A classic French coin design continues to honor other classic French
The Monnaie de Paris on Jan. 31 will issue the 2017 version of its
The Sower has been a pattern in French numismatic history for over a
century. Originally, the Sower was designed by Oscar Roty for a
Department of Agriculture medal in 1887. In 1896, when the French
Minister for Finance Paul Doumer ordered new coins, Roty was one of
the selected artists and proposed a new version of the Sower.
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It appeared for the first time on circulating coins, but since 2002,
the Sower has been revisited by Monnaie de Paris on a series of
collector coins, with several subsets.
A current subset in the series honors classic French coins, and has
done so with annual issues since 2014, to coincide with the French
Mint’s 1,150th anniversary.
The 2017 coin, honoring the gold louis d’or, marks the halfway point
in the seven-year series honoring France’s most historically
The designs draw inspiration from the classic coins without being a carbon-copy.
Inspiration for 2017 coin
The louis d’or was created in 1640 under the reign of Louis XIII,
which was from 1610 to 1643. Louis XIII and his minister Claude de
Bullion were willing to stabilize the currency and bring prestige to
France in order to compete with Spanish and English coins.
The louis d’or was struck from 1640 to 1792. Under Louis XIII, the
louis d’or weighed 6.75 grams and had a diameter of 25 millimeters.
On the obverse of the louis d’or struck under Louis XIII, the face
of the king is turned slightly to the right with the Latin inscription
LVD XIII DG - FR ET NAV REX, meaning “Louis XIII, King of France and
of Navarre thanks to the grace of God.” The old coin’s reverse
presents a monogram: a cross created by four double Ls surmounted by a
crown and separated by a fleur-de-lys.”
The 2017 coin’s reverse design refers to three major French kings
named Louis, with symbols of the successful old regimes, including a
modern interpretation of the classic louis d’or design.
The 2017 coin’s obverse depicts Roty’s Sower in a more contemporary
setting, encircled by the 12 stars of the European flag. The feminine
figure is framed with a heraldic French flag (horizontal stripes for
the color blue, plain for the color white, vertical stripes for the
color red). The year date splits to flank the figure.
The 2017 Sower design coins in the series have been released in
three versions, one silver and two gold coins.
The Proof .900 fine silver €10 piece weighs 22.2 grams and measures
37 millimeters in diameter.
Two Proof gold versions are available, and beginning in 2017 these
coins are now struck in pure (.999 fine) gold. The quarter-ounce €50
coin measures 22 millimeters in diameter, and the half-ounce gold €100
coin measures 31 millimeters in diameter.
The silver coin has a mintage limit of 5,000 pieces and retails for €55.
The gold €50 coin is limited to a mintage of 1,000 pieces and
retails for €495.
The €100 coin has a mintage limit of 500 pieces and retails for €1,060.
To order or for more details about these coins, visit the Monnaie de