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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Medieval & Modern Coins| ▸ |France||View Options:  |  |  | 

Coins of France

During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 B.C., holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into East Francia, Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia, which became the Kingdom of France in 987, emerged as a major European power in the Middle Ages under King Philip Augustus. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world. The 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots). France became Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, establishing one of modern history's earliest republics and drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire. His subsequent Napoleonic Wars (1803?15) shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, and was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War. The Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s, with most retaining close economic and military connections with France.

France, Second Empire, Napoléon III, Defeat and Capture at Sedan 1870, Brass Medal

|Tokens,| |Medals| |&| |Exonumia|, |France,| |Second| |Empire,| |Napoléon| |III,| |Defeat| |and| |Capture| |at| |Sedan| |1870,| |Brass| |Medal||medal|
The Battle of Sedan was fought during the Franco-Prussian War, 19 July 1870 – 28 January 1871 (6 months, 1 week and 2 days). Bombarded from all sides for two days by German artillery and with all breakout attempts defeated, the French Army of Châlons capitulated on 2 September, with 104,000 men taken into German captivity along with 558 guns. Napoleon III was taken prisoner. The French government in Paris continued the war and proclaimed a Government of National Defense on 4 September. The German armies besieged Paris on 19 September. With Paris starving the French negotiated an armistice with the Prussians. The Prussian Army held a brief victory parade in Paris on 1 March, the city was silent and draped with black and the Germans quickly withdrew. The quick German victory over the French stunned neutral observers, many of whom had expected a French victory and most of whom had expected a long war.
WO110187. Brass medal, Collignon Guerre –, EF, scratches, weight 6.669 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 0o, 1870; obverse * NAPOLEON III EMPEREUR * clockwise above, SEDAN 1870 counterclockwise below, Persian soldier's head left, wearing Prussian pickelhaube (spiked helmet); reverse German Inscription: WER HÄTT',, / GEDACHT / DASS PREUSSENS,, / MACHT / MICH SO BEDACHT. (Who would have thought that Prussia makes me so fearful.) in five lines; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 920; ex J. Eric Engstrom Collection; ex Dr. Richard E. Dickerson Collection; ex Jess Peters, Inc auction 92 (10 Mar 1978), lot 615; ex Matthew van der Voort Collection; extremely rare, perhaps unique; $175.00 SALE PRICE $140.00
 


France, Revolution of 1848, Demonstration of 15 May 1848, Copper Medal

|Tokens,| |Medals| |&| |Exonumia|, |France,| |Revolution| |of| |1848,| |Demonstration| |of| |15| |May| |1848,| |Copper| |Medal||medal|
The French demonstration of 15 May 1848 was an event played out, mostly, in the streets of Paris. It was intended to reverse the results of a Second Republic election of deputies to the Constituent Assembly. It is difficult to say if this phenomenon should be called a demonstration, a riot, an invasion, a rebellion, or an attempted coup d'état. It seems to have been largely unplanned, not particularly bloody, and indisputably a failure.
WO110184. Copper medal, Collignon 2e Republique 369, EF, lustrous red surfaces, weight 4.673 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 0o, obverse REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE, Liberty standing slightly left, head left, scales in right hand, liberty cap on pole in left, sun above, three cannonballs on ground to left, anchor, chain and sword on ground right, 1848 in exergue; reverse ENVAHISSEMENT DE LA CHAMBRE (Invasion of the Chamber) clockwise above, 15 MAI 1848 counterclockwise below, ET DE/ L'HOTEL / DE VILLE (and of the town hall) in three lines, liberty cap above, crossed daggers below; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 912; ex J. Eric Engstrom Collection; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
 


France, Revolution of 1848, Copper Medal

|Tokens,| |Medals| |&| |Exonumia|, |France,| |Revolution| |of| |1848,| |Copper| |Medal||medal|
The Revolutions of 1848, known as the Springtime of the Peoples or the Springtime of Nations, is the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history. The revolutions, essentially democratic and liberal, began in France in February and spread to over 50 countries. There was no significant coordination or cooperation among their respective revolutionaries. Major contributing factors were dissatisfaction with political leadership, demands for more participation in government and democracy, demands for freedom of the press, working class demands for economic rights, the upsurge of nationalism, and the European Potato Failure, which triggered mass starvation, migration, and civil unrest. The French Revolution of 1848 ended the constitutional monarchy of Louis-Philippe, and led to the creation of the French Second Republic. In Britain, there was no revolution in 1848, only a peaceful petition to Parliament. This medal commemorates the visit of the French National Guards to the City of London on 20 September 1848.
WO110181. Copper medal, Collignon 2e Republique 812; Saulcy 1848 -, EF, toned red surfaces, weight 17.277 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 0o, 1948; obverse CONCORDE ET FRATERNITÉ, banner set on tree; to left, ribbon on pole inscribed 20 / 7BER; cornucopia on its side and rising sun to right; banner on garlanded poll to left; 1848 in exergue, all within thin rope garland closed with floral arrangement below; reverse VISITÈ ALA / CITÉ D LONDRES / PAR LES GARDES / NATIONAUX FRANÇAIS / SEPTEMBRE / 1848. in six lines within wreath, tiny FAUCIL (engraver) 1948 below; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 913; ex J. Eric Engstrom Collection; $125.00 SALE PRICE $100.00
 


