Author Topic: Nice French coin  (Read 5726 times)

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Offline tonyclayton

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Nice French coin
« on: July 07, 2009, 09:25:43 PM »
I thought I would demonstrate that I do have a few nice coins other than from Canada and the UK!

Here is a 1918 50 centimes of France
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 10:26:35 PM by coffeetime »

Online Figleaf

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2009, 10:41:00 PM »
First, some technical detail. This coin series was designed by Louis Oscar Roty (1846 - 1911), a French sculptor and medallist of the "art nouveau" style. Better known exponents of this style are Klimt (Austria), Lalique (France) and Gaudí (Spain).

The type was created by decree of 25th November 1897, with a weight of 2.5 grams, a diameter of 18 mm and a fineness of 0.835. A total of 357 million pieces were struck, of which 36.5 million dated 1918. It was withdrawn by law of 25th June 1928. The highest point on the obverse is Marianne's behind, where the folds in the dress should stand out clearly on unc coins.

By the end of 1914, the coins started to be in short supply as inflation, due to the first world war increased the price of silver (by that time, most prices in France were controlled). The government increased production, but to little avail. The coins were hoarded for their silver value. After peace broke out, the French, supported by he Belgians, theorized that "les boches payeront", the Germans would pay all war damage, so that France could go back to the gold standard and prices would go back to their pre-war level. This was a chimera that caused unspeakable damage. After 1919, production of the 50 centimes was scaled back and it was stopped in 1920. By that time, the Franc had lost 70% of its value since France left the gold standard in 1914. The successor to this type would be the Morlon type in base metal, first issued in 1931. The gap between 1920 and 1931 was filled with a long series of private tokens and the token-coins of the national chamber of commerce.

Yet, Roty's design got a new lease of life. On 1st January 1960, France introduced a new Franc, worth 100 old francs. At first, no pieces with a denomination of lower than 1 franc were struck, as their function was taken care of by old franc coins. As these were withdrawn, lower value coins were struck, including the nickel 1/2 Franc introduced in 1965.

Why were the old designs re-introduced? My guess is that it was a decision of Charles de Gaulle personally. He was born in 1890. The first world war started when he was 24. His parents must have hoarded the silver coins and commented favourably on them. They probably disliked the base metal coins, symbol of failure and inflation. In 1960, France was doing well again. In 1964, its economy overtook that of Great Britain, after trailing the British in GDP terms since the French revolution, 2 centuries earlier. Going back to the good coins of his boyhood must have been an almost logical move for "le Général".

Peter
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 12:12:25 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2009, 10:44:10 PM »
Good design, well preserved. :) Interesting that this "semeuse and olive twig" look was in use for such a long time: 20 years as "50 centimes" silver, and later another 35 years as "1/2 franc" nickel ...

(Edit) Peter, they did have a 50 centimes coin after the introduction of the nouveau franc. Brass, minted '62-'64 ... but apparently it was too big or heavy or both. Ah, the semeuse design looks better IMO.

Christian
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 10:47:43 PM by chrisild »

Online Figleaf

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2009, 12:11:16 AM »
You are right. I try to write in a compact way, so leave out many details. The brass 50 cents was indeed replaced because it was too large in the eyes of the French public. A few decades later, a 10 franc piece was rejected by the public for being too small. Say what you like about the French, but they complain well :)

Peter
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 12:13:55 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline a3v1

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2009, 09:52:43 AM »
The French 10, 20, and 50 eurocent coins are showing the "semeuse" too.
This (new) design was by Laurent Jorio, but each coin explicitly mentions "L.JORIO d'ap. O.ROTY" (d'ap. = d'après = after) So, the name of Louis Oscar Roty lingers on, even today.
Regards,
a3v1 
Over half a century of experience as a coin collector.
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Money is like body fat: If there's too much of it, it always is in the wrong places.

translateltd

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2009, 10:37:44 AM »
The (original) Semeuse - much nicer on silver than on nickel, I find; perhaps the softer precious metal takes up the detail of the design better than does the harder, cheaper stuff - needs to be displayed alongside the Walking Liberty on the 1916-47 US half dollar and the obverse of the 1907-33 St Gaudens gold $20.  They make a nice trio.



Online Figleaf

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2009, 11:14:47 AM »
Such wishes are easy to fulfill on the net.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Austrokiwi

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2009, 11:33:28 AM »
I thought I would demonstrate that I do have a few nice coins other than from Canada and the UK!

Here is a 1918 50 centimes of France

Its a nice piece........first time I have really ever looked at one. Immediately I was struck by De je vu; in reverse it turns out. I was sure I had seen another coin with a similar theme... so went and checked my reference books........

Michael Powolny ( I believe he was part of the Wiener Werkstaat group)  designed the 1946 Austrian 1 schilling piece. Although that coin was much later than the 50 centimes..... it has a very similar theme.  Michael Polowny as an artist transitioned from Jugendstil to the Austrian form of Art deco, and had been strongly influenced by the pre-war zietgiest ( which unfortunately included National Socialism). It seems around 1920 there was a focus on Powerful naturalness and Polownys 1946 design seems to have taken his inspiration for the sowing man ( as opposed to the 50 centimes sowing woman) from Albin Egger-Linz 1921 painting "The hand sowing man and the devil". It seems to me despite the date differences both coins are a result of the same artistic influences.

Figleaf: As I don't photos/scans of the 46 Schilling  do you?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 11:36:20 AM by Austrokiwi »

Online Figleaf

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2009, 12:03:09 PM »
Very nice counterpoint.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

translateltd

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2009, 12:08:57 PM »
Such wishes are easy to fulfill on the net.

Peter

Ugh - I didn't mean modern French rubbish in imitation of Roty!  How to spoil a nice trio in one easy lesson :-)

Online Figleaf

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2009, 12:26:13 PM »
That's wholly a question of taste. Keep in mind that France is no longer an agricultural country, as it was in the days of Roty. Therefore, I think the added movement, speed and energy are appropriate. Using an image from decades ago on an modern coin is no longer good form either (and I think this version has the best legs too ;) )

The modern treatment provides perspective to the subject. Here's some more. The semeuse is sacred enough in France to be used in a positive light, but on this postcard, protesting the second world war, the symbolism is wholly negative, which would be surprising, if not shocking to the French.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline tonyclayton

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2009, 03:33:25 PM »
I am delighted at the extensive and informative responses that the image of my old French coin stimulated.

translateltd

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2009, 11:14:37 PM »
Here's more what I had in mind, with no element of creative anachronism this time :-)  :



The coins arranged in chronological order of appearance.  I'm sure St. Gaudens and Weinman owed something of their design influence to Roty, though I think there must have been something in the air at the time, as my favourite incarnations of this next lady seem to show:



Check that billowing robe on the Weinman half-dollar in particular against the British florin and Trade Dollar.

« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 11:20:40 PM by Figleaf »

Offline bruce61813

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2009, 03:43:53 AM »
The US mint has revived the Walking Liberty and uses it on their 1 ounce silver rounds.

Bruce
« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 03:47:40 AM by bruce61813 »

Offline chrisild

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Re: Nice French coin
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2009, 08:31:50 AM »
And Roty's sower can be found on every euro collector coin in the Semeuse series. One side is always the same - see image below - , the other side varies from year to year. Note the colors (tinctures) - blue on the left, white in the middle, red on the right.



Christian