The Monnaie de Paris have launched (20th January) a new set of coins that feature a modern rendition of Marianne, the female allegory of France. Since 1877, Marianne has had place of honour in official buildings throughout cities and towns of the French Republic. Her profile appears on official documents, on many definitive postage stamps, and on many banknotes from France’s legacy currency, the franc. This latest coin trilogy is part of an overall series first initiated in 2008 by the Monnaie de Paris as part of a programme to honour classic numismatic symbols by creating newer, contemporary versions of past numismatic styles or designs.
It all began with the 2008–2010 reinterpretation of Oscar Roty’s kinetic and original “the Sower.” This set was followed in 2011 to 2013 with Augustin Dupré’s incomparable motif of “Hercules” surrounded by Liberty and Equality. More recently, from 2014 to 2016 appeared “the Rooster”—a design inspired from original drawings by Jules-Clément Chaplain. Starting in 2017, Marianne is highlighted for the next three years. In 2017, she illustrates Liberty. In 2018, she will embody Equality, and in 2019, Fraternity. She is a strong numismatic symbol that has been present on French coinage since 1795. She represents a passionate nation. She is a warrior, the persona of peace, a nurturing mother and protector. She embodies Liberty, a concept greatly treasured in France.
The obverse of coin is designed by well-known medallic artist Joaquin Jimenez, who has been long associated with the Monnaie de Paris. A stylised portrait of Marianne is depicted, with contemporary accents. Shown in profile, she embodies the “Liberty” motto. She is wearing a Phrygian cap and a heraldic cockade that represents the three colours of the French flag, along with a crown of oak and olive sprigs as a reference to strength, on the one hand, and to peace, victory, and fertility, on the other. Liberty is symbolised by the “L” of the word Liberté, which turns into a flight of birds that land in the cockade, a strong symbol of the Republic that thereby becomes a space of Liberty. To the right of Marianne, the year of issue is seen.
The reverse shows the face value surrounded by two branches (oak and laurel) that evoke the euro symbol. The entire reverse motif is framed in a hexagonal design representing the stylised geopolitical shape of France.
|€20||.900 silver||18 g||33 mm||Uncirculated||100,000|
|€20||.900 silver||18 g||33 mm||Proof||10,000|
|€100||.900 silver||50 g||47 mm||Brilliant Unc.||15,000|
|€250||.999 gold||3.75 g||23 mm||Brilliant Unc.||500|
|€1,000||.999 gold||tba||tba||Brilliant Unc.||10,000|
|€5,000||.999 gold||tba||tba||Brilliant Unc.||2,000|
The launch date for the silver issues and the €250 gold coin was the 24th January, while the launch date for the €1,000 and €5,000 gold pieces will be the 30th May 2017. Each piece is presented in a custom case and accompanied with certificate of authenticity. The purchase price for all examples, with the exception of the Proof version €20 silver coin, will be their face value. For more information on these and other coins offered by the Monnaie de Paris, please visit their website.
Marianne has been a timeless symbol since the French Revolution, in which she was borne in 1789 in answer to the autocratic regime of King Louis XVI. The allegorical figure of Liberty, it was hoped, would come to be recognised as the purest representation of the passion of the new French Republic. A warrior, a peaceful person, and a nurturing mother and protector, Marianne was portrayed wearing a simple Phrygian cap—which in itself embodied Liberty to the common man. She appeared for the first time on the 5 centimes created by Augustin Dupré in 1795 during the Convention—that is, between the First Republic and the soon-to-come First Empire of Napoleon I. Among the many regimes of French history she has been represented in many versions and occasions. She has carried different names, like La République or Cérès, but has always represented the French nation and its values. When the New Franc emerged in 1960, she was chosen for the obverse of the 5-, 10-, 20-, and 50-centime coins (the latter was replaced in 1965 in favour of a new half-franc coin) in a contemporary and aesthetic design by French sculptor Henri Lagriffoul. During the adoption of the euro, she was chosen to be one of the French coin symbols of the new currency (along with the Tree and the Sower). She is represented on the obverse of the copper 1, 2, and 5 euro-cents. ❑