France, Revolution of 1848, Francois-Vincent Raspail, Bronze Medal

|Tokens,| |Medals| |&| |Exonumia|, |France,| |Revolution| |of| |1848,| |Francois-Vincent| |Raspail,| |Bronze| |Medal||medal|
François-Vincent Raspail, L.L.D., M.D. (25 Jan 1794 – 7 Jan 1878) was a French chemist, naturalist, physician, physiologist, attorney, and socialist politician. Raspail was one of the founders of the cell theory in biology. After the revolution of 1830, he became involved in politics. He was President of the Human Rights Society, and was imprisoned for that role. While in prison, he tended sick inmates and studied their diseases. In 1848, he founded a newspaper "L'ami du Peuple" and ran for President of the Second Republic, losing to Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (later Napoleon III). He was imprisoned again after participating in attempted revolts in May 1848 and March 1849. In 1853, Napoleon III commuted his sentence of imprisonment to exile. He returned to France from exile in 1862. In 1869 he was elected deputy from Lyon and in 1875 from Marseille. He remained popular and respected during the French Third Republic. The longest boulevard in Paris was named Boulevard Raspail in his honor, after which the Raspail Métro station takes its name. This type was struck in silver, brass and copper.
WO99713. Brass medal, Collignon 777; Saulcy 1848 pl. 23, 5, UNC, mirror shine to fields, stains, weight 8.050 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 0o, after 1848; obverse FRANCOIS RASPAIL NE EN 1794 (born in 1794), bust of François Raspail facing slightly left; reverse PRESIDENT DU CLUB MONTESQUIEU (a human rights society), ELU / REPRESENTANT / DU PEUPLE / LE 21 7bre / 1848 / DETENU AU FORT / DE / VINCENNES in eight lines (elected representative of the people, on February 21 1848, detained at the fort of Vincennes); ex J. Eric Engstrom Collection; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
 


France, Revolution of 1848, Lead Medal

|Tokens,| |Medals| |&| |Exonumia|, |France,| |Revolution| |of| |1848,| |Lead| |Medal||medal|
The reverse inscription translates, "MAY 15, 1848 / THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY / WAS INVADED / BY FACTIOUS / THE NATIONAL GUARD / RISE UP IN MASS / AS ONE MAN / AND SAVED FRANCE / FROM ANARCHY / THE RECOGNIZED HOMELAND." The 1848 "February Revolution" in France was driven by nationalist and republican ideals of the French public and sparked by the suppression of the campagne des banquets (political meetings). It ended the constitutional monarchy of Louis-Philippe, and led to the creation of the French Second Republic. After an interim period, Louis-Napoleon, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was elected as president. In 1852, he staged a coup d'état and established himself as a dictatorial emperor of the Second French Empire.
WO110182. Lead medal, Collignon 2e Republique 367, Saulcy 1848 -, aEF, weight 6.005 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 0o, France, Colmar mint, 24 Oct 1848; obverse REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE, liberty cap on fasces within oak wreath; reverse LE 15 MAI 1848 --- L'ASEMBLÉE NATIONALE / A ETÉ ENVAHIE / PAR DES FACTIEUX / LE GARDE NATIONALE / S'EST LEVÉE EN MASSE / COMME UN SEUL HOMME/ ET A SAUVÉ LA FRANCE / DE L'ANARCHIE --- LA PATRIE / RECONNAISSNATE in 11 lines; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 911; ex J. Eric Engstrom Collection; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
 


