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1911 20 French Francs - Marianne Rooster 🇫🇷


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1911 20 French Francs - Marianne Rooster


I recently bought this 1911 20 gold French franc restrike to serve as my “lucky coin” during the coronavirus pandemic. I would like to think that the fair French maiden Marianne won’t allow the pandemic to deprive us all of our inalienable rights to life and personal liberty.

The obverse of the 1911 Marianne Rooster with a mintage of 5,346,044 by Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint) depicts a beautiful laureate right-facing bust of the French maiden Marianne. The oak-leaf wreath encircling Marianne’s conical Phrygian or liberty cap symbolises the strength of the legend République Française (French Republic) surrounding her bust. The Third Republic arose after the fall of Napoleon III because of the ill-fated Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and survived through World War II. The Marianne bust was designed by Jules-Clément Chaplain, a French sculptor, who was one of France’s finest medalists. With Louis-Oscar Roty he helped found the Art Nouveau movement. 

Marianne has been the national personification of the French Republic since the French Revolution, as the personification of its official motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity) and reason, and a portrayal of the Goddess of Liberty. Due to the high copper content, 90% gold and 10% copper, the Marianne Rooster like Marianne’s red Phrygian cap displayed in paintings takes on a distinctive golden reddish hue. The Marianne Roosters with only .900 gold fineness are not regarded as investment coins in the US which require a minimum level of .995 gold purity.

The French national motto, Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, surrounds the unofficial emblem of France, the left-facing Gallic Rooster (Le Coq Gaulois, Gallic Cockerel) strutting across a flowering meadow, struck with inverted die axis. The national motto is also a prominent part of the raised edge lettering of the franc. The 20 francs denomination flanks the cockerel’s legs with the date, 1911, below which is flanked by the privy marks of a torch and a cornucopia. At 21mm in diameter, the Marianne Rooster is approximately 1mm smaller than a 22.05mm British sovereign which is why the coin is encapsulated in a 21mm direct fit air-tite capsule which I had to order specifically from the US.


All dates from 1907-1914 have been officially restruck. They are not fakes, as officially minted with the original dies, but copies that were reminted 1921 and 1951-1960. Most collectors actually prefer the almost uncirculated restrikes to the worn circulated originals because they look sharper. The 1899-1906 originals can be differentiated from the restrikes by the raised edge inscription Dieu Protège la France (God Protect France).


Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix, 1830.

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