France: Year 4 of Popular “7 Arts” Series Features New Coins Honoring Actor/Director Jean Gabin


On November 27, the Monnaie de Paris launched their latest coins in the very popular and contemporary series entitled “The 7 Arts,” which encompasses seven media of artistic expression. This set of coins, the fourth in a seven-year series, is dedicated to cinema. In this category the coins feature famed actor and director Jean Gabin (1904–1976), renowned the world over for such works as La Grande Illusion and Gueule d’Amour.

Jean-Alexis-Gabin Moncorgé was born in Paris in 1904 into a family already involved in the arts, since his father was an actor and his mother a singer. Due to the travels and obligations of his parents, Jean was raised in the countryside by his mother’s older sister. At 18, he entered the world of show business when he appeared onstage at the Folies Bergères just before his obligatory military service. It was in 1928 that he found his niche in the world of cinematography when he took his first steps in front of the camera. He appeared in famous French films films such as La Grande Illusion, Gueule d’Amour with Mireille Balin (1937), Le Quai des Brumes with Michèle Morgan, La Bête Humaine (1938), and Le Jour se Lève (1939).

In September 1939, Gabin, like many other young men in France’s military reserves, was mobilized as a result of war with the Third Reich and Hitler. Gabin found himself in an unenviable situation when, in February 1941, after demobilization and under the Nazi occupation of Paris, he refused to take part in cinema production for the occupying forces. He left the country for the United States, where he was able to take part in the production of two films. In 1943, Gabin enlisted in the Forces Françaises Libres and was presented with the Médaille Militaire and the Croix de Guerre for his military contribution.

Gabin was able to direct many films before he passed away in 1976. He is also remembered for his collaborations with notables such as Michel Audiard, Louis de Funès, Bourvil, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Alain Delon. He had the distinction of being among some of those French actors who have attracted the largest number of viewers in cinemas, which is recorded at about 161 million cinemagoers between 1946 and 1976. This coin is also being issued as recognition of the 40th anniversary of the death of Gabin.


The coins, one gold version and one silver, are designed by fashion icon Christian Lacroix. The obverse depictions Jean Gabin in profile against a background composedof film tape, representing the fourth art, cinema. The text includes Gabin’s name and the face value.


The reverse depicts a steam locomotive in the foreground and, in the background, the Paris-Saint-Lazare Station—the famous place where part of the movie La Bête Humaine takes place. The Pacific 231 steam locomotive is the Lison, driven by Gabin’s character, Jacques Lantier, in the film. At upper right are the year 2016 and the inscription of the fourth art, Le Cinéma.

Denomination Metal Weight Diameter Quality Mintage Limit
€10 .900 silver  22.2 g 37 mm Proof 5,000
€50 .920 gold 8.45 g 22 mm Proof 500

The coins are available from December 5 as separate purchases. Each is presented in a branded MdP custom case with certificate of authenticity. For more information on this and other coins offered by the Monnaie de Paris, please visit their website.

Since 2010, Christian Lacroix has served as the artistic advisor to the Monnaie de Paris. He has designed the coin series featuring French kings and heads of state as well as the “7 Arts” series. He was also part of the stage design of an exhibition in Bordeaux, co-organized by Monnaie de Paris and the Museum for Decorative Arts in Bordeaux in 2013. From the first coin in this series, Mr. Lacroix created a pattern for each side of the coin: on the obverse, a drawing of the artist’s face, over a texturized background, with the artist’s name and the face value. On the reverse, a mixture of various symbols of the year’s theme, the year date, the mintmarks, and the name of the celebrated art.   ❑

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  1. Ernesto says

    I like the reverse train design. The obverse design looks like Gabin got punched in the face and he’s reeling. That’s why his hair is messed up lol

  2. M Alexander says

    Hello Ernesto,

    I also think the reverse design is going to be popular with collectors, trains are often one of those designs which is sought after – myself as well. The obverse designs are supposed to have a degree of resemblance since the artist is one & the same and this coin is part of an overall series – let’s see if it proves popular with those who have added the earlier coins to their collection.

  3. Ernesto says

    Hi M Alxander,

    Definitely understand about the resemblance. I don’t know anything about Gabin so there may be times when he’s looked liked that. I have purchased the previous coins in the series so I might end up getting this one was well. More for the train design than the Gabin portrait. What I haven’t liked in the previous coins is that the box it comes in is huge compared to the coin it’s housing. I understand that there were “artistic” reasons why it was done but I think you could have had a similar effect with a smaller box. Just my opinion of course 🙂

  4. M Alexander says

    Hello Ernesto,

    I’ll have to have a look at the packaging – recently its been brought to my attention that some Mints pay alot of attention to their packaging and presentation – while others don’t do so as much and for a growing number of collectors and buyers who give coins as special gifts, this aspect of the product is under scrutiny more than previously.

    I myself was a big fan of the Royal Danish Mint who used to sell their silver 200 & 500 Kroner coins in a capsule with certificate… encased in a small zip-lock plastic bag imprinted with a little crown on one side, not much bigger than the certificate – for me, the coin was everything – the box was always secondary 🙂


    Yes, for that matter even Czech and Kremnica Mint do very minimalistic work as far as packaging is concerned though they Mint some of the best coins ..


    Even Hungarian Mint doesn’t lose too much sleep on packaging though they Mint some very pieces. This year 70 years of forint, 150 years of Budapest zoo and the largest silver coin minted by them with face value of 20,000 forints have exceptional design

  7. M Alexander says

    Hello Mahesh,

    The nice thing about the Hungarian Mint is you can order a separate box for the coin – at an additional cost but for many collectors, the presentation cases are not why they buy the coin – for others, its a big part of the overall item.

    I’m very undecided with regard to the packaging, if the coin is a gift, the box makes all the difference… and I know many Mints are looking at the gift-giving market these days. If the coin is for myself, 9 times out of ten, the coin will be sealed in a coin flip and be stored in my boxes or albums to join their other previously issued coins.

    I’d like to hear from other readers on where they stand on presentation boxes. Recently, I publicised a new coin product and one potential distributor mentioned the exceptional box – which surprised me a bit but it was nice to hear positive comments for the coin series. The coins are selling well so, the box might have had something to do with it 🙂

    M Alexander

  8. Ernesto says

    M Alexander,

    Most of the non bullion coins I buy come with a box. As long as the box isn’t overly large I don’t mind it. But in the end it all comes down to personal taste. Some people may like the larger boxes. For me, as a collector, I take the size into consideration because I’ll be storing all of these items and rather not run out of space too quickly lol

  9. M Alexander says

    Hello Ernesto,

    Storage – yes…

    My file cabinet full of presentation cases and gift boxes can attest to storage limitations and the need to make sure the boxes which the coin is placed in aren’t too big – I know of few collectors who display their collection in cabinets these days so I don’t think I’m alone when the two are separated and the coin is diligently put into a storage box or album – which was why I was a big fan of the Royal Danish Mint’s practise of minimal packaging and other Mints who offer their branded box as an additional purchase. That makes good sense to me, but for those who put the coin on the secondary market, the box make all the difference.

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