France marks WWI's longest battle in gold, silver
- Published: Aug 15, 2016, 4 PM
Connections between soldiers on the front lines of battle and families supporting them are explored on 2016 commemorative coins from France.
The Monnaie de Paris has issued the latest in its multi-year series marking the centennial of the Great War, later called World War I.
The 2016 coins illustrate the link between military and civilian world with the exchange of mail.
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According to the Monnaie de Paris, the obverse of the coins show a marraine de guerre or “war godmother” writing to a soldier.
War godmothers were volunteers, generally women, from regions having unrestricted mail service who were able to write letters of encouragement to soldiers. Soldiers sometimes could not correspond with their own families, who were perhaps in territory held by the enemy or otherwise unable to send letters and packages.
The letter continues over on to the reverse, where it reaches the soldier in the trenches at Verdun.
The Battle of Verdun stretched from Feb. 21 to Dec. 15, 1916, and was one of the most important battles of World War I — and certainly the longest. French and German armies waged war north of Verdun in northeastern France for an ultimate stalemate. When battle ended, the toll on both sides was more than 250,000 dead and 500,000 wounded.
A poppy and a cornflower, respective symbols of the Commonwealth’s and France’s veterans, also appear. Illustration of lorries on the Sacred Way, the main supply route to the Verdun battlefield, are also included.
Three different coins sharing of the designs are available.
A Proof .900 fine silver €10 coin weighs 22.2 grams and measures 37 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 5,000 pieces. This coin retails for €55.
A Proof .920 fine gold €50 coin weighs 8.45 grams and measures 22 millimeters in diameter. The €50 is limited to a mintage of 1,916 pieces, each retailing for €505.
A Proof .999 fine gold €200 weighs 31.104 grams, measures 37 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limit of 500 pieces. The €200 coin retails for €2,000
To order, visit the Monnaie de Paris shop online.
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