20 Francs Gold CoinHome >> World Gold Coins >> French Gold Coins
|Gold content:||0.1867 oz|
French 20 Francs Gold Coin was first minted for Napoleon I in 1804. The colloquial name of the coin was not surprisingly the Napoleon and there were also the Half Napoleon (10 Francs) and the Double Napoleon (40 Francs) coins, but former hadn't appeared until 1850s and it was less often referred as "the Napoleon", comparing to 40 Francs that first appeared at the time as 20 Francs coin. The 20 Francs gold coin was minted for circulation in France until 1914 and it was called the Napoleon all the time of its existence, long time after the time of Napoleon Bonaparte had passed.
The 20 Francs gold coin was issued for little over 100 years, but as the political system of France was very volatile and fast changing in the 19th century, so did the number of coin types minted for circulation. More precisely, there're about 20 odd different types of the 20 Francs gold coin, but they can be narrowed down to a few major types, which are listed below.
The first type of course is the original Napoleon and all coins minted under Napoleon Bonaparte, making it from 1804 to 1815. There're a few interesting things about these coins. The first one, you may find dating on the coins from 1804 to 1806 a bit confusing as they were using the French Revolution calendar started in 1793. So, instead of 1804 or 1805, you'll see AN XI or AN 13. Another interesting fact about coins of that period is legends. It's still not clear how progressive and freedom-loving French people could accept that the "Republic of France" is ruled by an Emperor – and that's what they had on their coins. As for the coin types, they're several types of Napoleon heads including laureate or bare heads. If you're into Napoleon gold coins, you can see current listings for them here.
The next type is the 20 Francs gold coin minted under Louis XVIII, who was a king of France from 1814 until his death in 1824 with a short break in 1815 for a famous Hundred Days when Napoleon Bonaparte made an attempt to take the rule of France in his hands again. They're two main types of the gold coins for that period, one for the short restoration in 1814 and then from 1815 to 1824.
You can see current listings for 20 Francs Gold Coins below and there is more information about this coin after the current listings (scroll down):
More information on French 50 Francs Gold Coin:
Louis XVIII was succeeded by Charles X, who ruled France from 1825 to 1830, until the July Revolution of 1830, when he abdicated the throne in favour of his 10-year old grandson Henri, but 11 days later Louis Philippe was proclaimed the French king. There was only one major type of the 20 Francs gold coin minted under Charles X.
Louis Philippe was ruling France from 1830 to 1848, and he assumed the title of King of French, linking the monarchy to the French people, rather than to a territory (the previous title was King of France and Navarra). Louis Philippe abdicated the throne in 1848 during the February Revolution, in favour of his 9-year old grandson Philippe and escaped himself to England. There were two types of the 20 Francs gold coin, including bare and laureate heads.
The next type of the 20 Francs gold coin is the "Lucky Angel". The 20 Francs Gold Angel was minted during two separate periods, one was from 1848 to 1849 and another one from 1874 to 1899. The coin is depicting Genie (a Guarding Angel) writing the Constitution. An interesting fact about this coin is that many French soldiers during the wartime had one in their pockets as a talisman, believing that the Guarding Angel on the coin would protect them as well. You can have a look at current listings for 20 Francs Gold Angel coins here.
After installing the Second Republic in 1848 and after the "Lucky Angels" were struck, there was a short period from 1849 to 1851 when another type of 20 Francs gold coin was minted. This one was featuring the Liberty head, which is more known as Cérès in France.
The period from 1852 to 1870 was the time for another Napoleon. Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was elected first as a President, who claimed himself a few years later President for Life and then Emperor Napoleon III. There're three different types of coin varying in the head of the Napoleon III (bare or laureate) and the legend saying either "Republic of France" or "French Empire". You can have a look here for current listings of the Napoleon gold coins.
The last type of the 20 Francs gold coin was the gold Rooster. The coin was minted from 1899 to 1914, featuring the Liberty Head on the obverse and the French Rooster on the reverse of the coin. You can have a look at current listings for 20 Francs Gold Rooster here.
There were a few issues of 20 Francs gold coins minted in the middle of the 20th century, but we decided not to include them in the list above but just mention about their existence as they were issued with very little mintage, and being commemorative coins, they were not falling into the same category of coins listed above in our understanding.