France, Second Empire, Marshal Aimable Pélissier, Taking of Sebastopol, 9 September 1855, Brass Medallet

|Tokens,| |Medals| |&| |Exonumia|, |France,| |Second| |Empire,| |Marshal| |Aimable| |Pélissier,| |Taking| |of| |Sebastopol,| |9| |September| |1855,| |Brass| |Medallet||medal|
Aimable-Jean-Jacques Pélissier commanded the French forces in the Crimean War. His command was marked by relentless pressure of the enemy and unalterable determination to conduct the campaign without interference from Paris. His perseverance was crowned with success in the storming of the Tower of Malakoff on 8 September 1855 which ended the Siege of Sebastopol, crowning the Anglo-French Crimean War against Russia with victory. On the 12th he was promoted to marshal. On his return to Paris he was named senator, created Duke of Malakoff and rewarded with a grant of 100,000 francs per annum.
WO110183. Brass medal, Collignon -, EF, minor edge nicks, areas of weak strike, a few hairlines and marks; loop and ring for suspension, weight 4.762 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1855; obverse LE MARECHAL PELISSIER, uniformed bust left; reverse HONNEUR A NOTRE ARMÉE ET SES ALLIEES (Honor to our army and its allies), figure standing atop captured ramparts, holding saber and French flag; PRISE / DE / SÉBASTOPOL / 9 7BRE 1855. (capture of Sebastopol 9 September 1855) below in four lines; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 919; ex J. Eric Engstrom Collection; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
 


France, Revolution of 1848, Anniversary of the Return of Alsace, Silvered Lead Medal

|Tokens,| |Medals| |&| |Exonumia|, |France,| |Revolution| |of| |1848,| |Anniversary| |of| |the| |Return| |of| |Alsace,| |Silvered| |Lead| |Medal||medal|
This type of silvered lead medal was struck in Colmar on the bicentennial anniversary of the reunion of Alsace with France, 24 October 1884. Félicien de Saulcy notes they were struck in a carriage in the anniversary procession, the press was powered by a walking sheep, and the medals were immediately distributed to the crowd on the street as souvenirs.
WO110185. Silvered lead medal, Collignon 2e Republique 805; Saulcy 1848 pl. LII, 8, VF, weight 5.556 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 0o, issued on the 200th anniversary, 24 Oct 1884; obverse ALSACE RÉUNIE À LA FRANCE • (Alsace reunited with France), legend around 1648; reverse LIBERTÉ EGALITÉ FRATERNITÉ • (Liberty, equality, fraternity), column, 1848 below; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 914; ex J. Eric Engstrom Collection; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
 


France, Second Republic, 1848 - 1852, Bronze Medal, 1848

|France|, |France,| |Second| |Republic,| |1848| |-| |1852,| |Bronze| |Medal,| |1848||medal|
The French Second Republic was the republican government of France between 1848 and 1852. The cross of hands on the obverse symbolizes faith and justice. The level on the base of the pedestal symbolizes equality. The oak wreath symbolizes wisdom (from ancient Greek mythology - Zeus made decisions while resting in an oak grove). Click here to see the Musée Carnavalet Histoire de Paris specimen.
WO99704. Copper medal, Musée Carnavalet Histoire de Paris ND5353, UNC, weight 16.989 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, die axis 0o, 1848; obverse REPUBLIQUE - FRANCAISE, pedestal inscribed LIBERTA' UGUAGLIANZA FRATERNITA (liberty, equality, fraternity) in 3 lines, level, on base, globe on top, 4r flags, palm and sword behind, cross of hands above, 1848 in exergue, A GARNIER (engraver) in tiny letters below; reverse COMPAGNIE DU PALAIS NATIONAL arching above inscription in eight lines, LA / 2ME LEGION / DE PARIS / A LA VILLE D'EVREUX / EN SOUVENIR DE / L'ACCEUIL FRATERNEL / QUELLE RECUT LE 28 MAI 1848 (the 2nd legion of Paris in the city of Evreux in memory of the brotherly welcome it received on 28 May 1848), all within oak leaf wreath; From the J. Eric Engstrom Collection; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00
 


Monnaies Romaines, Francaises and Antiques, 2 Auction Catalogs, Hotel Drouot Paris, 1975

|70%+| |Off| |Auction| |Catalogs|, |Monnaies| || |Romaines,| |Francaises| |and| |Antiques,| |2| |Auction| |Catalogs,| |Hotel| |Drouot| |Paris,| |1975|
Collection of Roman bronze, French coins in Gold and Silver, and ancient silver coins. Held 23 April and 11 June, 1975. Maitres Albinet and Neret-Minet, commissioners, assisted by Madame L. Piollet-Sabatier, expert.
BL23672. Monnaies Romaines, Francaises and Antiques, 2 Auction Catalogs, Hotel Drouot Paris, 1975, in French, soft cover, small booklet style, age and cover wear, musty, international shipping at the actual cost of postage; $8.00 SALE PRICE $2.40
 







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