World of Coins

Euro coins => New euro countries => Topic started by: gpimper on January 10, 2020, 09:49:12 PM

Title: 2 cents
Post by: gpimper on January 10, 2020, 09:49:12 PM
Little back story.  As I mentioned both the Wife and I served many years in the military but the Wife had never been to Europe having spent most of her time in the Pacific.  I spent a lot of time in Europe so for our 10th anniversary I took her to Paris, Nice and then down to Rome (18 days in all…if were up to me we would have spent 18 days in Rome!).  I’m guessing I picked this little one up in France.
Title: Re: 2 cents
Post by: brandm24 on January 11, 2020, 03:19:39 PM
I don't know a lot about the Euro coinage and haven't paid much attention to their designs. I do like this one and would be interested to know what or whom the portrait represents. I'm sure the coin has special meaning because of where and how you came across it. I have fond memories of some of my coins, especially the ones I still have from my father's collection.

I'm going to scroll through some of the threads on WoC dealing with Euro issues.It's time I got up to speed on them. Thanks for piquing my interest, Greg.

Title: Re: 2 cents
Post by: FosseWay on January 11, 2020, 04:22:29 PM
I have always presumed this is a representation of Marianne, the allegorical figurehead of the French Republic, and therefore the equivalent of Britannia on British coins and of the various representations of Liberty on South American coins. I can't immediately think of an equivalent that covers all the same nuances for the US, even away from coinage. Liberty as portrayed on the Statue of Liberty comes closest, but perhaps as a national personification, Uncle Sam is also relevant.
Title: Re: 2 cents
Post by: Figleaf on January 11, 2020, 04:25:50 PM
In fact, it is just as likely that you received this coin in Rome as in Nice or Paris.

Euro coin sides have a common side and a national side. The first picture shows the national side. This side is a sort of overblown mintmark. It shows where the coin was struck. Where it circulated is the business of the common side.

What you are looking at is a personification of France (Marianne) with RF at right. The letters stand for République Française, the official name of the country, as opposed to France, the name used informally and formally when France was a kingdom. Marianne ( is a woman with a history worth reading about.

Looking at Marianne from another angle, she originally had much in common with the rotund liberty figure on early US copper, notably the Phrygian hat. Compare also the statue in Jonzac in the link given above with the NY statue of liberty. In both countries, the personification remains in use - apart from Britannia a bit of a rarity. However, the French version was and remains a symbol of the French idea of beauty (which explains the often bare breasts), while the US version became a forceful and strident symbol. Compare the sowing Marianne with St. Gaudens' Liberty. This implied that whereas Marianne could change with fashion, changing Ms. Liberty could have been seen as a sign of weakness.

The version of Marianne that lasted longest was the design by Oscar Roty, La Semeuse. Introduced on coins and stamps before the first world war, it was given a new lease of life by president De Gaulle, when a new franc was introduced and he insisted that the white metal coins should carry the same image as the white metal coins of his youth: the reform was a return to normalcy to him. The lower values carried on with a head only.

At the introduction of the euro, both images were thoroughly modernised (again), becoming more abstract and expressive. Note in particular the lack of and incomplete detail, the implied movement, but also the shape of the stars, an attempt to create depth that doesn't come across very well on the small coins.

Title: Re: 2 cents
Post by: gpimper on January 11, 2020, 04:45:49 PM
So something like this...
Title: Re: 2 cents
Post by: Figleaf on January 11, 2020, 08:29:12 PM
Yes, that's De Gaulle's resurrection of Oscar Roty's (his signature is at 6 o'clock) design. Your coin is dated 1960, the first year of the new franc. I am attaching the design currently used on the intermediate euro coins (10, 20 50 cent) for comparison (borrowed from the ECB web page). I think the message of this design is: staying ourselves; moving with the times.