Usually available at a reasonable price (easily find them at/under spot) and help to bulk the gold stack up nicely. But for US / Canada stacking as you do I’d go for the liquidity of buffalos or eagles.
  • These little 20 Francs gold coins are the most popular, easy to buy and sell gold coins of all. The French 20 Francs gold coin comes in 5 different designs: Napoleon III tête nue (naked head), Napoleon III tête laurée (crowned with laurel), Genius (lucky angel), Marianne-Coq (rooster) and Ceres (Roman goddess) that you’ve presented.

This denomination of coin ceased being used after the 19th century. However, later 20-francs gold coins from France were often called “Napoleons.” The original Napoleon 20 franc had a diameter of 21 millimeters and weighed 6.45 grams. The original minting also featured the 40 francs, which was 26 millimeters in diameter, had a weight of 12.90 grams, and contained 90 percent pure gold.

A portrait of Napoleon I was featured on the coins, sometimes with a bare head and other times adorned by a laurel wreath. Based on the political status of France at the time of issue, the words Bonaparte- Premier Consul or Napoleon Empereur were included on the front. The back legend was Republique Francaise until 1809, “Empire Français” thereafter.

When they buy gold coins featuring Napoleon, some people wonder how the French republic could have had emperor rule. Napoleon took his understanding of being an emperor from Roman history. This resulted in an administrative body that was the most efficient and least democratic in history, barring possibly ancient Rome.

Napoleon coins were minted both within and outside of France. Mints in the Netherlands and Swiss and Italian territories were particularly well-known for producing these coins. The 20-franc Napoleon was first authorized in 1803 and became the model for Latin Union coins circulating within Europe until 1914. Those issued in 1807 feature a design determined during the absence of the leader and are considered a transitional issue.

Collectors and investors interested in a higher fineness should consider the 0.920 fine Monnaies de Luxe, which are the luxury coins described above. With a denomination of 100 francs, these have a 30-millimeter diameter, 17-gram weight, and 0.5028 gold content. The French franc with the highest gold content is the 100 denominations, which has a 0.900 fine gold content of 0.9355.

The most expensive face value coin of modern times was recently issued by France. The 1,000-euro gold coin features the Greek hero Hercules and two female figures symbolizing liberty and equality. Before their release, all 10,000 coins planned for production were sold, reflecting the high demand for gold in the current market.

By Alexandre Laurent

Alexandre Laurentl is working in the jewelry and investment gold since 2002. Alexandre graduated from The Normandy School of Business and from the University of Perpignan a Bachelor of economics in 1995.

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