Jacques-Jean Barre was a French artist born in Paris on August 3, 1793, and died in the same city on June 10, 1855. He was the Chief Engraver of Coins at the Monnaie de Paris from 1843 to 1855 and is known for creating the Great Seal of France as well as the first two series of French postage stamps. Jacques-Jean Barre began working as an engraver’s assistant at the Monnaie de Paris around 1810. After the death of Nicolas-Pierre Tiolier in 1842, Barre succeeded him as Chief Engraver of Coins. He was commissioned by King Louis-Philippe I to make numerous medallion portraits of the royal family.
During the Second Republic, Jacques-Jean Barre was commissioned to design and oversee the engraving of the 500 and 1,000 franc banknotes of the 1842 type. He also created the matrix for the new Great Seal of the Republic and that of the National Assembly in 1848. He designed and engraved the first French postage stamps depicting Ceres and Napoleon III (Presidency and Empire).
Jacques-Jean Barre also engraved the 5 and 1 franc coins depicting Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte for the short republican period before the coup d’état of December 2, 1851. After the proclamation of the Empire in 1852, he engraved the same coins with the legend “French Empire” and “Napoleon III Emperor”. He also engraved the 1 and 2 centime coins for Switzerland that were struck from 1850 to 1946.
Jacques-Jean Barre resigned from his position in 1855 due to his illness. His younger son, Désiré-Albert Barre, succeeded him as Chief Engraver of Coins. His elder son, Jean-Auguste Barre, became Chief Engraver of Coins under the Third Republic but only held the position for one year.