French Mint begins World War I series with coins for taxi drivers
- Published: Oct 14, 2014, 11 AM
Four new Proof coins from the Monnaie de Paris (the French Mint) commemorate a legend born during World War I.
The French Mint has issued a .900 fine silver €10, .920 fine gold €50, .950 fine silver €50 and .999 fine gold €200 coin, which are the first issues in a series honoring the centennial of World War I.
The coins celebrate the legend of the taxicab drivers whose efforts helped save Paris from destruction by Germany.
As the Germans reached some 30 miles outside of Paris, and engaged French troops in what came to be known as the Battle of the Marne, several hundred taxicabs were enlisted to ferry French fighters to the front, serving as the decisive kindling in the congflagration, according to the legend.
The reality is more tempered. The soldiers that took that trip were important but not instrumental, argues John Hanc, writing at Smithsonian.com, in an article published July 24, 2014.
By the morning of Sept. 8, 1914, the taxis had taken some 5,000 men to battle.
“But 5,000 men mattered little in a battle involving more than one million combatants. And as it turned out, most of the troops carried by taxi were held in reserve,” wrote Hanc.
The four coins share similar obverse and reverse designs related to the legend.
The obverse shows men setting off for the war front, with a mobilization poster in the background. The back of a taxicab evokes the departure for the Battle of the Marne. A poppy and a cornflower at the bottom of the coins are the respective symbols of the Commonwealth’s and France’s veterans.
The reverse shows the arrival of troops in the Marne, as depicted by the front of the taxicab and marching soldiers.
The only difference in design between the denominations is the denomination, which is also noted on the reverse.
The silver €10 coin weighs 22.2 grams and measures 37 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 10,000 pieces and was issued at €53.
The gold €50 coin weighs 8.45 grams and measures 22 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 1,914 pieces and retails for €420.
The silver €50 coin weighs 163.8 grams and measures 50 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 500 pieces and costs €415.
The gold €200 coin weighs 31.104 grams and measures 37 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 500 pieces and costs €1670.
To order these coins, contact the French Mint or search the secondary market.
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