World Coins

French Mint issues Libertas Americana silver, gold commemoratives

The Monnaie de Paris has issued six commemorative coins honoring the Libertas Americana medal, including this gold €50 coin.

Images courtesy of the Monnaie de Paris.

Asked whether the famed Libertas Americana medal was French or American, your answer may well be “yes.”

The medal is considered a classic of American numismatics but originated in France. Now, six 2023 coins from the Monnaie de Paris reproduce the medal’s inspirational and intriguing designs, but for the 2023 coins, the medal’s obverse design is on the reverse, and the reverse of the medal forms the coins’ obverse.

The coins form the 2023 entry in the Monnaie de Paris’ series being issued annually since 2020 to mark the history of the United States of America’s pursuit of independence.

Design description

Aside from the 2023 year date, the denominational markings, and a few other inscriptions, the 2023 coins replicate the medal’s designs, albeit with the reversal of obverse and reverse.

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin commissioned the Libertas Americana medal to mark the new nation’s victories against the British in battles at Saratoga and Yorktown. At the time, Franklin was serving as the United States’ minister to France; without French military and naval support against the British, victory may not have been possible.

The battles were fought almost exactly four years apart, Saratoga occurring on Oct. 17, 1777, and Yorktown on Oct. 19, 1781.

Both dates appear on the medal’s reverse while America’s Independence Day, July 4, 1776, appears on its obverse.

Designed by French artist Esprit-Antoine Gibelin and sculpted by Augustin Dupre, the medal’s obverse depicts Lady Liberty with her hair flowing in the wind alongside a freedom cap on a pole.

The medal’s reverse depicts an infant strangling two serpents, a call back to the myth of Hercules and also representing the twin battles of Saratoga and Yorktown. Alongside the child, the goddess Minerva keeps a lion at bay, symbolizing France’s assistance in fighting the British.

Specifications, pricing

A Proof .999 fine silver €20 coin weighs 31.1 grams and measures 37 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage of 3,000 pieces priced at €117 each.

An Antique Finish .999 fine silver €25 coin weighs 62.21 grams and measures 41 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 2,000 pieces and retails for €245.

An Antique Finish .999 fine silver €250 coin weighs 500 grams and measures 85 millimeters in diameter. With a mintage limit of 250 pieces, it retails for €1,930.

A Proof .999 fine gold €50 coin weighs 7.78 grams and measures 22 millimeters in diameter. Its mintage limit is 500 pieces, retailing for €739 each.

An Antique Finish .999 fine gold €200 coin weighs 31.1 grams and measures 34 millimeters in diameter. Its mintage limit is 500 pieces, retailing for €3,050 apiece.

An Antique Finish .999 fine gold €500 coin weighs 155.5 grams and measures 50 millimeters in diameter. Its mintage limit is 50 pieces, each priced at €15,250.

To order or learn more, visit the Monnaie de Paris’ website, www.monnaiedeparis.fr.

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