Editor's note: this is the first part of a series about the intersection, influence and imitation between American and world coins. The story originally appeared in the February monthly edition of Coin World.
No art is created in a vacuum, and as with art, no coins are made in a vacuum.
World coins have exerted a profound effect on American coins and, likewise, American coins have influenced their worldly brethren.
This influence is seen from the French Libertas Americana medal to the seated allegory of Britannia and the confident striding Sower, and in reflections from numerous points across the globe. Here’s a quick review of three of the most fascinating intersections, imitations and inspirations between world and American coins.
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French from the beginning
That America and France owe much to each other is no surprise to the casual historian.
From their role in the American Revolution and the gift of the Statue of Liberty, the French created bonds of friendship that Americans later repaid in the battlefields of Marne and the Argonne, to the beaches of Normandy and beyond.
But America’s debt to France and France’s debt to America also include the early coinage issued during the 1790s.
The early coinage of the United States was widely influenced by the famous 1782 Libertas Americana medal, which was created with the intervention of the great American Francophile, Benjamin Franklin.